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14 July 2021 

Today, I have an urgent request for your help – and to let you in on a little secret. 

The secret is not uncommon, but I have been asked for anonymity by the family; changing names and some details in the course. 

I need your help to break the stigma of dementia for families in the community. 

“I did nothing of the sort! … your daughter is a liar and a thief!” – said Jane to her son Simon. 

The family confrontation that brought everything to the surface. 

It started out small, the memory loss, and they’d just put it down to getting older, but then the arguments started – the ‘he said she said’ kind that nobody wins. 

“I didn’t say that” Jane would say. Brian would just shrug it off and try to change subject or get back to the paper, not thinking too much about it, after all, they’d always had a bit of a fiery relationship – that was one of the many things he loved about her, they would have all kinds of debates - her passion for women’s rights, politics and world views. 

But still, Brian did suspect something wasn’t quite right with Jane. “I’ve still got all my marbles” she’d say for reassurance.

They had talked about Jane’s memory, but kept it to themselves – “We didn’t want to worry the children”. 

Seeking any help was too difficult, personal and confronting, and Brian wasn’t too sure what to make of the changes in Jane’s behaviour, let alone even talk to her about them. 

One day their granddaughter Hannah visited, she was working on a school project about family history. She was in deep conversation about it with Nana Jane, when Jane abruptly got up and went off to the bedroom - coming back a few minutes later with a handful of photos, and jewellery “take these” she said as she thrusted them at Hannah. 

Hannah thought it was a bit strange, but started to ask questions about the items - it was fascinating to learn where they had come from and who the people were. “Oh no, you can’t have this one” snatching a small broach back from Hannah putting it in her pocket. 

Hannah bundled up the precious items into her bag to take home ready for her presentation. 

Late that night, Brian phones Simon their son: 

“We’ve been robbed!”

“Some bugger has stolen Jane’s jewellery.” 

Simon calmed his father down and told him to lock up and he’d help contact the police in the morning. 

Simon gets off the phone and tells his wife Lynda. Hannah, who overhears, quickly pipes up… “no?! I have them here”, showing her parents “Nana gave them to me for my project”

Simon calls his Dad back, this time his Mum answers – he explains to her that Hannah has her jewellery and some photos too, “you gave them to her for her project mum…” – “I did nothing of the sort! … your daughter is a liar and a thief!” and she slams the phone down. 

Wow! that’s not like Mum. Thinks Simon. 



A few minutes later the phone rings.. this time it’s his Dad: “What’s going on Simon, your Mum is screaming about Hannah stealing her jewellery?” The argument intensifies, again ending abruptly. 

The next morning, the phone rings again - “You better get it Simon, it might be your Dad” says Lynda. Simon picks up the phone, sure enough it was his Dad… he braces himself… 

“I’m sorry Simon, your Mum now remembers she’d lent the stuff to Hannah, and we found more around the house”.  

Brian and Jane were embarrassed, this was the first time something like this had breached their home. The secret was out. 

It was time to see if there was more to it than Jane just getting a bit forgetful as she got older. 

Full of nerves – they visited Jane’s doctor, and after a lot of questions and a few tests, it was indicated that Jane had dementia. 

Overwhelmed with the terminal diagnosis, with emotions running high, there was a lot to take in and figure out. 

Right now, we see on average 100 referrals a month like Jane, from the local community in Kāpiti, Porirua, Wellington and the Hutt Valley. 

Whānau, and carers like Brian also receive help to breakdown barriers, stigma and allowing them to talk openly in a non-judgmental environment, full of support and companionship, not only from the Dementia Advisers, but from people grappling with the same issues. 

There can be a minefield of questions once someone like Jane has been diagnosed, and this can be confronting for everyone. With your support, people like people like Brian, and their family, can attend a series of Dementia Essentials seminars to answer the most common questions about dementia:

Understanding Changed Behaviour
Communicating Effectively
Enduring power of attorney responsibilities and Advance Care Planning
Preparing for Day Programme / Respite / Long term care
Staying engaged and connected
Dealing with grief and loss 

Your gift today can support funding for the current planned seminars. 

Attendees said: “A big help. Make more people aware of these seminars.” I Hall. “The seminars helped formalise my feelings and thoughts.” Helen P. “Very helpful for me.” S Powell. 

Your help of could go toward providing more local seminars, so carers don’t have to worry about travelling far to attend these vital sessions. 

In Aotearoa, there are 70,000 people recognised with dementia, and the number is expected to rise to 170,000 in the next 30 years! It’s staggering to think that’s nearly the population of Wellington.

These figures locally and for New Zealand as a whole, may only be the tip of the iceberg.

In Australia the number #1 cause of death for women is dementia. 

For a long time dementia has been stigmatised, and a silent disease, your gift could assist in demystifying it for more families, please make your urgent gift today. 

Your urgent action will help give life-changing support. Ensuring families can don’t suffer in silence. 

Ngā mihi,  


Anne Schumacher | Chief Executive

Noho ora ana i roto i te mate wareware - Living well with dementia 

P.S. we appreciate you may be facing your own challenges at this time – but please donate today if you can, and help break the stigma of dementia in your community.

P.P.S. We also ask, if you have a secret you’d like to share - please email us at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. and we'll get in touch.   

This Christmas help support families through the 'ups and downs' of living with dementia

Covid-19 has kept us all apart for too long. This Christmas I am sure, like me, you are looking forward to catching up with your family and friends. That said, not every Christmas goes off smoothly. Christmas is a real opportunity for difficult conversations to come to the surface. That can be hard enough at the best of times, but for families living with dementia the holiday season can be especially tricky. 

That is why, today, I have an urgent request for your help. A donation from people like you, can help Dementia Advisors support families working through the ‘ups and downs’ of life after a diagnosis. Your donation is vital to their ongoing work.


In Aotearoa, there are 70,000 people recognised with dementia, and the number is expected to rise to 170,000 in the next 30 years! It’s staggering to think that’s nearly the population of Wellington.

I also wanted to bring you up to date on how Brian and Jane’s family are doing. You may remember we met Jane and Brian during our Winter Appeal. Some ‘missing’ jewellery meant the whole family became aware of changes in Jane’s usual responses and behaviour. This eventually led to a diagnosis of dementia. 

After her initial diagnosis, Jane and Brian were referred to Dementia Wellington. Sarah Togher, one of our Wellington-based Dementia Advisors, phoned Brian for a chat and suggested he attend a Dementia Essentials seminar about ‘Understanding changed behaviour’. 

At first, he wasn't keen. Admitting that they need help feels like admitting defeat. Brian’s eldest son Simon offers to come along with him. The session was not at all what Brian had expected.

“It was really practical and I learned some useful tips to help Jane and I communicate better.”

He also started to think about how he was going to talk to the rest of the family before Christmas about Jane’s diagnosis. But it wasn’t just the practical ideas that helped. As Brian said to Simon afterwards:

“When I walked in and saw we were the only blokes, I felt a bit out of my depth. But it was so good meeting with other people who are in similar situations.”

Dementia Advisors like Sarah are experienced health professionals who specialise in dementia support. They have a huge range of experiences with different types and stages of dementia and family situations. They know how to access the assistance and help that is available now from public and private organisations, and can help clients like Brian and Jane make the most of that support.  

While our services have changed due to Covid restrictions,  our Dementia Advisors are busier than ever.

Working within the Covid guidelines, they still run regular one-to-one clinic sessions in Kāpiti, Porirua, Wellington and the Hutt Valley so nobody needs to travel far to meet up, and they are available by zoom/phone/email or to meet in person in cafes or homes with clients and their families.

For Brian and Jane things at home have changed a lot.  Jane always used to do the cooking but that’s becoming almost impossible for her. Now Brian does more of the cooking and cleaning than he has ever done their whole marriage.  In fact, things are probably a bit more difficult at home than Brian wants to admit. When he left Jane in the house on her own recently, she tried to fry some eggs while he was out and nearly started a fire in the kitchen.

“I’m worried about Christmas. We usually have a crowd over on Christmas Day - with Jane doing most of the catering. That’s not going to happen this year.”

Dementia Advisor Sarah offers to meet up with Brian and encourages Brian to bring Simon along again. Simon is keen on the idea.

“I know  it’s hard to find the right way to say it, but I think we need to start telling the rest of the family what’s going on,” says Simon when they all meet up.

“They haven’t seen Mum and Dad much this year because of Covid and it’s going to be a big shock if they turn up at Christmas without so much as a hint.”

Neither Brian nor Jane want to let the wider family in on what’s been happening. But Christmas will be a big strain on Jane - and Brian can see that they can’t keep things secret for much longer. 

Brian felt like the discussion with Sarah was a bit of a turning point when he finally admitted to himself that he needed to reach out and draw in the extended family. Brian said later to a friend.

“I have always been a straight-talker but I had made this topic off limits. After talking with Sarah, Simon and I rang around the family to give them the heads up.”

“It was one of the hardest things I have ever had to do, but the information and advice I had got from Dementia Wellington really helped me find the right words. I was able to explain things clearly and let them know what we needed this Christmas.  It was quite a relief really to get it off my chest.”

His sister Sheila’s reaction surprised him – she had known something was happening.

“I thought something was up with her when I spoke to her on the phone,” she said. “Why don’t we have Christmas at our place this year? My kids are away with their partners so it’ll be a bit smaller anyway. And your children and the grandkids are welcome of course.” 

This offer is a weight off his mind and Sheila lives close enough for Jane and Brian to leave early if it all gets a bit much!

The one-on-one support to families like Brian and Jane’s from our Dementia Advisors is particularly important under current Covid restrictions. It’s the personal approach that really makes a difference.

Our Dementia Advisors have decades of experience and training between them.  They really work to understand the specific situations of people like Brian and Jane and as dementia can progress slowly, they work with the same families over years – supporting them at each step of their journey with dementia.

Right now, we have six Dementia Advisors supporting about 1300 clients like Brian and Jane in the Wellington region. The Dementia Advisors support people from the local community in Kāpiti, Porirua, Wellington and the Hutt Valley.

With your support, you will be helping people like Jane and Brian and their families, through the work of our Dementia Advisors.

Your gift today will help support one-on-one clinic sessions with a Dementia Advisor, where clients can talk openly and get sound and timely advice.  



This is thanks to you, as you help people to live well with dementia.

Your help could go toward providing more local clinic sessions, so carers don’t have to worry about travelling far to attend these vital clinic sessions.

For a long time, dementia has been a stigmatised and silent disease. Your gift of could assist in demystifying it for more families.

Please make your Christmas gift today. Your urgent action will help give life-changing support. Help us help families through the ‘ups and downs’ this Christmas and into the New Year.


Ngā mihi,  


Anne Schumacher | Chief Executive

Noho ora ana i roto i te mate wareware - Living well with dementia 

P.S. we appreciate you may be facing your own challenges at this time – but please donate today if you can, and help break the stigma of dementia in your community.


For anonymity in this appeal, the names and some accounts have been changed, also using photos of actors.

Fundraiser: Quiz Night at The Street church 7pm Sat 10 April


Abby Roche has generously donated her time and energy to Dementia Wellington to organise a Quiz night as a fundraiser in memory of her grandma who passed away in 2019 with dementia and her Nana who has dementia currently. The night will be a fun and energetic quiz night held at The Street church in Hania Street in Wellington with amazing prizes, a silent auction, food and drink. Lots of Wellington businesses have donated prizes to be given away on the night. The Quiz is on Saturday 10 April, 7pm with tickets only $25.  


Click the link here to get your tickets 🙂


Fundraiser:  Movie Night 'The Father' Lighthouse Petone from 5.15pm Thurs 15 April


On Thursday 15 April from 5.15pm at Lighthouse Cinema in Petone, Dementia Wellington is holding a special screening of the new movie 'The Father', a new movie starring Anthony Hopkins and Olivia Colman which deals with some of the complexities of living with dementia.  Early reports of the movie are saying that it's an accurate portrayal of the experience of dementia which should result in some interesting conversations. With such big stars this movie is likely to be a popular one.  Check out the movie trailer here.  We are so grateful to Beverley Jeffery, a member of the Lower Hutt supporter group and her mother's fulltime carer, who is donating her time to organise this for us. 


Tickets are $25 (including GST and service charges) and the movie starts at 6pm but come to the cinema from 5.15pm to mingle and for some spot prizes on the night.  This event is a great opportunity to contribute to our fundraising and to enlighten family members and friends about dementia.     


Click the link here to get your tickets 🙂 If you have any issues with booking tickets contact Beverley on This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or phone 021 126 5100.

Updated Tuesday 5 October

As you know Wellington is currently under Level 2 'Delta' restrictions and is likely to be for some time.  

At Alert Level 2, there are no restrictions on who can be included in your household bubble, businesses can open and people can go to work while kids can go off to school. 

For the detail on what this Alert Level means see https://covid19.govt.nz/alert-levels-and-updates/alert-level-2/ 

We strongly urge everyone to get vaccinated ASAP, more information on vaccinations is here: https://covid19.govt.nz/covid-19-vaccines/how-to-get-a-covid-19-vaccination/book-your-covid-19-vaccination/ 

There is some additional Alert Level 2 advice for at- risk people: 

At Alert Level 2, at-risk people need to reduce contact with others. There is still some freedom to move around, but its important to follow public health measures. If you are an at-risk person, you will need to take extra precautions when doing this.

Things you can do to stay safe:

  • Only connect with small groups of close family, whānau, and friends — those in or close to your bubble.
  • Try not to interact with too many people outside of your own social circle as it could make contact tracing harder, if needed.
  • Keep a 2 metre distance from people you do not know in public places and take extra care with hygiene practices.
  • Wear a face covering where it is difficult to keep a 2 metre distance from people you do not know, for example in shops. 
  • Wash your hands frequently and avoid touching surfaces.
  • Wipe keys, handrails, and regularly touched surfaces.
  • Avoid passing around your mobile phone to other people.

See here for some information on wearing a mask and how to get mask exemption cards: Wear a face covering | Unite against COVID-19 (covid19.govt.nz)  

The Dementia Wellington team are making sure that we do not put our clients or our community contacts at any unnecessary risk and are therefore taking a cautionary approach to how we provide our services and support during Level 2 Delta. 

One-to-one appointments at homes or clinics: 

Our Dementia Advisors continue to be available to work remotely (phone, zoom) with clients and are now available to meet face-to-face while wearing masks and maintaining social distancing. 

Groups and seminars (Living Well groups, Supporter groups, Education seminars and Cog cafes): 

Our venues dictate what we can safely do mostly due to their size and how practical social distancing is. With that in mind, we are restarting all groups where we can keep to the venue guidelines.  In some cases, we will be using alternative venues if our usual ones aren't suitable.  

Please contact your Dementia Advisor if you would like more information or want to discuss any safety concerns related to masks, our venues or social distancing.  We are happy to work with your to come up with safe ways for you to access our services and socialise with others.  If you aren't already working with a Dementia Advisor, please contact us on This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..  

Covid-19 is changing our lives, and the Delta variant is much easier to transfer to others. Whether you are a person living with dementia or you are supporting a person with dementia, it is important to know what you can do to stay as safe as possible, and to look after your wellbeing.  We have put together practical information and tips to help you to remain safe and to help build resilience during lockdown and beyond, the link to our series of tips can be found on the page below.

Living with Level 2 restrictions can be a tough time for all of us.  Please check out these links to our tips if you need some ideas to support the wellbeing of yourself or someone you care for with dementia over this tricky time.

Our tips for supporting a person with dementia through COVID-19

Dementia Wellington Tips One - Introduction

Dementia Wellington Tips Two - Keeping Occupied

Dementia Wellington Tips Three - Wellbeing

Dementia Wellington Tips Four - Staying Connected when Apart

Dementia Wellington Tips Five - Daughters supporting Mothers

Dementia Wellington Tips Six - Having Purpose

Other wellbeing resources: 

Government Covid 19 wellbeing resources 

Getting through together 


In the meantime, stay safe and please let us know if you need help.  Our thoughts are with all of our Dementia Wellington community, including you, during this challenging time. 


Anne Schumacher

Chief Executive

Dementia Wellington


Dementia Wellington is committed to serving clients to the best of our ability.  This includes welcoming positive and negative feedback on the service we provide.  Complaints/concerns are viewed as an opportunity to improve our service, and all complaints, no matter when or where made or by whom, are to be regarded as serious. 

Dementia Wellington will ensure that all complaints from staff, volunteers, their client group of carers, families, people with dementia and the public are heard, acknowledged and acted upon, and that the high standards of Dementia Wellington are upheld.

Verbal complaints can be made initially but if the complaint is of a serious nature it must be formalised in writing.

All complaints/concerns will be formally acknowledged, if complainant is known, within five working days of receipt. Investigations and responses must be carried our within 20 days of receipt of the complaint.

To give feedback or complaint, please contact the Chief Executive.

Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Phone: (04) 939 0133 

Mail: Chief Executive, Dementia Wellington, 55 Hutt Road, Petone, Wellington 

Contact Us

For free information, education or support, please contact us via the following options:


Office: 04 972 2595


This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.


55 Hutt Road,


5012 PO Box 39393,

Wellington Mail Centre,

Lower Hutt, 5045


Privacy Policy

Any personal information provided to us is held with the utmost care and will not be used other than as described in this privacy policy. We recognise that your relationship with us is voluntary, and as such, your privacy will be held in the strictest confidence. We adhere to the following guidelines:

  • Information about donations is handled with respect and confidentiality to the extent provided by law.
  • Some donors prefer anonymity. We will respect the wishes of contributors who prefer their gift to remain confidential.
  • We do not lend, exchange, rent or sell our donor lists to other organisations.
  • The personal information you provide when making an online donation or become a volunteer will be protected by Dementia Wellington and will not be disclosed to any third parties.


What information we collect

Dementia Wellington collects and uses various personal information from individuals that includes: name, amount donated, address, telephone numbers, e-mail address, comments and date of birth. How we use that information:

Dementia Wellington will use contact information (e-mail, telephone number and address) of individuals for these purposes only:

  • Distribute receipts for donations
  • Thank donors for their donation
  • Inform supporters about upcoming fundraising and other activities of Dementia Wellington
  • Advise volunteers of volunteer opportunities
  • Internal analysis and record keeping
  • Staff and volunteers assume all donations are not to be publicly announced unless the donor explicitly indicates otherwise. Comments given in donor forms may be used in promotional materials while comments sent to us via email, fax or telephone are kept strictly confidential.

Access and Correction of Information

You have the right to access and request a correction to your personal information. To ensure that your recorded personal information is accurate and up-to-date, please notify us of any changes to your personal details as soon as possible by email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or by phone 04 972 2595.

Financial information

All access to donor financial information is strictly limited to professional staff who need to process this data. Dementia Wellington uses VEGA Works for our online payment processing. Dementia Wellington does not store, nor does it have access to, your credit card information, bank account numbers, or other account data sent to those processing services.

Donor Bill of Rights

This Bill of Rights for charitable givers was developed by the following four industry experts: American Association of Fund Raising Counsel, Association for Healthcare Philanthropy, Council for Advancement and Support of Education, National Society of Fund Raising Executives. It is industry-accepted and Dementia Wellington subscribes to the beliefs espoused here.

Philanthropy is based on voluntary action for the common good. It is a tradition of giving and sharing that is primary to the quality of life. To assure that philanthropy merits the respect and trust of the general public, and that donors and prospective donors can have full confidence in the not-for-profit organisations and causes they are asked to support, we declare that all donors have these rights:

  • To be informed of the organisation’s mission, of the way the organisation intends to use donated resources, and of its capacity to use donations effectively for their intended purposes.
  • To be informed of the identity of those serving on the organisation’s governing board, and to expect the board to exercise prudent judgment in its stewardship responsibilities.
  • To have access to the organisation’s most recent financial statements.
  • To be assured their gifts will be used for the purposes for which they were given.
  • To receive appropriate acknowledgment and recognition.
  • To be assured that information about their donations is handled with respect and with confidentiality to the extent provided by law.
  • To expect that all relationships with individuals representing organisations of interest to the donor will be professional in nature.
  • To be informed whether those seeking donations are volunteers, employees of the organisation or hired solicitors.
  • To have the opportunity for their names to be deleted from mailing lists that an organisation may intend to share.
  • To feel free to ask questions when making a donation and to receive prompt, truthful and forthright answers.

If we decide to change our privacy policy, we will post those changes on this page so you are always aware of what information we collect, how we use it, and under what circumstances, if any, we disclose it. If at any point we decide to use personally identifiable information in a manner different from that stated at the time it was collected, we will notify you by way of an email. You will have a choice as to whether or not we may use their information in this different manner. We will use information in accordance with the privacy policy under which the information was collected.

Dementia Wellington offers training and seminars for health professionals in the Wellington region. To find out what is available, please contact This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

To refer a patient to Dementia Wellington, please use our referral form.

If you are interested in finding out more about dementia in New Zealand and internationally, here are some useful resources:

NZ Dementia Cooperative - https://nzdementia.org/

Dementia Pathway - https://3d.healthpathways.org.nz/

Goodfellows Dementia Education - https://www.goodfellowunit.org/courses/dementia

University of Tasmania Preventing/Understanding Dementia - http://www.utas.edu.au/wicking/understanding-dementia

Find out about our workshops, seminars and events


Find out how you can help us