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There is always so much happening at Alzheimers Otago. On this page, we try to keep you up to date with all the latest news

Minds Together Programme Information


What is Minds Together?

Minds Together is a new community collaboration between the Social Impact Studio and Alzheimers Otago. Minds Together seeks to promote social wellbeing, enhance understanding of dementia, and provide a unique campus-based learning experience for both people with a dementia mate wareware diagnosis and university students.

What does it involve?

The programme partners individuals, with early stage dementia mate wareware, with university student volunteers across seven weekly sessions hosted by various university departments. Example departments include Performing Arts, Hocken archives, Dental School, and Physical Education.


● Stimulating learning opportunities for person with dementia mate wareware

● Enhanced social interaction

● Social inclusion through intergenerational connection and understanding

● Increased awareness and understanding of dementia mate wareware

When does it take place?

The sessions take place on Thursdays between 10am and 12pm, with members being dropped off at 9.50am and picked up no later than 12.00pm. Sessions will usually begin with morning tea before an activity.

For more details and to enrol, please contact Antoinette McLean, 03 471 6154 or

Sadly, we have had to wish farewell to Donna Watt, Community Educator in Alexandra on Monday 7th August 2023. Donna has worked with Alzheimers Otago since 20th January 2014 and leaves us after almost 10 years of supporting families and people with dementia in the Alexandra area.

Donna has made a considerable contribution to the Alzheimers Otago organization and her local community over the years. She has remained constant, especially over the recent years where many changes and challenges impacted the organization. She has supported management and all new staff, providing an incredible resource with both her personal and professional experiences and advice. Donna’s approach to her clients has always been person-centered and this is evident from the numerous first and second-hand exemplary accounts. Donna’s support offered to families in her region was done with respect, dignity, kindness, and care. She was a force for our cause! We acknowledge and appreciate her dedication and the support she has given to caregivers, whanau, and people living with dementia matewareware. Donna will be greatly missed


It’s the dream we carry in secret
that something miraculous will happen,
that it must happen –
that time will open
that the heart will open
that doors will open
that the mountains will open
that springs will gush –
that the dream will open,
that one morning we will glide into
some little harbour we didn’t know was there.

A Goodbye message from Donna –

It is with much sadness that I now say goodbye to the world of Alzheimers Otago, the wonderful team, and the many client families I have worked with over almost ten years. It has been a role that brought me much joy, and considerable sadness – bearing witness to your journeys has been no small thing. I have learned so much from all of you – about strength, about loss, about compassion, and so much more. I will miss you all.  My thanks to our committed and professional Board members, our funders, and to Antoinette and a special team spread across the Otago region. You do amazing work. You are valued. All the best. Ngā mihi nui  Donna Watt

Release of Sapere report on current state of aged care

Health New Zealand | Te Whatu Ora received a report from Sapere Research Group Limited in January this year, which outlines the current state of New Zealand’s aged residential care (ARC) and home and community support services (HCSS).

You can access and share the report through our website here.

As you may know, this report is the first main output of Health New Zealand | Te Whatu Ora review of funding and service models for aged care services, which Health NZ began in July last year, and includes feedback from key stakeholders.

As expected, the Sapere report highlights some major challenges facing older people, whānau and their communities as well as providers, workers, needs assessors and funders, including:

ARC and HCSS are under-funded.
The funding models used to distribute funding to the sector are no longer fit for purpose.
There are material ethnic inequities in accessing aged care services.
The aged care sector continues to face significant workforce pressures.
Issues with aged care are exacerbated in regional and rural New Zealand.


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