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Dementia Friendly Accreditation

All of Ryman Healthcare’s New Zealand villages, from Whangarei to Invercargill, have now gained Dementia Friendly Accreditation as recognised by Alzheimers New Zealand.

As well as challenging perspectives on dementia, Ryman’s approach highlights the importance of creating dementia-friendly communities. This aligns with Alzheimers New Zealand’s vision of creating a dementia-friendly Aotearoa.

Alzheimers NZ recognise that people with dementia are living longer in their communities and are able to do so with increasing independence. Their statistics show that there are currently 70,000 Kiwis living with dementia. This figure is expected to increase to 170,000 by 2050.

With this in mind, Alzheimers NZ is focused on raising awareness of dementia, supporting people with dementia to live well, and advocating for more and better services for all New Zealanders affected by dementia. Its goal is to help build an open and inclusive society - a place where people living with dementia feel valued, where they can contribute to and participate in their communities, and where they feel safe.


"We are very impressed by how Ryman and its staff have embedded the dementia friendly concept into ‘business as usual’. In doing so, they have transformed their organisation."

Catherine Hall, Chief Executive, Alzheimers NZ

Alzheimers New Zealand Dementia Friendly Standards

The following seven standards form the criteria of the Alzheimers NZ Dementia Friendly Recognition Programme:

We understand the needs of people living with dementia as they relate to our business or organisation from their perspective.

The myRyman Life model of dementia care was created with input from people living with dementia, those caring for people with dementia, and dementia care experts. This direct engagement was conducted through one-on-one interviews.

The results of this detailed research are woven throughout all four sections of myRyman Life. They are also being used to build an eLearning tool to provide continued learning and support to Ryman care teams.

On arrival at a Ryman care centre, residents or their representative meet with a registered nurse for a comprehensive assessment. This helps us create a detailed, person-centred care plan which is reviewed every 6 months. Primary care means that residents enjoy the same nursing and caregiving teams, which enables team members to learn individual needs and preferences. This helps to build trusting relationships and adds a natural, calming rhythm to the care we provide.

We have the right structures in place to maintain a sustainable dementia friendly business or organisation.

Sustaining and enhancing dementia friendly communities in every Ryman village has become part of our ‘business as usual’. This is actively supported and promoted by Ryman’s board of directors, senior executive team and senior leadership team.

Ryman care teams who directly engage with dementia residents are committed to the myRyman Life model of dementia care. The model helps our teams to care with both empathy and understanding. Further to this, our wider Ryman teams; including construction, design, marketing, sales, IT, education and operations; are all of one mind when it comes to collaborating in order for Ryman villages to maintain sustainable dementia friendly communities.

Staff and volunteers have an awareness and understanding of dementia.

More than 1,400 Ryman staff have completed Alzheimers NZ’s Dementia Friends initiative. The initiative aims to raise awareness, increase understanding, grow inclusion of people living with dementia and reduce stigma and discrimination. All new Ryman staff will complete the Dementia Friends questionnaire as part of their induction.

We have a continuous improvement plan to make our physical environment(s) accessible to people with dementia.

The ‘de-stressing the environment’ section of myRyman Life focuses on how environmental design features can enhance independence and decrease stress for people living with dementia. These features have been embraced by Ryman architectural and design teams and they have been incorporated into the blue print of all new Ryman village builds.

We respect and support employees affected by dementia (people living with dementia or people caring for someone with dementia).

Ryman provide a flexible working agreement for people living with dementia. This ensures that shifts and working hours can be negotiated so that variations in work capacity throughout the day can be taken into consideration. Employees are also supported with a strengths-based approach in regard to self-care, and team members working alongside them support each other by assigning tasks and activities that align with key strengths.

Websites, communications and published information are accessible for people with dementia.

The myRyman Life model of dementia care is available, in various formats, to all staff and residents. Residents will be able to enrol in tailored myRyman Life eLearning modules. Links to other relevant resources are embedded within the courses and learning material.

Regular formal reviews of dementia friendly progress are planned for into the future.

Ryman – Annual reviews of the programme will occur to ensure that literature, resources and advice remain abreast of current thinking throughout the world.

Become a Dementia Friend

Dementia Friends is an Alzheimers NZ initiative to raise awareness, increase understanding, grow inclusion and acceptance of people living with dementia, and to reduce stigma and discrimination. Anyone can become a Dementia Friend - more than 1,400 Ryman staff have completed the initiative and all new staff will complete the questionnaire as part of their induction.

Become a Dementia Friend


Our villages are supportive and caring communities that work to improve the experience of residents living with dementia.

Find out more


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