Former All Black Carl Hayman Sees Light In The Darkness Of Dementia

Published: Wed 22 Jun 2022 06:03 AM
Former All Black Carl Hayman has spoken publicly for the first time since revealing last year he is living with early onset dementia.
Hayman was speaking on TVNZ’s Seven Sharp as part of a dementia awareness event, ‘A Light in the Darkness’, designed to show all those who live with dementia, and all those who care for them, that they are not forgotten about.
The 42 year old father of four children who played 46 tests for the All Blacks between 2001 and 2007 says he was prepared to live with a sore knee or sore back for the rest of his days after rugby, but to have a medical specialist tell him he had dementia is something he never thought he would need to deal with.
“I’ve got various symptoms from changes in mood, to forgetfulness to constant headaches. It was pretty much zapping the life out of me really,” says Hayman.
“It's been incredibly tough, but it’s a matter of accepting that my brain energy is half full compared to other people, so I need to be careful about what I use that energy on. I need to plan my day, not take too much on and have little achievable goals for the day.
“Having that understanding and the tools to help deal with things, has really given me hope to move forward, in terms of having a productive future.”
Dementia Auckland CEO, Martin Bremner, is incredibly grateful for the courage and sincerity displayed by Hayman.
“Our goal is to bring the same level of awareness and acceptance to dementia that John Kirwan has done for mental health in recent years, and Carl has taken a massive first step in helping us achieve that.
“We couldn’t be more appreciative of the incredibly selfless and courageous way Carl has acted, and we know that what he has done will have an extremely positive impact on people living with dementia in our communities.”
Bremner says Dementia is like a lockdown that never ends for those who live with it.
“That’s why we wanted to be that ‘light in the darkness’ to show and send a message of hope to them all.”
Dementia is now the third largest cause of death in New Zealand and by 2050 it is anticipated that one in four New Zealanders will die with the dementia condition.
Hayman was on hand at Auckland’s Bayswater Marina last night to flick the switch on a powerful spotlight that shone a vertical shaft of teal light 1,000 feet into New Zealand’s longest, darkest night sky on the winter solstice.
‘A Light in the Darkness’ is a powerful visual initiative that we are delighted to be involved in to grow the engagement and understanding of how dementia impacts – and will impact - so many New Zealanders,” says Bremner.
“Funding for Dementia support services in New Zealand is at a critical level and we don’t want to be in a situation of having to cut back on the support we offer those in need. So if anyone is able to assist please visit our Dementia Auckland website”NZ Dementia stats projected by 2050:Dementia will cost New Zealand nearly $6 billion every yearThe number of Kiwis living with dementia will grow from 70,000 to 170,000The number of Europeans living with dementia in Aotearoa NZ is projected to almost double from 60,500 to 106,500Dementia (mate wareware) among Māori will almost triple (4300 to 12,030) and increase significantly among the Pasifika (1930 to 5450) and Asian populations (4800 to 17,990).

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