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Tony Ryall, Jo Goodhew

12 February, 2013

Campaign to raise awareness about dementia

The Government is committed to ensuring people with dementia receive help sooner and has invested $250,000 in a national awareness campaign.

TV commercials and magazine advertising raising awareness about dementia and the help available for people affected by this devastating condition starts this week. 

“The campaign, managed by Alzheimers New Zealand, aims to reduce the stigma sometimes associated with dementia and to encourage people to see a doctor if they or someone they know is showing signs of the condition,” says Health Minister Tony Ryall.

“Finding out you have dementia is difficult; however the sooner you know the sooner you and your family can benefit from the help available. It also ensures you have access to appropriate medicines to try and slow down the advance of the condition.

“The one-off funding has also been used to help clinicians make earlier diagnoses and support people affected by dementia, such as the development of on-line training tools and clinical support forum.

“As the number of New Zealanders living longer increases, the number of people with dementia will also grow. Caring for more people with dementia will be one of the major challenges in the future – that's why the National Government is investing so significantly in dementia services now,” says Mr Ryall.

“Over the last two budgets we have increased funding for dementia beds by a total of $70 million over four years and community based dementia services by $10 million over four years.

“Since 2008, the number of dementia beds across the country has increased by 24 per cent, from 2,759 beds in 2008/09 to 3,423 in 2011/12,” says Associate Minister of Health Jo Goodhew who has the delegation for aged care.

For more information about dementia and the help available for people affected by dementia and the awareness campaign is available at www.wecanhelp.org.nz