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Find out more about news and upcoming events below.

Published in the NZ Herald

When Warren Portsmouth was diagnosed with early-onset dementia five years ago, at 57, one of his biggest worries was forgetting his daughter Alana.

Now, the Auckland father-of-two chooses to focus on making every moment he has the "best and happiest" he can. However, Mr Portsmouth admitted things were not always so easy.

He said the breaking point came when he was living with his daughter, Alana Portsmouth, in Auckland. He had been fired from jobs in Australia and struggled to find work in New Zealand.

Mr Portsmouth said it was a financially and emotionally tough time for both of them.

"One night, I just walked out and came back two days later when I calmed down."

He had walked around Auckland, in the middle of winter, and lost money at the casino before eventually returning home.

Just after that, Mr Portsmouth was diagnosed with Alzheimer's and it was decided he should be placed in care.

Mr Portsmouth is one of 50,000 Kiwis Alzheimers New Zealand says are living with dementia.

Recent estimates from the organisation, which launches its annual month-long appeal today, showed the number of people living with the condition was set to double in the next 20 years.

To help out Alzheimers New Zealand, you can go to your local Countdown and buy a pack of specially marked lamingtons or shortbread.

Alzheimers Auckland’s annual Countdown Appeal is coming up in the month of July, and we need volunteers to help out by collecting outside their local Countdown during July. Every year the appeal raises a vital amount of money that goes towards support services for people with dementia and their carers.

With the appeal an essential part of our yearly fundraising, getting as many volunteers as possible will help Alzheimers Auckland make 2015 the biggest Countdown Appeal yet.

Collecting during the Countdown Appeal can be organised around your busy schedule, with two hour shifts at times throughout July and locations to suit you. We hope to collect outside as many Countdown stores as possible throughout Auckland, over at least two weekends in July. However, we can’t do it without your support.

To collect, or for more information around volunteering with Alzheimers Auckland, please contact Sarah Knight on This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Help Alzheimers Auckland just by filling up your car with gas!

We’re one of the four groups being supported through Good in the Hood at Z Te Irirangi Drive. That means we’ll get a share of $4,000 - how much depends on how many votes we get!

To vote for us all you need to do is buy something from Z Te Irirangi Drive during May. You’ll be given an orange token to put in to the voting box - the charity with the most tokens at the end of the month not only gets the biggest share, but also has the chance to have their donation supercharged!

That's right - we’re also in for a share of an extra $250,000 Z is offering to help supercharge 2015 for up to 22 groups. Customers and local Z staff will be part of choosing the groups — go to z.co.nz/supercharger to find out how it works!

So please, head down to Z Te Irirangi Drive during May and vote for us!

Last year a bunch of amazing people ran on behalf of Alzheimers Auckland at the Auckland Marathon. Between them, they managed to raise over $17,000. Well, $17,473.64 to be exact. We know because we carefully counted every dollar and then put it into services to help people with dementia live well, as well as carer programmes for their families.

It doesn’t matter if you’re as slow as a tortoise or as fast as a hare, we’d love to have you on our Alzheimers Auckland team this year (we're so excited we're even rhyming)! Entries for the Auckland Marathon are open now, although you’ll have until November to train (so there’s plenty of time to get fit). The Auckland Marathon itself will be held on Sunday 1st November.

Sign up here - just choose us in the drop down menu of charities and we'll make sure to send through instructions on how to set up a fundraising page. Don't miss out - half marathon entries sold out in two weeks last year!

If you don't feel quite ready and willing to run in the marathon itself, contribute to our team page here. You won't have to run, but you'll still be helping people with dementia to live well.

When you think of ways to improve brain function, dance is not the first thing that might come to mind, and yet a recent Alzheimers Auckland socialisation project has investigated the role the dance could play for people with dementia.

12 Alzheimers Auckland clients recently completed a six-week dance project with Three Kings resident Carlene Newall and a group of postgraduate Dance Studies students from the University of Auckland. The project was a collaborative effort between Alzheimers Auckland, The University of Auckland Dance Studies Programme, and Wellesley Studios thanks to support from the Gavin and Susan Walker Postgraduate Scholarship in Dance Studies.

Find out more about the project on nzDoctor.co.nz

Talking about death and dying is hard. Most of us will not die suddenly.  We all potentially have lots of time to think, talk and plan for our future and end of life care.  Yet for most families this conversation does not happen, or if it does, then only when someone is very unwell. Many people don’t spend their last weeks and months doing what they value in a place they call home. They are undergoing treatments they would not have chosen given the choice, away from their homes in a hospital or high care facility, isolated from their families by visiting hours or distance.  Many don’t get to say what they want to the important people in their lives, don’t get to say I love you, thank you, sorry and goodbye.   

Advance Care Planning helps us think about and share what is important, it helps us think about and plan what treatments we do and don’t want, it helps us clarify how we want to be cared for as we approach the end of our lives.

This year 16th April will be Conversations that Count Day, a national initiative led by a co-operative of hundreds of people across New Zealand’s health system that is encouraging us to have a ‘Conversation that Counts’. That is, talk to those we care about and with those who will care for us as the end approaches about what we would want for ourselves.

Our theme will be ‘Start a Conversation’.  We want to encourage people to start having conversations with their family, friends and wider social networks. We want people to feel confident to start conversations about what matters to them and what care and treatment they would want in the future. Visit our website www.conversationsthatcount.org.nz to find out more, download our poster or email one of our postcards to someone you care about to help to get the ball rolling.

To find out more about Advance Care Planning, access our e-Learning modules or watch the moving and very informative film Living for Today, Planning for Tomorrow, visit www.advancecareplanning.org.nz.

Last year a bunch of amazing people ran on behalf of Alzheimers Auckland at the Auckland Marathon. Between them, they managed to raise over $17,000. Well, $17,473.64 to be exact. We know because we carefully counted every dollar and then put it into services to help people with dementia live well, as well as carer programmes for their families.

It doesn’t matter if you’re as slow as a tortoise or as fast as a hare, we’d love to have you on our Alzheimers Auckland team this year (we're so excited we're even rhyming)! Entries for the Auckland Marathon open on the 30th of March, although you’ll have until November to train (so there’s plenty of time to get fit). The Auckland Marathon itself will be held on Sunday 1st November.
You can sign up here.

Make sure you don’t miss out this year, especially if you’re planning on doing the half-marathon – these entries sold out in two weeks last year. Some of the staff at Alzheimers Auckland will be running the half marathon too, so we look forward to seeing you there!

Date / Time: Saturday, 28 March, 2015 - 09:00 to 16:00

Location: University of Auckland Business School, Owen G Glenn Building, 12 Grafton Road, Auckland, New Zealand

Alzheimers Auckland will once again be part of Brain Day 2015 along with leading scientists and clinicians. Our fantastic key workers will be on hand to dish out information and resources about dementia.

Panel discussions with experts provide an opportunity to experience what your senseational brain is capable of. Meanwhile, a range of interesting activities and fun neuroscience demonstrations will entertain the whole family.

Brain Day is a free public event organised by the Centre for Brain Research and the Neurological Foundation of New Zealand, who aim
to provide information on a myriad of brain disorders which may affect people throughout their lives.

Free entry/ Wheelchair access/ Cafe facilities

Parking under the Business School is available for $6 per day

Alzheimers Auckland is getting ready, in conjunction with Parnell Rotary Club and Progressive Enterprises, to again host New Zealand’s largest Charity Golf Day in February.

This Charity Golf Day makes a significant difference to the level of services we can provide, raising over $151,000 in 2014. This money helps fund our vital services for people with dementia and their carers - all with the vision of helping people live well with dementia.
 
The Countdown Charity Golf Day will this year be held on February 13th 2015 and will play host to over 300 Countdown suppliers. If anyone is interested in donating a prize for the charity auction, please contact This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

A huge thank you to Progressive Enterprises and Parnell Rotary, who put a huge amount of time, effort and resource into this event and are some of our biggest supporters.