PKF Kerikeri

How to Throw your Accountant out of a Plane

This month we have talked a lot on social media about balance. As busy business owners, we tend to prioritize getting that last task done, working that extra Saturday or checking those emails after the kids have gone to bed. Like all working parents, I find it hard to find quality time with family.

I’m fairly sure my Grandmother has dementia. I’m not sure if there’s been a diagnosis and I probably shouldn’t be ‘self-diagnosing’ but after learning more about what it is, a lot more is making sense. To be honest, before I agreed to support Alzheimer’s Northland, I had no understanding of what dementia was. I remember Gran as every grandchild fondly remembers a grandparent – a larger than life, fun and strong woman who always had a secret stash of biscuits. A confidante when life (Mum and Dad) wasn’t playing to my rules.

I remember being spoilt with fresh, hot pikelets smothered in butter and jam and was shocked to learn that these actually came from a packet mix. I don’t know if they always had or it simply became a convenience later in life. As time passed, and her health and mental wellbeing deteriorated I was happy to excuse this to simply “old age”. But now when I see her once or twice a year (which I know nearly isn’t enough) she no longer lives up to the image I will always have in my mind. My heart wrenches at wondering how much worse she will be. She doesn’t even remember my husband or my kid’s names anymore. It’s a terribly sad thought to wonder how much of her wonderful, memorable life is lost.

Dementia is an umbrella term used to describe a group of symptoms that affect how well our brains work. The most common form is Alzheimer’s disease– which around two-thirds of people with dementia have. Would you be surprised to know that none of the ways to reduce risk involve sending those last emails? Quite the opposite. Being physically active, engaging your brain in different activities, following a healthy diet, enjoying social activities and looking after your heart are all key ways to reduce your risk of dementia.

What if I told you that, according to the 2015 World Alzheimer Report, the number of people with dementia worldwide will nearly double every 20 years? The report also confirms Alzheimers NZ’s estimate that the number of New Zealanders with dementia will nearly treble to over 150,000 by 2050. The total financial cost of dementia on the health system in 2011 was estimated at $954.8 million.

The number of people in New Zealand with Dementia has grown rapidly. Over the last five years, Alzheimers Northland has seen an 85% increase in the number of clients. Not all of their vital services are funded formally, and have only seen a 1% increase in their funding. Regardless, they deliver some exceptional help not only to the person affected, but their spouses, and family as well. When Alzheimer’s Northland pitched their “Dare-to-Dive” program – where local business could get involved in raising funds. I jumped at the opportunity – literally.

If we can raise over $600 before mid-July, the awesome team at Skydive Bay of Islands have agreed to throw me out of a plane. That’s 20 seconds of freefall. So – as you are finishing your GST returns today – consider it motivation to help throw your accountant out of a plane. Help us make a difference in our local community. Click below to donate!