Ireland’s Dementia Village

Ireland Dementia Village
Pictured at The Alzheimer Society of Ireland’s (ASI) Pre Budget Submission 2015 are Helen Rochford-Brennan (left) from Sligo who has dementia, Dorothy Mooney from Dublin whose husband has dementia and Eamon O’Farrell whose mother has dementia. Photo: Mark Stedman/Photocall Ireland

Purpose-built community for memory loss sufferers to be built in Limerick after success in The Netherlands

Ireland is moving ever closer to following the Dutch model of adopting purpose-built villages for people diagnosed with dementia. Construction work has begun on the first of these villages in the town of Bruff, County Limerick.

It is based on a similarly designed community in De Hogeweyk in the Netherlands and will see 18 homes built together for those suffering from memory loss.

Each home will have its own living room, bedroom, bathroom and private garden and the village will include a cafe, beauty salon, gym and talking sheds in the hope of creating a relaxing environment for its residents.

The company behind the project, CareBright Community, which has offices in Limerick and Cork, said that its research shows that small scale household models have a positive impact on those living with dementia.

Ireland Dementia Village

“People living in this community will feel safe and included. It will be a place where they will flourish,” General Manager of Care- Bright, Collette Ryan, said. “Imagine having your own new home, where you will be surrounded by all the things you love and cherish, that favourite chair, family photos, music you love and enjoy, a comfy bed with no alarm clock buzzing at 6am.”

Family can stay too

She added that family and friends will be able to stay overnight with their loved ones in the purpose-built homes. There are currently more than 48,000 people diagnosed as living with dementia in Ireland. This is expected to rise to 141,000 by 2041.

Almost two-thirds of those under CareBright’s watch are living with dementia and, though a lot these can live productive, healthy lifestyles in their own homes, others are left facing the prospect of moving into a nursing home.

Ireland Dementia Village
Some funding came via businessman JP McManus. Photo Mark Stedman/RollingNews.ie

Majella Murphy, Business Development Manager at Care- Bright, explained how her company’s extensive research led to the concept of the Bruff project, as an alternative to an inevitable stay at a care home:

“We visited several sites in the UK and Holland and found the successful household model being used in Holland was similar to the vision we had in mind,” she said. CareBright said that this model – which “goes against routinised care and the development of institutionalised cultures” – will “change the face of dementia care in Ireland”.

Residents will be able to pay to make use of the village under the Fair Deal scheme.

The four-acre site will cost €5.5 million to build and has received funding from multiple donors including Limerick billionaire JP McManus.

Further fundraising is currently ongoing in order to complete the project’s construction phase.


Ireland Dementia Village

Memory loss event at Leeds Irish Centre

Meanwhile in Leeds Irish Centre there will be a special event dedicated to the importance of helping those in the Irish community who suffer from memory loss.

‘The Importance of being Irish’ – run by Leeds Irish Health and Homes – aims to highlight the amount of support these people need and wants to ensure that their voices are heard.

A series of guest speakers are attending the event, including Dr Mary Tilki, the founder of Cuimhné – Irish Memory Loss Alliance. She will share her expertise on the subject, while the Lord Mayor of Leeds, Councillor Gerry Harper, will talk about the role the Irish community plays in the city.

There are 7,031 Irish people in Leeds, of which more than 51 per cent are over 50 – the largest proportion of any ethnic group in the city.

Leeds Irish Health and Homes wants to help develop support services for those of that age who are struck by memory loss and hopes the event will provide some insight into how to achieve this. Any commissioners or providers of memory loss services, as well as anyone interested in the Irish community, are invited to attend to hear about the findings from the research.

The event will be held on Monday 26th September from 12.00-2.30pm in The O’Meara Lounge at the Leeds Irish Centre, York Road, Leeds, LS9 9NT

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