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Survey says Kiwis want more to be done for dementia

Survey says Kiwis want more to be done for dementia

A clear majority of Kiwis think it is important that government takes action to address the looming dementia crisis New Zealand faces.

That’s one of the key findings from a recent survey conducted by Alzheimers New Zealand.

Over 80 percent of survey respondents said it is important to do more to support people with dementia and 53 percent said they would be willing to pay more tax if it means more would be done to support people with the condition.

Alzheimers NZ chief executive, Catherine Hall says, the tools to address the challenge of dementia already exists in the NZ Framework for Dementia Care.

“The Framework outlines some good initiatives that we support. This includes making changes which provide the support needed by people living with dementia, their families and care partners.”

Alzheimers NZ undertook the survey to investigate the level of awareness and understanding of dementia in New Zealand. The results were released to mark World Alzheimer’s Month in which occurs in September each year.

According to the survey:

• 83% said that it was important to support and train GPs to recognise and diagnose dementia earlier

• 81% said it was important to do more to support people with dementia

• 79% said it was important to recognise dementia as a major health priority

• 79% said it was important to provide better support for local Alzheimers organisations

• 77% said that it was important to provide funding for groups that were trying to develop dementia friendly communities

Ms Hall said the survey also tested the impact of dementia on New Zealanders.

Findings showed 81 percent of respondents know or had known someone with the condition. Almost 70 percent have or had a family member with dementia.

A disappointing statistic was that nearly 40 percent of respondents agreed they would worry about how someone with dementia may act in public and just over 25 percent said they would find it hard to talk to someone with dementia.

To make a difference to the lives of people living with dementia, their care partners, and families; Alzheimers NZ and local Alzheimers organisations have adopted a ‘Dementia-friendly NZ’ as their mission.

Ms Hall says even though dementia is one of NZ’s most significant health and social service challenges; there is very little discussion or acknowledgement of its everyday impacts.

“Most people with dementia live in our communities. They shop, work, eat out, catch the bus, go to the library and do everything else we all enjoy doing.

“We need New Zealand to be an open and inclusive society - a place where people with dementia feel valued and safe, and where they can contribute to and participate in their communities.” says Ms Hall.


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