Alzheimers NZ is ‘significantly concerned’ by the possibility of more staff shortages in the health of older people sector.

Last week the New Zealand Aged Care Association expressed concerns that existing staff shortages may be exacerbated by the new nurses’ pay settlement that may see aged care workers take up positions in DHBs.

Alzheimers NZ says if this speculation becomes a reality then it could affect thousands of New Zealanders living with dementia.

“People living with dementia can be some of our most vulnerable citizens and it is very important they receive the specialised support they need and deserve,” says chief executive Catherine Hall.

Hall says the system is already chronically under-resourced and under-funded.

“Anything that exacerbates that, like increasing shortages of skilled staff, is significantly concerning.”

There are nearly 70,000 New Zealanders living with dementia.  That figure is expected to almost triple by 2050 to 170,000 people.

Hall says the New Zealand Framework for Dementia Care does provide an appropriate support and care strategy for people living with dementia, but it needs to be implemented urgently and in full, and it needs to be appropriately funded and resourced.

“The longer we leave it to address this problem as a country, the harder and more expensive it’s going to be to fix, and the more people with dementia and their care partners will be marginalised.”

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