Fine Gael MEP for Dublin, Brian Hayes, has today (Tuesday) called for the establishment of a community based Dementia Friendly Community in the Capital. There are seven communities involved in such initiative nationwide (Co Wicklow, Co Donegal, Galway city, Ballina/Killaloe in Co Clare, Mallow in Co Cork, Callan in Co Kilkenny and Cavan town) but none in Dublin. Brian Hayes made the call in to raise awareness about the challenges faced by those living with dementia and to fight the stigma associated with dementia and Alzheimers.
“12,498 people with dementia live in Dublin- a number set to treble in a generation. Like all of us, people living with dementia want to socialise, shop and use local facilities. In reality they often avoid these activities because of a fear of how people will react to their condition, or their ability to cope. We need to build awareness and understanding of dementia at every level of society and create communities where a diagnosis of dementia no longer means social isolation.”
“A pioneering project is underway in Wicklow called Dementia Friendly Communities project. A series of informative workshops, delivered across the county aimed at educating retailers about the provision of an understanding service to people living with dementia, has greatly enhanced the shopping experience for people with dementia in Wicklow. Because of their Dementia Friendly Communities project Wicklow is fast becoming a dementia-friendly place. Dublin, and the 12,498 people living with dementia in our county, really needs an initiative like this.”
“There are some very simple but extremely effective things retailers and business owners can do, such as bringing a person living with dementia to a quiet place to speak, make sure you have a seat available to customers, not fussing if a person get confused, giving time to think and not offering too many choices.”
“I was delighted to see the Government bring forward the National Dementia Strategy in December last year. But you cannot legislate for inclusion and fighting stigma. Local communities have a role to play.”
“A Dublin based Community initiative, involving local chambers of commerce, councils and community groups should aim to increase awareness of dementia. Simply said a community based scheme could help neighbours, friends, everyday service providers as well as health and social care workers, support people with dementia to live well for as long as possible.”