NZ dementia rates to triple by 2050

By Chloe Winter

Photo / Thinkstock
Photo / Thinkstock

The rate of people living with dementia is set to triple by the year 2050, Alzheimer's New Zealand says.

The number of people expected to suffer from the disease would rise from 50,000 to 150,000, the organisation's executive director Catherine Hall said.

The figures were calculated from the fifth World Alzheimer's Report, released today, that stated the number of dependent people worldwide would increase from 101 million to 277 million in the next 37 years, half of which would be living with dementia.

Ms Hall said the report challenged the country to increase the quality of care for New Zealanders who live with dementia.

"It is imperative that long-term care is focused on dementia.

"We also need to measure and monitor the quality of care being provided to provide assurance to all involved and so that we have real information to help us all continually improve on what we do.''

As the population continued to age the country needed to value the work of carers, Ms Hall said.

"We as a country need to lift our game ... [to] relieve the considerable pressure dementia will continue to put on spouses, partners, family, friends and whanau.''

Alzheimer's New Zealand had called for a national cross-agency meeting to discuss funding for people with dementia.

"The fact is that the funding and structures we currently have in place for people with dementia will not meet their needs or the needs of their carers into the future.

"We need to work towards national dementia planning that will provide for the future sustainability of services for people with dementia.''

In order to provide better levels of care there needed to be more information but that was not available , she said.

"The report tells us that research about prevention, treatment, cure and care of people affected by dementia is woefully inadequate.''

Leading author of the report Professor Martin Prince said special care was needed for people with dementia compared with other long-term care.

"Their needs for care start early in the disease course, and evolve constantly over time, requiring advanced planning, monitoring, and coordination.

"That's why dementia needs to be a public health priority and adequate planning needs to be in place so that people with dementia can live well.''

The international report from Alzheimer's Disease International said dementia, including Alzheimer's disease, was one of the biggest global public health challenges today with more than 35 million people living with the disease.

There was no known cure for dementia.

September is World Alzheimer's Month and Sunday is World Alzheimer's Day.

- APNZ

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