New Guide on Dementia Care Launched in Trinity College Dublin

Posted on: 20 June 2012

Practical Guide Disseminates Key Findings of Dementia Research Report

A new guide on dementia care in Ireland written for the general public, including those diagnosed with dementia, their family caregivers and those experiencing the symptoms of dementia but who have not yet been formally diagnosed was launched by the Minister with responsibility for Disability, Older People, Equality and Mental Health, Kathleen Lynch in Trinity College Dublin today (19th June).

The Guide, the first of its type in Ireland, was developed todisseminate to the public, and in lay man’s terms, the key findings contained in a report entitled Creating Excellence in Dementia Care: A Research Review to inform Ireland’s National Dementia Strategy.  This report was the outcome of a research review commissioned and undertaken to provide the evidence base for Ireland’s forthcoming National Dementia Strategy.

Authors: Professor Suzanne Cahill, Dr Maria Pierce, TCD, Professor Eamon O’Shea, NUIG, with Vice-Provost/CAO, Prof  Linda Hogan and Minister Kathleen Lynch

The new Guide entitled Future Dementia Care in Ireland: Sharing the Evidence to Mobilise Action, like the review, is the result of a joint collaboration between Principal Investigators (Associate Professor Suzanne Cahill and Professor Eamon O’Shea) and researchers (Dr Maria Pierce) at the Living with Dementia programme, Trinity College Dublin, and the Irish Centre for Social Gerontology (ICSG), NUI Galway. The research work was funded by The Atlantic Philanthropies and supported by the Department of Health.

“The publication of this Guide for the general public is a concrete example of Trinity College Dublin’s mission of making research accessible in a very tangible manner and promoting the public good. This Guide offers a clear example of the way in which Trinity, in collaboration with other Institutes, is translating research into a format that is easily accessible or comprehensive to those most affected by a societal issue, in this case Alzheimer’s disease and the related dementias”, commented Trinity Associate Professor Suzanne Cahill.

It sets out in plain English the key facts about dementia in Ireland and internationally; the key findings emerging from the recent dementia research review, including new estimates on prevalence and costs of dementia; what other countries are doing to plan for dementia; potential core elements for inclusion in the forthcoming National Dementia Strategy for Ireland; and the next steps for public policy on dementia.

“With Ireland’s increasing ageing population and parallel increase in numbers of people likely to have dementia there will be significant economic, social and psychological costs for Irish society. Given the Irish Government’s commitment to develop a National Dementia Strategy by 2013, it is now time to seize this opportunity to carefully plan effective person-centred dementia care service to develop and expand services for all those affected by the illness with a view to improving quality of life,” continued NUI Galway’s Professor Eamon O’Shea.

Key points on dementia in Ireland today: 

  • There are some 42,000 people living with dementia with around 3,500 of this total aged under 65 years
  • Over the age of 65 the prevalence of dementia nearly doubles every five years
  •  The number of Irish people with dementia is expected to increase to between 141,000 – 147,000 by 2041
  • The overall cost of dementia in Ireland is estimated to be just over €1.69 billion pa
  • For every one person diagnosed with dementia, three other family members will be significantly affected
  • There is an estimated 50,000 family carers looking after someone with dementia
  • Currently there is no cure for dementia and people can live a long time after diagnosis

About the authors

Associate Professor Suzanne Cahill is Director of Dementia Services Information and Development Centre’s Living with Dementia research programme, School of Social Work and Social Policy, Trinity College Dublin and is a Principal Investigator of the research.

Professor Eamon O’Shea is Personal Professor, Department of Economics, National University of Ireland, Galway, based at the Irish Centre for Social Gerontology in NUIG, and is a co-Principal Investigator of the research.

Dr. Maria Pierce is Research Fellow at DSIDC’s Living with Dementia research programme, School of Social Work and Social Policy, Trinity College Dublin.