The Government is being told to focus more urgent attention on the growing number of people with Alzheimer's disease.
A new report says the total cost of the condition to Australasia has increased 40 percent over the past five years, higher than the global average of 35 percent.
Alzheimer's New Zealand director Catherine Hall says there needs to be more help.
"It has a much bigger impact on the person's ability to look after themselves and on their need for care and support than really any other chronic condition," she told RadioLIVE.
The report states 150,000 New Zealanders will be diagnosed with dementia by 2050. Currently that figure stands at around 60,000.
Ms Hall says Alzheimer's is one of today's leading healthcare challenges, but isn't being taken seriously.
"What we would like to see here in New Zealand is priority given to developing a national plan, which is something that 21 other countries around the world have done."
Worldwide there are an estimated 46.8 million people with Alzheimer's, which is expected to cost more than US$1 trillion by the end of the decade.