Government warned to prepare for dementia 'tidal wave' at a cost of $12b

The Government is being warned to prepare for a $12 billion dementia "tidal wave", with the number of sufferers expected to triple in just over 30 years. 

Around 60,000 Kiwis have the disease and now Alzheimers New Zealand is asking the government to commit even more money to care for those sufferers. 

About 60,000 Kiwis have the disease, a number expected to triple in just over 30 years. Source: 1 NEWS

The cost to New Zealand each year is $1 billion, according to Dr Ngaire Dixon, the chairwoman of Alzheimers NZ. 

"If nothing is done, this will turn into a tidal wave," she said.

Currently people with dementia get support when their illness is so far gone they have to be cared for in residential homes.

But Alzheimers NZ wants sufferers supported straight after diagnosis so they can make the most of life.

"The government would benefit by putting in the time and money now because it would reduce the amount of funding they need for people in longer term care," said Dr Nixon. 

The government did not address the proposed strategy, instead pointing to the extra $100 million it's spending on dementia service, and says district health boards have been tasked to develop dementia care.