As our ageing population grows, there will also be an increase in the number of people with dementia. According to Ministry of Health figures In 2011, just over 48,000 New Zealanders had dementia. By 2026, it is estimated that over 78,000 New Zealanders will have dementia. This is an increase of over 60 percent.
Dementia can make everyday tasks more difficult. Anything from taking medication, showering and dressing, cooking or managing finances can present challenges which need regular assessment and support as the condition changes. Most people wish to remain in their own homes for as long as possible, so using equipment and making adaptations to the home environment has the ability to aid that, and it can help reassure family and friends of a person’s security and safety. Bath seats, shower stools, dressing sticks, walkers, and wheelchairs are just some of the general items which may help an individual with dementia as well as more specialist items like memory aids.
No two people are alike, and so it is the same for those who have dementia. What works for one person will not necessarily work for another. What works one day may no longer work the next as the dementia changes their ability. Getting proper advice and support is key to independence. Occupational Therapists are integral in dementia screening and care. Alzheimer’s New Zealand can also offer advice on 0800 004 001.