Dementia NZ is launching a major campaign to raise $1 million to help the estimated 70,000 Kiwis currently living with dementia.
The donations from the campaign will help bridge the gap between the money from government via the DHBs and the steep growth in demand for services, Dementia NZ chief executive Scott Arrol says.
"Government funding makes up around a third of our income. We must raise the other two-thirds ourselves or people with dementia will miss out.
"An increasing number of people with dementia and their carers are requiring community support services and the growing unmet need is significantly impacting on their quality of life as well as flowing into demands on the already overstretched health and social sectors."
The number of people who have dementia in New Zealand is forecast to increase to 170,000 in the next 25 years.
"This is placing immense pressure on dementia’s community care sector which has to close the funding gap through local fundraising activities, grants, donations and events.
"Our service providers do amazing work for others every day while themselves living with almost daily uncertainty when it comes to ongoing sustainability.
"It is not fair for them to be in the position of rattling tins and begging for money when they’re doing their best to provide equitable access to what are essential support services."
Scott says there are more deaths globally and for NZ where dementia is involved, than covid, cancer, heart disease or diabetes and it’s at far greater epidemic levels than delta.
He says dementia is not only about the aging population as there is an increase in younger people developing the condition.
"Brain health is a critical piece for overall health as it underlies the ability to communicate, make decisions, problem-solve and live a productive and useful life. Because the brain controls so much daily function, it is arguably the single most valuable organ in the human body.
"Every three seconds, someone in the world develops dementia. There were over 50 million people worldwide living with dementia last year. This number will almost double every 20 years, reaching 82 million in 2030 and 152 million in 2050. Dementia is an issue that can no longer be overlooked.
"One in three cases of dementia worldwide could be prevented by acting on key risk factors throughout life, according to research.
"Together, it only takes each of us in Aotearoa to give $3, less than a coffee or a muffin, to support our fellow Kiwis to live their best possible lives."
September is World Alzheimers month and Scott is doing his bit by running for dementia to raise funds to support those living with dementia. I’m calling on every able Kiwi to do what they can, big or small, to unite to tackle this major issue.
“If we think New Zealand is exempt from what the rest of the world is experiencing then we are sadly mistaken. It’s here now, we know what needs to be done and we must do it for those living with dementia now as well as for our future generations.”
A study by 24 international experts has found that early intervention and care, as well as modifying lifestyle choices can slow and even prevent the disease occurring in later life for many.