• Robyn McDonald
Senior Citizens

The Minister for Senior Citizens, Hon Robyn McDonald said in Christchurch today while attending the World Alzheimer's Day "A Race Against Time" ceremony that this global campaign will highlight the impact of Alzheimer's disease and other related dementia on those with the illness and the affect of it on their families.

"The world theme "Race Against Time" presents us with an immediate and vivid image in portraying a picture of dementia and related disorders," said Robyn McDonald.

"Everyone relates to the concept of time and it is of course something we all take for granted - knowing the time of day, the month and the year. But sadly telling the time is one of the first losses experienced by a person with dementia."

"This degenerative brain disease needs to be more clearly understood by our wider communities. Alzheimer's is a devastating illness and can affect anyone at anytime. The International Conference on Alzheimer's to be held at the end of this month in Finland, has as its theme , "Alzheimer's The Blind Hunter" which is an accurate reflection of how unexpectedly it can occur," said Robyn McDonald.

"The Alzheimer's associations world wide have been doing a very good job in raising awareness but each and every New Zealander can contribute by understanding Alzheimer's, its impact and the effects physically, emotionally and financially on many thousands of people. I congratulate the Alzheimer's organisations for their efforts.

"It is very important that people acknowledge that it is often the carers and families of people with this disease who can so easily be forgotten. We must not let that happen. We must make sure that there is support and relief when needed.

"The Charter being signed today is a commitment to people with dementia and to their families and carers and I welcome the opportunity to support the endeavours of the Alzheimer's Society within New Zealand and those of Alzheimer's Disease International," Robyn McDonald said.

"In signing the charter developed by Alzheimer's Disease International today, I am saying on behalf of New Zealanders that I will do all I can to raise awareness about the illness.

"By the year 2000, there will be almost 18 million people with dementia in the world, and over 40,000 of these people will live in New Zealand. For every person with dementia, four other people (mainly family members) are likely to be directly affected by the impact of the illness.

"As we also begin Alzheimer's Awareness week, we are provided with an opportunity for communities nationwide to show their support for people with dementia, their carers and their families. New Zealanders can help by participating in the Alzheimer's Choysa Tea Day "have a cuppa for a cause" to be held on 26th September either in their workplaces or as a community event," concluded the Minister.