Baz Wilson knows the affect Alzheimer's disease can have on a person - but he also knows the support that is out there for families.

So despite the rain, he was one of dozens who turned out for the Alzheimer's Rotorua memory walk on Saturday as part of world Alzheimer's month.

Mr Wilson said one of the main reasons he headed along was "for family, past and present" including his mother-in-law who had Alzheimer's.

"It is affecting her quite badly."


He said the other reason was to help raise awareness of Alzheimer's and say "thank you" to the local organisation which had supported his family.

"They were there when she was first diagnosed and have been pretty good. They give you tips on what to do and what to do."

He said the organisation also helped to keep his mother-in-law as independent as possible when she was first diagnosed, although she was now in a rest home.

"I think it is one of those things, until you do get affected, you don't think about it.

"It's not a very nice illness."

Mr Wilson said it was made a bit easier by the help of the organisation.

"They were certainly very helpful and they still phone up now and again to see how she is going."

He said while he was no expert on the illness, the biggest piece of advice he held on to was not getting frustrated with having the same conversations over and over.

Alzheimer's Rotorua office manager and community liaison Elaine Fox said it was great to see about 60 people turn up for the walk.

It is the first time the local branch has run one and Mrs Fox said the main aim was to raise awareness and de stigmatise dementia.

Mrs Fox said locally they supported about 300 people with dementia, and their families and carers.

"For every one person with dementia there are at least two carers or family members affected as well."