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Dementia a national health priority

Contributor:
Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media

Alzheimers New Zealand welcomes the news that the Australian Commonwealth Government has made dementia a national health priority.

This commitment from the Australian government shows how other governments are stepping up and taking action to prepare for the inevitable rise in dementia. Alzheimers New Zealand is now urging our own government to take action and recognise dementia as the most serious health crisis to be faced this century.

The incidence of dementia is rapidly increasing worldwide. New Zealand is no exception with cases of dementia expected to double every twenty years.

Alzheimers New Zealand National Dementia Strategy establishes clear actions to better support people with dementia and their carers. The document was developed in consultation with stakeholders throughout the sector, as well as with those who face the daily challenge of living with the disease. The strategy identifies key areas needing investment including early diagnosis and management of the disease, appropriate quality services, better supports for carers who provide in-home care, and development of a skilled work-force.

Progress is being made but the success of the National Dementia Strategy hinges on the New Zealand government’s recognition of the social and economic impacts of the disease and adopting dementia as a national health priority and adequately funding the sector to prepare for the significant impact (and cost) of dementia in the future.

Alzheimers New Zealand chairman, Martin Brooks says: "Dementia is not a normal part of ageing. People can live for many years after a diagnosis of dementia, however, the care needed to support someone living with dementia can be very overwhelming for family/whanau and carers.

"Around half of all New Zealanders with dementia live with family carers, many who are providing around-the-clock care with little to no government support. Funding is needed to allow both the person with dementia and their carers to have the best quality of life possible".

Alzheimers New Zealand asks the government to make dementia a national health priority and recognise dementia as a national crisis and to adequately fund the sector to best prepare for the significant costs in the future.

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