Media

For all media enquiries relating to Alzheimers NZ please contact us at:

022 171 9225

04 387 8264

comms@alzheimers.org.nz

 Facts and figures

10 warning signs

The early signs and symptoms of dementia may be very subtle and hard to recognise. The ten signs listed below are common symptoms of dementia.

  1. Recent memory loss that disrupts daily life
  2. Difficulty performing regular tasks
  3. Problems with language
  4. Disorientation of time and place
  5. Decreased or poor judgment
  6. Problems with complex tasks
  7. Misplacing things
  8. Changes in mood or behaviour
  9. Difficulty relating to others
  10. Loss of initiative

Based on Ten Warning Signs, Alzheimer's Australia

What is dementia?

Dementia is one of New Zealand’s most significant and growing healthcare challenges. There are currently around 50,000 people with dementia in New Zealand, which is forecast to triple to 150,000 by 2050.

Dementia is an umbrella term used to describe a group of diseases that affect how the brain works.  It can affect anyone, but as people get older the chances of developing dementia increase.

The most common form of dementia in Alzheimer’s disease – around two-thirds of people with dementia have Alzheimer’s disease. Other common forms include Vascular dementia, Lewy Body disease and Frontotemporal dementia.

 

 Reporting on dementia

Things to keep in mind when reporting on dementia

Media plays an important role in communication ideas and information to the public. Here are some key things to keep in mind to ensure you are reporting responsibly on the condition:

Positive images

Positive images are in breaking down the fear and stigma surrounding dementia, and making the condition one that people are more encouraged to discuss.  This might mean using images or reporting on people with dementia who are actively engaged in their communities and living a happy life.

A "cure" for dementia

It is important to be cautious when discussing the possibility of a "cure".  While this may make appealing media, inaccurate or exaggerated suggestions in this area can be harmful for people affected by dementia.

Where to go for help

Media can help people affected by dementia to get a diagnosis, help and support by including a point of contact in their coverage.

People who are concerned that they or someone they know has dementia should be directed to their GP in the first instance. For information, support and services they should contact Alzheimers New Zealand on 0800 004 001 or visit www.alzheimers.org.nz

Normalising the condition

Telling the stories of people with dementia, particularly high profile people who have an experience with the condition, can be helpful in normalising the condition and breaking down the stigma associated with dementia.

Interviewing someone with dementia

  • Interviewing someone with dementia may require patience, and in some instances it may be best to include their support person/family/whanāu.
  • If you are interviewing someone with dementia, allow more time for questions and repeat questions as required.
  • Ask only one clearly phrased question at a time and be clear and precise about what you are asking.
  • Be aware that because dementia is a memory condition, it may be difficult for the person to answer questions which require them to draw on their memory
  • It is common to receive short, concise responses rather than drawn out explanations from people with dementia
  • Don't confuse dementia with a hearing disability.  It may help to speak clearly, but is not necessary to raise your voice
  • Treat the person with dementia like any other interviewee.  Act naturally, greet them with a handshake, and avoid patronising or over-praising
  • If you do not understand the answer you receive, ask for clarification, or repeat what you have understood for confirmation
  • Avoid correcting, interrupting or speaking on behalf of the person
  • Remember the individual behind the condition.  Report them as a person first and one who has dementia second.  Listen to their story.  
  • It is useful to run over the information provided with the person’s support person/family/whanāu after the interview, or provide a draft of your article for fact checking if possible.

Terminology

Please try to use the following terminology when reporting on dementia:

USE

INSTEAD OF

People/person with dementia
People/person affected by dementia
People/person living with dementia
Person who has dementia
Person who has a dementia

Dementia patient
Sufferer
Victim
Demented
Aged
Afflicted
Senile
Cursed

Condition

Disease

Person who cares for/cares about/looks after/supports/helps
Support person
Primary support person
Helper
Family, friends and whanāu

Caregiver
Care partner

Family carers
Unpaid carers

Informal carers

Older person/people

Aged person/people

Challenging, debilitating, devastating

Hopeless, impossible, unbearable

Impact/effect of caring for a person with dementia

Carer burden, burden of caring