The Irish National Dementia Strategy was today launched by Ireland’s government to prioritise care, accelerate diagnosis and increase resources available for sufferers within their communities.
The country’s Health Service Executive will contribute €15.5 million with a combined investment from Chuck Feeney’s Atlantic Philanthropies allocating a further €12m for the cause.
The Strategy sets out a number of principles to underpin the provision of care and supports for people with dementia including:
- taking account of dementia in the development and implementation of existing and future health policies;
- encouraging the participation of people with dementia in society and in their own communities as fully as possible for as long as possible;
- the prioritisation of end-of-life care in an appropriate setting for those with dementia;
- appropriate training and supervision for all those caring for or providing services to people with dementia;
- directing resources to provide the best possible outcome for those with dementia, and for their families and carers.
Speaking at the launch Enda Kenny said, “As Taoiseach, I am determined that dementia, or indeed old age, should not rob people of what is so valuable to them: their choice and their control over their lives, their privacy and their dignity.
“We want to increase awareness of dementia in the community so that we can act faster and smarter to ensure early diagnosis, treatment and that all-important support, particularly with community-based services.”
Chuck Feeney, an Irish American from New Jersey, founded Atlantic Philanthropies in 1982. the foundation has since made grants totalling over $6.5 billion US dollars and focuses on promoting education, health, peace, reconciliation and human dignity in Ireland, the US, Australia, South Africa, Bermuda and Vietnam.
In the mid-1980s, Chuck quietly transferred virtually all of his assets to foundation and for the first half of its history its grant making was done anonymously. Feeney is known for his frugality and owns neither a home nor car and wears a $15 watch.
Minister for Primary and Social Care Kathleen Lynch said: “The very mention of dementia can cause fear and confusion for everyone with those affected not knowing where to turn. Those who come into contact with a person living with dementia are often similarly confused.
“Reducing this confusion, correcting misinformation and misunderstandings, and focussing on what is possible at every stage of the condition, instead of what is not, are all important parts of what this Strategy is about. The generous support of Atlantic Philanthropies will allow us to implement critical actions far quicker than would otherwise have been possible.”
The strategy is scheduled to run from now until 2017. It is estimated that 41,700 people suffer with some form of dementia in Ireland.