Funding for existing services is woefully inadequate and the system is struggling to deliver culturally responsive and equitable services.

The Dementia Mate Wareware Action Plan was developed in collaboration between Alzheimers NZ, the New Zealand Dementia Foundation, the Mate Wareware Advisory Rōpū and Dementia New Zealand, with the voices and input of more than 300 individuals and groups.

It was developed to respond to this big and growing health and social sector challenge in an equitable and sustainable way.

The dementia mate wareware sector received some good news when money was announced in the Budget 2022 in support of the Plan.

The $12 million investment over four years will deliver post-diagnostic support trials for all newly diagnosed cases of dementia mate wareware and to enable innovative respite care.

Additionally, the funding prioritises Māori, Pacific peoples and rural communities, and those diagnosed with young onset dementia – all groups that desperately need better support.

This is, in large part, thanks to the then Associate Health Minister’s, Hon Dr. Ayesha Verrall, success in having Cabinet endorse the plan in 2021.

The Dementia Mate Wareware Leadership and Advisory Group is now in place supported by the Dementia Mate Wareware Network.

We are delighted at these first steps towards addressing the rapidly growing problem – and the health inequities – posed by our aging population and the sharply increasing prevalence of dementia mate wareware.

However, the Government still has more to do. Thankfully, they have noted that more funding is required to fully implement the Plan.