Events of the past week have included Palmerston North's Memory Walk for Alzheimer's on Saturday, which was well supported and certainly a poignant reminder for us all during World Alzheimers' Month, of just how many lives are touched by dementia.
Dementia is a degenerative condition that affects a person's memory and their ability to do everyday tasks. It is caused by a range of diseases, including Alzheimer's. The incidence of dementia increases with age, and more women than men are sufferers.
In 2011 the total estimated number of sufferers was 47,000.
Last year that had increased to 53,000. However as the population increases and ages, the number of sufferers is expected to rise dramatically and research suggests that by 2050 there will be 147,000 people living with dementia in New Zealand.
Dementia costs New Zealand around $1 billion each year about $596.3 million (62.5 per cent) of which is direct expenditure by the health system.
As we continue to live longer, dementia and other aging diseases will play an increasingly significant role in our lives.
The effects of dementia are not limited to those diagnosed with it.
It also has an impact on the life of the carer as well as family, whanau, friends and communities. The consequences of this disease are often misunderstood and most certainly underestimated.
I also attended The Mudder on Saturday, which is a farm based mud run / walk for those passionate about mud! It is organised by Andrew and Kylie Stewart and held on their sheep and beef property north of Marton.
It is a fantastic spectacle and a great example of a local event promoting the area and encouraging out-of-towners to enjoy the rural heartland.
St Mathews School in Marton celebrated their centenary over the weekend and it too was a well organised event that was attended by ex-pupils along with current students and their families.
The Samoan community provided a hearty welcome for those present. The Samoan community is certainly making their presence felt in Marton and they represent an important part of the school's identity 100 years on.
Snow in the northern part of the Electorate will be most welcome for the skiers among us and also for those many businesses in and around the mountain who rely heavily on the snow for their livelihoods. Perfect timing for the school holidays! On Thursday Parliament voted by an overwhelming majority to have an additional, fifth option added to the first postal referendum ballot paper with the passing of the New Zealand Flag Referendums' Amendment Bill.
The amending legislation allows the Red Peak design to join the other four design options already on the ballot after they were recommended by the independent Flag Consideration Panel. The passing of the bill confirms the Government's preelection commitment to secure New Zealanders their first opportunity to vote on the flag they believe best represents us .