Communication survey to tackle dementia issues
Those affected by a family member’s Alzheimer’s or dementia are invited to take part in a Massey University survey during September.
September is World Alzheimer’s Month and Donna Hedley of Alzheimer’s Manawatu¯ said the survey wanted to collect information about the ways communication changes as dementia or Alzheimer’s takes hold.
While dementia and Alzheimer’s are often used interchangeably, dementia is an umbrella term to describe symptoms that change and damage the brain, with Alzheimer’s being a specific form of dementia.
‘‘The idea is to to develop communication strategies to support conversations between those who have dementia and their communication partners.’’
Hedley said the survey was to assist in understanding communication experiences as those with dementia lose their words.
‘‘We also hope to gain an awareness of any communication supports that are available and their usefulness.’’
‘‘It's about trying to keep those conversations going, even as language deteriorates.’’ Annabel Grant, Massey University
Husbands, wives, children, carers, and friends in regular contact with patients were wanted to take part in the 10-minute survey.
Annabel Grant, a clinical speech language therapy educator at Massey’s Institute of Education in Albany who is behind the survey, said maintaining conversation skills could improve patients’ overall quality of life and help them retain their sense of self.
‘‘It’s about trying to keep those conversations going, even as language deteriorates.’’
The research would be used to raise awareness of the need for a more dementia-friendly society and help reduce the associated stigma, Grant said. The survey link is surveymonkey.com/r/9LHK8T7
According to Alzheimer’s New Zealand, there will be an estimated 170,000 New Zealanders with dementia by 2050, with 30 per cent more women than men affec- ted. The cost to New Zealand is around $1.7 billion and will reach around $5 billion by 2050.
Thursday, September 21 is World Alzheimer’s Day and Alzheimer’s Manawatu¯ has organised an 11.30am Memory Walk on Saturday 23 from The Square to the Main St Senior Citizens Hall.
MAll Black Nehe Milner-Skudder autographs the shirt of Leah Johnstone (3) watched by Leah’s mother Nikita Johnstone and sister Taylor Johnstone (6) (left) during last year’s Memory Walk at City Library.