Dementia Action Plan and Media Release

Recently the Dementia Action Plan for New Zealand was released. This has involved a tremendous amount of collaboration and input from hundreds of individuals and groups passionate about improving the quality of dementia care in New Zealand. A collaboration between Dementia New Zealand, Alzheimers NZ and the New Zealand Dementia Cooperative sees a strong commitment to put forward a recommendation to government on the changes needed to improve support and services vital to the health, independence and quality of those in our communities affected by dementia.
 
The plan has been shared with Minister David Clark and Hon Jenny Salesa MP. We remain prepared and committed to supporting those living with dementia in the community, their carers and families with hope that this plan will be implemented. 
Click here to read the action plan – New-Zealand-Dementia-Action-Plan
Following is the media release that went out regarding the Action Plan.

MEDIA RELEASE

May 3, 2020

Dementia – urgent action needed now more than ever

A national response plan has now been developed to address one of the most significant health challenges facing New Zealand after Covid-19.

The number of Kiwis diagnosed with dementia is expected to triple in coming years, which will have an impact on four out of five people and cost the economy some $5 billion a year by 2050.

In response to this desperate situation, three dementia sector organisations have collaborated to develop the first ever Dementia Action Plan for New Zealand.

It has been widely consulted on within New Zealand’s dementia community, including feedback from over 300 individuals and groups, and has attracted overwhelming support.

The plan has now been presented to health minister David Clark and associate health minister Jenny Salesa.

Spokesperson for the plan, Alister Robertson, who has dementia and has been on the board of various dementia organisations, said the plan sets out the changes that must be made to the health system to better support people with dementia and their care partners.

“Successive governments have ignored the dementia issue, and the growing number of New Zealanders with the condition have been marginalised. Right now, the health services and support structures for people affected by dementia, like me, are woefully inadequate.

“In my experience, what services there are, are underfunded and largely unsupportive of people living with the condition. It is beyond belief that a group of New Zealanders is so badly forgotten.”

Robertson said in light of the lack of political action on dementia, Alzheimers NZ, Dementia NZ and the NZ Dementia Foundation collaborated to develop the Dementia Action Plan.

Robertson said the plan is needed urgently.  “COVID-19 has brought into sharp focus the major challenges I face, and others like me face, when living with dementia.

“We’ve done most of the heavy lifting – now we need government to fund it and support us to implement it.”

The impact of COVID-19 has also put serious long-term financial and funding pressure on the charities that provide the much-needed dementia support services in the community.

“People like me rely heavily on those organisations but they now face collapse and need urgent government support,” says Robertson. “Without it, they may very well go under leaving thousands of us – some of the most vulnerable New Zealanders – without any support at all.”

For more information and to arrange an interview with Mr Robertson (who has dementia) contact – Daniel Paul, 021 400 993

Editors’ note:

 

Despite dementia’s massive negative impact, New Zealand has no concrete, government-supported national action plan

 

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