Group backs dementia suf­fer­ers, car­ers

South Waikato News - - NEWS -

Alzheimers New Zealand Waikato works with peo­ple with dementia and their car­ers to en­able them to live life to the fullest.

Ed­u­ca­tor Jane Kay has re­cently launched a com­mu­ni­ca­tions work­shop to help car­ers min­imise mis­un­der­stand­ings with their loved-ones with dementia.

This in turn should re­duce chal­leng­ing be­hav­iours such as wan­der­ing, repet­i­tive quest­ing and ap­a­thy. The work­shops are on-go­ing and de­pend on de­mand.

Ms Kay said peo­ple do not al­ways re­alise the ex­tent of the strain in­volved in car­ing for a per­son with dementia.

‘‘Many peo­ple think it’s a lit­tle me­mory loss and it’s not se­ri­ous but they don’t re­alise it in­volves ev­ery as­pect of a per­son’s func­tion­ing and can re­sult in 24/7 care in the end.’’

The or­gan­i­sa­tion, which sup­ports 450 fam­i­lies in the Waikato re­gion, also runs reg­u­lar carer sup­port groups, ed­u­ca­tion ses­sions and the ALZWELL pro­gramme along­side the Waikato District Health Board, which pro­vides ser­vices to peo­ple with dementia and their car­ers.

Carer sup­port groups for peo­ple in Toko­roa are held on the sec­ond Wed­nes­day of ev­ery month at 1.30pm in the Toko­roa Hos­pi­tal Li­brary.

Dementia oc­curs as a re­sult of phys­i­cal changes in the struc­ture of the brain which af­fect me­mory, think­ing, be­hav­iour and emo­tion.

In New Zealand more than 43,000 peo­ple have dementia for which there is no cure. Alzheimer’s dis­ease is the most com­mon form mak­ing.

By 2026, 74,821 peo­ple will have dementia. By 2050, 146,699 peo­ple will have dementia. These num­bers are grow­ing dra­mat­i­cally due to an age­ing pop­u­la­tion com­bined with the fact peo­ple are liv­ing longer.

Di­ag­no­sis is be­ing made at an in­creas­ingly younger age, some­times in those only 50.

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