Alzheimers - On the Increase as New Zealand Ages

  • David Carter
Senior Citizens

New Senior Citizens Minister Hon David Carter today warned that Alzheimers disease would become an increasing problem for New Zealanders as the country aged.

"As the new Senior Citizens Minister I have become aware very rapidly of the looming impact our ageing population is going to have on the country."

"Over the next twenty years we can expect a huge increase in the numbers 65 and over. Basically we will see a doubling of the population in this age group, which presents enormous challenges for our communities. Dementia and Alzheimers disease will become more prominent."

Mr Carter was addressing the Alzheimers Society's annual "Cuppa for a Cause" gathering in Christchurch - which also happened to be the 15th birthday of the organisation.

He told the audience that while he was fortunate to have two parents, who were both very active and alert in their eighties, he was aware that for many other people life was not as simple.

"It's common for most people to be able to identify a parent, a spouse, or a close relative who is suffering from an age related illness. Alzheimers and dementia are more common than we think."

Around 38,000 New Zealanders were estimated to have dementia and 10 percent of the adult population was affected by Alzheimers.

Mr Carter praised the volunteers that supported people caring for Alzheimer's sufferers and he urged corporates and businesses to get behind the work of community organisations.

"There are mutual benefits for both parties, and the health and welfare of our society is boosted when we see these groups come together," he said.