Dementia is a progressive condition that largely affects older people, impacting on their memory, language, ability tocommunicate, mood and personality. The course of the illness may be gradual and sometimes subtle, as is classicallythe case in Alzheimer’s disease. While dementia is a medical condition, recent insights from the psychosocial, socio-political and public health perspectives have focused attention on the human, social and economic implications ofthe disease. The ageing of the population across Europe and beyond means that the number of people with dementiawill grow in future decades with consequent implications for care provision, care burden and public expenditure. It isno wonder, therefore, that many countries are already preparing for the projected rise in the number of people withdementia by putting in place dedicated action plans and/or dementia strategies.
The Irish government has given a commitment in the Programme of Government for 2011-2016 to develop andimplement a Strategy for Dementia for Ireland promising to:
develop a national Alzheimer’s and other dementias strategy by 2013 to increase awareness, ensure earlydiagnosis and intervention, and development of enhanced community based services. This strategy will be implemented over ?ve years.
The new Strategy has the potential to bring about a major change in public attitudes to dementia in Ireland and tochange expectations in regard to the rights of people with dementia. Through the Strategy it should be possible toformulate a plan that emphasises the importance of the person with dementia in decision-making and the role offamilies and local communities in supporting community-based preferences, wherever possible. It should be possibleto develop a plan that will dispel myths, shame and stigma surrounding dementia and enable people to live well withdementia, and promote their autonomy and well-being. It should be possible to develop a Strategy so that people candie in dignity with dementia assured that their complex needs are met by an educated workforce skilled in dementiacare and in gerontological nursing and palliative care.
SOURCE: Cahill, Suzanne; O’Shea,Eamon; Pierce, Maria. “Creating excellence in dementia care: a research review for Ireland’s National Dementia Strategy.” Deparment of Health (DoH), 2012.
The Brotherhood of St Laurence acknowledges and recognises the Traditional Owners of the land upon which we live and work, and we pay our respects to their Elders both past and present.
Produced by the librarians at the Brotherhood of St Laurence in Melbourne, Australia