New dementia research released

21 August 2018

Summerset has today released new research into Kiwis awareness and perceptions of dementia.

The online survey was run in partnership with Dementia New Zealand and The New Zealand Dementia Cooperative.

Survey results show dementia is little understood yet deeply feared – and more than half the population have a personal experience with the disease.

Nearly 50% of respondents say they would like to learn more about how to better look after people with dementia and those caring for them.

mem caret developing02Dementia is the leading cause of death in the UK and is now a leading health priority for many other western countries.

We believe there is a clear need for a national conversation and strategy to reduce stigma, diagnose and combat the disease, and provide better care for Kiwis and their families living with dementia.

Along with Dementia New Zealand and The New Zealand Dementia Cooperative, we calling on the Government to recognise dementia as a major health priority for New Zealand, to create and implement a national plan for supporting and providing care for the increasing numbers of people living with dementia, and to support community organisations working with those with the disease.

One of the biggest risks for New Zealand currently is we don’t record the number of people with dementia in our health system, meaning there is no accurate data on the number of Kiwis diagnosed with, living with or dying from dementia. But according to overseas statistics extrapolated to New Zealand, around 170,000 people will be diagnosed with dementia by 2050, triple the current figures, with a cost to the economy of nearly $NZ3 billion. 

Paul Sullivan, CEO Dementia NZ, says, “All community dementia providers could serve their communities more effectively if they knew how many cases were in their area, and what level of support was needed across these. 

Our ideal situation would be a universally accepted primary diagnostic code for all dementia diagnoses, and the ability for District Health Boards to accurately gauge the overall prevalence and the incidence of dementia through this coding,” says Paul.  

Until coding and diagnostic consistency is achieved we are unlikely to be able to answer the simple question of ‘How many people in New Zealand are living with a diagnosis of dementia?’”

memory careAt Summerset, we are playing our part.

We opened our first specialist dementia facility in Levin in 2016. Our Memory Care Centre is modelled on international design standards and allows residents to live in their own apartment within a secure environment, with personal items, pets, and family members to stay. Memory Care Centres will be included in all new developments.

Summerset is aiming to become a dementia friendly accredited organisation by 2020. To this end, we will be rolling out dementia-related training to all our staff, including those in head office. We started this process with our Levin village this year.

You can read the full survey results here