Alzheimers NZ: Global Research Highlights New Zealand’s Failings


  • Post-diagnostic care and support can make a big
    difference to the lives of people with
    dementia.
  • But at least 30,000 Kiwis with
    dementia and around as many care partners are missing out on
    the post-diagnostic support they need.
  • Local
    Alzheimers and Dementia organisations who provide these
    services are on the brink of financial
    collapse.
  • Government has declined to
    help.

Alzheimers NZ is appalled that as many
as 30,000 New Zealanders with dementia and around as many
care partners can’t get the post-diagnostic community
support they need.

Chief executive, Catherine Hall,
says local Alzheimers and Dementia organisations have been
chronically underfunded for decades, and the situation is
quickly getting worse.

“The number of people with
dementia is increasingly rapidly now as our population ages.
That, together with the impact of Covid and winter flues,
global staff shortages and pay equity issues, creates the
perfect storm for these essential services.”

The
latest World
Alzheimer Report
, (to be released overnight tonight, NZ
time) by Alzheimer’s Disease International, says the lack
of post-diagnostic care for people living with dementia is a
global problem.

ADI estimates as many as 85 per cent
of the 55 million people with dementia globally could be
missing out on care.

Borrowing from the report, Ms
Hall says: “We don’t question whether people with cancer
need post-diagnostic treatment or support, but you’re
pretty much on your own if you are diagnosed with
dementia.”

The ADI report focuses on the urgent need
for significant improvements to essential post-diagnosis
treatment, care and support services.

Ms Hall says
that there is a huge amount to be done so that people can
get a diagnosis when they need it and then get the help and
support they so desperately need, and those changes need to
happen fast otherwise Kiwis will carry on missing
out.

In the meantime, local Alzheimers and Dementia
organisations need urgent financial help from government so
the situation doesn’t get worse.

Alzheimers NZ and
Dementia NZ recently asked government for an urgent
injection of $9 million annually to prop-up these struggling
community dementia services, many of which are on the brink
of financial collapse.

The request was
declined.

“It’s very disappointing. $9 million is
pocket change to a government but it seems that the care and
support of people with dementia is not a
priority.”

Ms Hall says current funding from
government for these services amounts to around $1.10 a day
per person so it’s no surprise that local Alzheimers and
Dementia organisations are struggling to make ends
meet!

But she says the funding issue is only one part
of a much bigger and rapidly escalating problem facing New
Zealanders living with dementia.

“Yes, we need
urgent funding, but that’s really only a stop-gap
measure.

“To really help all the New Zealanders with
dementia and their care partners who desperately need that
help, New Zealand needs to start focussing on reducing the
incidence of dementia for the future, provide timely
diagnosis, deliver flexible services across the dementia
journey for people with dementia and carers, address the
challenges around stigma and social isolation, and address
the significant equity issues.

“That’s why it’s
so important for government to implement, and fund, the
Dementia Mate Wareware Action Plan.

“It delivers a
whole-of-sector approach to addressing the bigger picture
dementia challenge New Zealand faces, and will make life
just a little easier for the hundreds of thousands of Kiwis
living with dementia.

“Surely, the rapidly growing
number of New Zealanders with dementia deserve
that.”

© Scoop Media

 



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