Dementia awareness, stigma reduction and dementia-friendly communities | New Zealand Dementia awareness, stigma reduction and dementia-friendly communities | New Zealand

15 Sep 2022

NZ Dementia Framework:

Dementia awareness and risk reduction is the first key element of the dementia framework. Its stated aim is to “use both local and national efforts to make New Zealanders more aware of the importance of living a healthy and active lifestyle, which may reduce the risk of developing dementia. Greater awareness will also increase the social acceptance, inclusion, and wellbeing of those living with dementia.”

Local, regional, and national good practice points are provided, for example:

– “dispel the myths and assumptions of dementia by promoting accurate information and raising awareness of positive aspects of living with dementia as a chronic condition.” 

– “recommend that education on dementia be included in applicable national training programmes for health practitioners (e.g., nurses, doctors, allied health professionals) and the unregulated workforce (e.g., home and community support workers)”.

There are also recommendations for inclusive communities maximising media opportunities and future planning (for example, advance care planning and choosing an EPOA).

Dementia Action Plan:

One of the four action areas of the dementia plan is “Building accepting and understanding communities – Stigma and a lack of awareness, poor understanding and barriers to inclusion are among the most devastating things that people living with dementia and their support people experience – making it harder to get the help and support they need and increasing their isolation.”

Action areas include a recommendation to

– “Improve understanding of dementia and ageing within Aotearoa New Zealand communities by promoting and supporting Alzheimers NZ’s Dementia Friendly Recognition Programme and the Office for Seniors’ WHO Age Friendly Cities Programme” and to

“Design and implement a multi-level multi-channel campaign to raise awareness, increase understanding of dementia and tackle stigma and discrimination” with suggested lead organisations being health promotion agencies and sector NGOs.