It's a growing problem; it's only going to get worse; and it will likely affect all of us at some time in our lives ...
Dementia is an uncomfortable fact of life, and Alzheimers Whanganui is expanding its services to cope with rising demand. But like many charitable causes, it is a struggle to raise the necessary funds.
So it was a significant event last week when Whanganui real estate agency Property Brokers and the Wanganui Chronicle joined forces to announce that this year's Property Brokers Round the Bridges fun run would be a fundraiser for Alzheimers Whanganui.
Philip Kubiak, Property Brokers manager, said he was pleased to be supporting such a worthy cause, and Wendy Paterson, Alzheimers Whanganui manager, was equally delighted to be the recipient of the proceeds from the popular event.
"We provide services to address the early onset of dementia - we can't stop it but we can slow it down," Ms Paterson said.
"We expanded our geographic reach last year and we now cover Taihape, Hunterville, Ohakune, Raetihi and Waiouru as well as the Whanganui district.
"We have found a big need for our services in these rural areas where people often feel isolated. They probably do not have a rest home nearby so often need extra support - and why should rural people miss out?"
Alzheimers Whanganui offers education programmes so people see the person not the disease; strategies for family members to deal with those suffering the disease; support groups; day trips; and overnight stays that give respite to family and carers.
And Ms Paterson would like to see Whanganui gain accreditation as a dementia-friendly city.
It is estimated that by 2030 there will be 96,000 people with dementia in New Zealand, and NZME sales manager Whanganui Alison Hollard said that alarming statistic alone made it such a worthy cause for the much-loved fun run which is now in its 41st year.
The event is on Sunday, March 25, and starts at Kowhai Park as usual, but there is a change to the route because of the roadworks on Anzac Parade by the City Bridge.
The 10km course is now along the river from the park to Dublin Street Bridge, over the bridge and down the river walkway to the Cobham Bridge before heading back along the same route. The 5km route turns around near the Waimarie berth.
Because of possible pedestrian congestion, non-participants are being asked to give the river walkway a miss between 9am and 11am on March 25.
Kowhai Park will offer a bouncy castle, sausage sizzle and other attractions, while numerous spot prizes will be handed out to walkers and runners, and there are also prizes for teams, corporates and schools.
Entries open on Monday, March 12, but you can start your training any time.