Purple is set to be a stylish colour this month with Rotorua adopting it to raise awareness for dementia.

September is Dementia Awareness Month, and Dementia Lakes support co-ordinator Lynne Luke says for the week from September 17 there will be awareness-raising events on in Rotorua.

On September 20 there will be a morning tea in the Rotorua Health Hub on the first floor at 10am where people can chat with the co-ordinators and learn more.

The Rotorua Library is also hosting a free Poetry from the Heart event with senior Bupa caregiver Michelle Mills on the Thursday, where people will be moved by insightful poems which aims to help families, caregivers and the community understand the many different perspectives of dementia.


It will be from 12.15pm to 1pm and 5.30pm to 6.15pm in the Community Pride Space.

At the Night Market that week the Stone Soup Kitchen mobile food van, which will be selling soup and baked spuds, and will give a proportion of money spent to Dementia Lakes.

The Night Market will also be lit up with purple lights and have information available about dementia.

Businesses are encouraged to participate by putting up purple window displays.

A free Purple Bike Ride will be held as part of the week on September 23 at 10am.

Rotorua Lakes Council's safe and sustainable journeys manager Jodie Lawson says the bike ride is an opportunity for everyone - no matter what their age or riding ability - to get their purple outfit on, jump on their bike or set of wheels, and get fit while enjoying the beautiful city.

"The purple ride is a chance to make new friends and support members of our community who are living with dementia. About 750 people in Rotorua are living with the condition.

"This initiative is just one way we can show our community living with dementia that we care. Initiatives like these can help make a difference."


Jodie encourages everyone to come along for the ride, which will travel from the Soundshell along Lake Rd, on to Kuirau Park and back to the Soundshell.

"If you can't make it, you can still help support members of our community who are living with dementia by learning about the condition."

Lynne says by 2050 about 150,000 New Zealanders will have dementia, which is 2.6 per cent of the population.

Dementia is a progressive brain disease which affects brain cells.

Lynne and Dementia Lakes support co-ordinator Annette Hall say there are a number of common warning signs.

These include short-term memory loss, getting lost on familiar routes or when driving on familiar roads, word finding difficulties, not knowing the day, inability to adapt to change, and chenges in personality and mood.

They say stigma prevents people from acknowledging their symptoms and getting the help and support they need.

"If diagnosed early carers can be supported, and the person with dementia can be encouraged to remain living at home and continue to engage in activities they enjoy for as long as possible."

Dementia Lakes provides support, education and advocacy to anyone affected by dementia, including carers and families. To get in touch call (07) 349 0053.

Dementia Lakes are also holding a free open meeting at the Mokoia Community Association on Friday September 7 at 1pm.

To learn more go to www.rotorualakescouncil.nz/dementiafriendlyrotorua.