Group warns of looming tidal wave of dementia

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The numner of people suffering from dementia in NZ is expected to swell in the next few years. Photo/file
The numner of people suffering from dementia in NZ is expected to swell in the next few years. Photo/file

New Zealand's national advocacy group is warning of a tidal wave of dementia looming.

Alzheimers NZ said in a release today it wanted the Government to adopt a two-tier strategy to improve post diagnostic support for people living with dementia.

Chair Ngaire Dixon said: "There is a dementia tidal wave looming as our population ages and we desperately need better care and support for people with dementia, and better care and support for their carers.''

"Obviously this needs additional government funding, but that should be seen as an investment."

The number of people with dementia is expected to triple in the next 25 years.

"But far more important than the financial cost is the human cost," Ms Dixon said.

She said Alzheimers New Zealand's proposals would have a three-fold impact.

They would increase the quality of life for people with dementia, and that of their carers, and increase the length of time that people with dementia can live in their homes before entering long term care.

The Government would also benefit due to a reduction in the costs of providing long-term care for people with the condition and because there'd be few unnecessary hospital admissions that arise from the need for crisis intervention.

Dementia is one of the most significant, and growing, healthcare challenges in NZ and globally.

There are some 60,000 Kiwis with dementia and the condition costs the country over $1 billion a year. Half of those who have the condition will probably not have been diagnosed and therefore will not be getting appropriate care and support.

- Bay of Plenty Times

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