Information and Services

Alzheimer’s Society Otago

Alzheimer’s Otago supports people with dementia and their family/whanau across the Otago and Queenstown Lakes area. They have community educators based in Dunedin, Oamaru, Alexandra and Queenstown.

They offer carer support groups, one to one contact via telephone, email or face to face, socialisation groups, education about living well with dementia, wandatrak pendants and some excellent written resources.


Referrals are made through GP’s, specialists, needs assessors, social workers or the family making contact themselves. The service is free although you can become a member by paying a $20 subscription and donations are always welcome.


Dunedin/South and West Otago

  • Phone: (03) 471 6154

  • Physical Address: Community House 283-301 Moray Place Dunedin

  • Postal Address: P O Box 5304 Dunedin 9058

  • Email:

North Otago

Central Otago/Queenstown


Alzheimer’s Society Southland

Alzheimer’s Southland offers support, education and information to anyone wanting to know more about dementia. They provide this service by offering educational talks, information sessions, support groups and home visits to clients.



Personal Safety Devices for People with Dementia

Wandering alarms and tracking systems:



Consumer New Zealand list 5 Accredited Suppliers of Personal Alarms that the Ministry of Social Development have approved for its accredited supplier list. The following suppliers are available in the South Island:



Hospice and end of life services

(For those with or without Dementia)


People who have dementia who require specialist palliative care access this through their GP, hospital doctor or district nurse who can make a referral to Hospice.

The Aged Residential Care (ARC) Cancer Nurse Specialist service is available to provide regular generalist palliative care support to facilities providing hospital level care.


Stand-alone rest home facilities can telephone Hospice 24 hours a day on 03 4736005 for advice on palliative care needs. People who live in ARC and have specialist palliative care needs can be referred to Hospice by their GP in the same way as people who live in their own homes.



Advance Care Planning

Advance Care Planning (ACP) is a process of thinking about, discussing and writing down a plan about the type of medical care and treatment you would want to receive in the future.

It helps to make sure that your needs and wishes are known, and your personal beliefs and values are respected about your own future health care decisions. It helps guide doctors and other health professionals in their decisions about treatment if you become too sick to speak for yourself or are incapable of making decisions for yourself.

If you have an Advance Care Plan which you have shared with your family, healthcare decision-making is also less stressful for them and your loved ones.


A good place to start to make an Advance Care Plan is

The Te Hokinga ā Wairua End of Life Service website covers advance care planning as well as a practical guide for people facing the loss of someone close to them.



Enduring Power of Attorney

An Enduring Power of Attorney (EPOA) will give you peace of mind that someone you trust will make decisions for you, if you can’t decide for yourself. Your EPOA will save your family the cost and stress of getting a court order to make decisions about you.


There are two types of EPOA – one covering your property and the other covering your personal care and welfare

It’s important for everyone to get an EPOA. For useful information go to:


Learning Opportunities:

For those wishing to engage in their own further study in Dementia, there are some on-line study courses available.

(MOOC – Massive Open Online Course), studying free online with people from all around the world.  These courses are available at different times throughout the year and are suitable for families, carer’s and professionals. 


Driving Assessment:

Your clinician may refer you for a driver assessment.  It may be suggested that you have this with an Occupational Therapist. The following fact sheet outlines what this may involve.

You may also choose to have your assessment with the AA or a Registered Driving School.


Mobility Scooter Use:

Keeping mobile: How to safely use your mobility scooter. From NZTA . Guidelines for safe use and handling.


Carer Support: 

Carer Support is a subsidy funded by the Ministry of Health or the District Health Board. It can assist the unpaid full-time carer of a person with a disability to take a break from caring for that person.

Carer Support is designed to be flexible. The client and the full-time carer can choose to coordinate their relief care, and this can be claimed for in either half or full days.


Common options may include:

  • Residential care in a facility for a pre-arranged number of days

  • Homecare or other agency support for the client within their own home, or for activities outside of the home.


The client can be assessed by a Needs Assessment Service Co-ordination (NASC) Agency or in some circumstances, by a doctor or social worker.  If eligible, then the Assessor will allocate Carer Support days.  Reviews are usually done annually.


Day Programmes:

Some facilities or private groups offer Day Programmes.  Day programmes are usually set up within a facility, or may be run by a private group/trust in the community. They offer a range of interesting activities/entertainment for their members which would allow carers/family members an opportunity to have a break, or those living alone an opportunity to engage with others. These may not be specifically set up for those with Dementia but check with your Needs Assessor as it may be appropriate for your family member to attend.  Day Care can be funded in some instances by the District Health Board or WINZ can also fund using a Disability Allowance.  Check with your local Needs Assessment service or GP.

Respite Care:

As part of a needs assessment you may be offered Respite Care to be used in a crisis or emergency situation.  Usually a phone call to your GP or to your Needs Assessment service is all that is needed to put respite care in place.

What to do in an Emergency?


From time to time you may find that you need to act quickly and utilise the local emergency services for a number of reasons.

You may wish to familiarise yourself with your local services.

  • Emergency Department/ Emergency Psychiatric Service (EPS) phone 1 1 1, or visit your local hospital.

  • Your local GP.

  • Care Coordination Centre. (this is NOT an emergency service, but will assist with referrals for  needs assessments, respite care and supports at home etc.) ph 0800 627 236


Feedback for SDHB Services:

Families are encouraged to give feedback at any time they feel they would like to. They can do this in a number of ways, by:

Note: Patients can contact the Health and Disability Advocacy Service for free independent advice and support on 0800 555 050.

Look out for a copy of this brochure around the hospital. You can record your compliments, complaints or suggestions directly onto to it and Freepost back to the SDHB.