Northland Rugby players will be donning purple socks for its September 14 match against the Manawatu Turbos as a sign of support for people with dementia, and their families throughout Northland.
The initiative is just one of many throughout the country this month, as New Zealand joins the international campaign to raise awareness of the stigma that surrounds dementia.
September is World Alzheimer’s Month with World Alzheimer’s Day falling on September 21, on which people are encouraged to wear purple.
Last year over 50 dementia organisations around the world participated in campaigns focused on raising awareness of dementia, and this year is expected to build on that.
Here in New Zealand, people of all ages and abilities can participate in one of many Memory Walks held all over the country between 15 and 29 September. Between 1-2km in length, the walks are designed to be enjoyed by people of all ages and abilities and a chance to show support for people with dementia and their families, friends and carers.
Alzheimers New Zealand chief executive Catherine Hall says the Memory Walks are a great way to raise awareness of the dementia challenge facing New Zealand.
“Memory Walks allow the community to show their support for people with dementia and their families/whānau, friends and care partners,” says Hall.
“World Alzheimer’s Month is a powerful tool to raise awareness and campaign for change, but it’s also a time of reflection for Kiwis who are affected by dementia”
The Living well with dementia education videos will be released in te reo to coincide with Māori Language Week.
There are a number of local initiatives as well. Dementia Auckland will host its annual ‘Get Together for Dementia’ fundraiser event. The Nelson and Marlborough Public Trust branches will be recognised as dementia friendly, following their completion of the Dementia Friendly Recognition Programme.
Dementia is thought to be one of New Zealand’s most significant healthcare challenges – there are over 60,000 New Zealanders with dementia now with that number expected to almost triple to 170,000 by 2050.