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NZers worry about dementia: survey

NZ Newswire logoNZ Newswire 10/11/2016

A significant number of New Zealanders worry about dementia, but many of them admit they don't know much about the condition, according to a survey by healthcare company Bupa.

The survey showed that 54 per cent of the 1000 respondents were concerned about loved ones developing dementia, and 47 per cent were anxious about getting it themselves.

However, just 34 per cent said they knew what caused dementia or what they could do to reduce the risk of developing it.

Bupa's global director of dementia care, Professor Graham Stokes, says the results reveal that more needs to be done to build a dementia-literate society.

He says the condition is one of the world's most significant and growing healthcare challenges.

In New Zealand, there are about 60,000 people with dementia and the figure is forecast to reach 150,000 by 2050.

Prof Stokes says a fundamental change is needed and he advocates a "community wrap-around" approach to dementia care.

This includes the workplace, encouraging personal responsibility for reducing the risk of dementia, looking at what digital health could offer and education in schools, he says.

"If we do this, we may approach a situation where the value, care, involvement and support of people with dementia will be transformed."

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