Let's talk about dementia / Me Kōrero Tātou Mō Te Mate Wareware
Experts working in dementia/mate wareware came together for the Nelson Marlborough Community Health Lecture 2022 held at the Suter Theatre this week to discuss the impact of dementia on individuals, families and whānau and our communities.
About the speakers and their topics of discussion:
Dr Matthew Croucher:
Dementia expert and Psychiatrist of Old Age and Senior Clinical Lecturer at the University of Otago, opened the lecture and shared the idea of understanding dementia as the syndrome of chronic brain failure; similar to the way heart, lung or joint failures are viewed. With the strongest risk of dementia being age, he focused on the importance of an early diagnosis, person-centred care and functional relationships between medical, rehabilitation and support services as key fundamentals to supporting those living with dementia.
Dr Nicky Baxter:
Nelson-based Geriatrician Nicky talked about how to get a diagnosis of dementia here in Te Tauihu. She noted that a number of conditions not related to dementia can also cause cognitive impairment, and highlighted the importance of a thorough physical and mental examination, medical history, cognitive assessment, blood tests and brain imaging. In Nelson a dementia diagnosis is primarily made by a GP, but can also be made by a geriatrician, neurologist, psychologist or other medical professional. Once a diagnosis has been made, Nicky noted that it is important to work on an Advanced Care Plan, put an enduring Power of Attorney in place and reach out to local community support groups.
Manager/Dementia Educator from the not-for-profit Alzheimer’s Nelson Tasman shared the importance of education, support and information for those living with dementia. Heather’s team are able to tailor support for those in the community based on their individual needs which may include respite options for carers, phone calls, planning for the future or visits at home. Keeping people connected and reducing isolation is a key factor in managing dementia. Here in Te Tauihu, Alzheimer’s New Zealand offer a number of social support groups, coffee groups, visits and in-person meetings as well as support groups for carers. Patients and carers do not need an official diagnosis to receive these services.
Watch the lecture recording:
This lecture was sponsored by Nelson Marlborough Health’s charity partner, The Care Foundation.