Kerry's Story

 

Kerry Prendergast is the Chair of the NZ Tourism Board, the Environmental Protection Authority and the Executive Chair of the New Zealand (Arts) Festival, as well being on a number of other boards.  

Kerry’s association with dementia is a personal one. Her father went through the journey of Alzheimer’s disease, being diagnosed late, in 2002, and passing away in 2005. Her mother has recently been diagnosed with vascular dementia; so another journey is beginning for her family.

In her father’s case, the symptoms of dementia were not recognised soon enough for him to receive an early diagnosis.  And his condition also progressed more quickly than they expected.

With earlier diagnosis, Kerry’s father and his family would have been better prepared.  As it was, he and his family did not have the benefit of the services and support that would have made a real difference to his ability to live well with his dementia, and to stay engaged in his community for as long as was feasible – for him and his family. Through her association with Alzheimers NZ, Kerry hopes to help to raise awareness of:

•         the early warning signs of dementia, and to encourage people to see their doctor for a full assessment if they are worried that they or someone they know might have dementia
•         ways in which to support people affected by dementia to remain active and engaged in their communities, and to make New Zealand communities more dementia-friendly.