Service gaps must be addressed in National Dementia Strategy

alzheimers-cheque

– West has the highest prevalence of dementia in the country –

Fianna Fáil TD for Mayo Lisa Chambers is calling on the Health Minister to ensure that current gaps in the National Dementia Strategy are addressed as part of the mid-term review process, which is due to be published before the end of the year.

The Castlebar Deputy wants to see the findings of this review utilised to develop a revised dementia plan, which can give priority to social and community approaches to the condition.

Deputy Chambers recently held a coffee morning for Western Alzheimers last week, raising almost €900 for this extremely important community based organisation.

“Dementia and Alzheimers are deeply distressing conditions, not only for those with the condition, but also for their families, many of whom end up caring for their loved ones. These conditions pose huge challenges for our health service, which relies heavily on volunteer and charity organisations like Western Alzheimers for respite and support services”, explained Deputy Chambers.

“Unfortunately the Western region has the highest prevalence of dementia in the country, with an estimated 1% of the population here living with the condition. What’s more worrying is the fact that the number of people with dementia is expected to double in the next 20 years, and treble within the next 35. This will put a massive strain on our already overburdened health service, and we need to start planning for these demographic increases now.

“The National Dementia Strategy is a welcome move and Fianna Fáil is committed to its full implementation. However, the mid-term review, which is due to be published before the end of this year is a good time to assess how it is working and make changes to the plan, so that it moves with the times. The needs of younger people must be addressed and we must look at a more community based approach to the condition.

“I look forward to examining the recommendations of the mid-term review, and working with the HSE and Alzheimers and dementia groups to ensure that we develop the current strategy so that it works for those who need these services”.