People living with dementia in New Zealand are among our most vulnerable citizens and, despite the fact policymakers and politicians know the statistics around dementia and dementia care, people living with dementia are still one of the most marginalised and under-supported groups in our communities.
I said in that blog that our Briefing to the Incoming Minister of Health urged Government to act on Labour’s pre-election promise to ‘work with the (dementia) sector to implement the Dementia Action Plan’.
We stressed the point that we need action now, and that following Covid-19, the vaccines and actioning the Health and Disability System Review (the Simpson report), dementia must be the next cab off the health sector’s priorities rank.
Hopefully, that will be the case in 2021. Hopefully, things are about to change for the better for the many, many thousands of people living with dementia in New Zealand.
We will know more after we meet with the Associate Minister of Health next month. That’s a meeting at which we hope to hear from the Associate Minister how Labour’s pre-election promise of support for the Dementia Action Plan will play out in reality.
We’ve got our fingers crossed we will have something to celebrate along with all the New Zealanders who need what’s in the Plan so badly.
Then we can look forward to the World Health Organization reporting later this year on how various countries, including ours, are progressing against the Global Action Plan on dementia.
Lastly, we will have the results of our soon-to-be updated Dementia Economic Impact Report (DEIR), and other relevant research.
No doubt both the WHO’s report and the new DEIR findings will further underscore the need for urgent action in the New Zealand context and put the further pressure on this Government to take urgent action.
Covid made life challenging in 2020, but the launch of the Dementia Action Plan was a major milestone for the dementia community in New Zealand.
Now we want to crown that achievement by working with Government to take the next step – funding and beginning to implement the Plan.
It could be we are on the cusp of something special in 2021.