|Articles taken from the DECEMBER, 2004 Huntington's News. The Quarterly Newsletter of the Huntington's Disease Associations of New Zealand|
New Zealands first residential facility for people with Huntingtons disease was formally opened in Lower Hutt last week.
Associate Health and Disability Issues Minister Ruth Dyson helped cut the cake to launch the $1.4 million development, which is on the site of the former Watsonia rest home in Cambridge Terrace.
Huntingtons disease is an inherited, progressively degenerative neurological disorder resulting in impairment of mental capability and physical control.
Over a period of 10-30 years, the sufferers ability to think, speak and walk is gradually diminished. Presently there is no effective cure.
Historically, people with Huntingtons have been placed in residential services that were not appropriate for their needs, Ms Dyson says. This dedicated centre is overdue.
Because of the nature of the condition, it is important that the service can support residents at any stage of the disease. This facility offers both on site care when it is needed, but more importantly it gives residents the freedom to live as independently as they feel comfortable.
The purpose-built facility is named Amaryllis House, after the amaryllis flower, the international symbol of the Huntingtons Disease Association.
Funded by the Ministry of Health, the house was completed in partnership with NZCare Group and the Huntingtons Disease Association.
Amaryllis House contains three apartments and can house up to 12 people.
On site staff will provide around the clock care as well as a respite service.
The apartment concept allows residents to participate fully in the community and have their friends and family visit.
A temporary service has been operational in Upper Hutt since last year, and its staff and residents will now move to Amaryllis House.
The Huntingtons Disease Association is a small committee which cares for those with the disease and its members provided crucial input into the sites development.
Beryl Wright, one of the co-founders of the association, attended the opening and is pleased the facility is now operational. Both her husband and daughter lost their lives to Huntingtons and her son is currently battling the disease.
To finally achieve a dedicated residential care centre is cause for much celebration, for both those who help create it and for those whose home it will become, she says.