28 Oct 2010

Search group warns of strain caused by dementia sufferers

8:18 am on 28 October 2010

A search and rescue organisation believes its resources will be strained by a projected increase in dementia sufferers.

New Zealand Land Search and Rescue carried out 393 volunteer assisted operations over the past twelve months, a 38% increase on the previous year, boosted mainly by searches in urban areas for missing people with dementia.

Chief executive Hadyn Smith says it will become difficult for volunteers to commit more time as the number of search operations increases and the issue needs to be addressed at a Government level.

Mr Smith says there will need to be more paid positions, particularly in Auckland.

Alzheimers New Zealand says more than 42,000 people have dementia and the figure is forecast to reach nearly 150,000 by 2050.

New Zealand Land Search and Rescue is the national volunteer organisation providing land search and rescue services to police and the public.