Dundalk bids to be Ireland's first dementia friendly town

Dundalk bids to be Ireland's first dementia friendly town
By Ian Cameron ian.cameron@dundalkdemocrat.ie @IanAlexCameron

Dundalk will this week launch a bid to be named Ireland’s first dementia-friendly town.

Businesses and community groups will be coming together in a concerted attempt to raise people’s awareness of dementia up one level and provide a more accepting and understanding environment for those affected.

The announcement is being made to coincide with The Dementia Roadshow – a one-day free event for families, businesses, groups and people affected by dementia, aimed at elevating people’s knowledge of the condition.

And all businesses in the area are asked to send one representative each to the free Roadshow, which takes place on Tuesday September 27 between 10am-2pm at The Marshes Shopping Centre Dundalk.

Bank of Ireland have committed to training all staff in their 14 branches in Louth and Meath in the Dementia Elevator programme for financial services.

“Through this training programme, our staff members will be fully equipped with the knowledge and awareness to ensure customers with dementia, and their families, can feel secure and confident that their banking needs will be dealt with in a considerate and caring manner,” said Billy Kehoe, Manager of Bank of Ireland in Dundalk.

In the community sector, Cllr Liam Reilly will be training students in the Marist College based on his own personal journey with his father’s diagnosis of dementia.

Louth is already home to Ireland’s first multi award-winning Butterfly Dementia Care Centre at Moorehall Lodge Ardee, where ground-breaking advances have been made in providing person-friendly dementia care.

The Dementia Roadshow will feature information on training and awareness programmes, local resources and vital support initiatives for carers.

There will also be interactive workshops and highly-informative presentations by the Dementia Elevator Team and special guests based on specific business types with financial services (10-11am), retail services (11-12 noon) and transport services (12-1pm).

These will be specifically targeted at delivering concise pieces of information that can make businesses dementia friendly.

The roadshow is hosted by Louth Age Friendly County and the Dementia Elevator Programme – an education and empowerment programme to help individuals, communities and health systems engage with and support people with dementia.

“This is a vital day for anyone who is involved with, or affected by, dementia.

“There will be 30 local community and business exhibitors in the Mall of the Marshes exhibiting what we are doing locally,” said Mary Deery, Louth Age Friendly Co-ordinator.

“Dementia is becoming more and more prevalent and it is estimated that 11 people over the age of 65 are being diagnosed every day in Ireland.

“This will have a significant impact on communities and business in the coming years.

“What we in Louth, and Dementia Elevator, are aiming for is to make one little change in all our behaviour which will make a huge difference to the person with dementia and our communities.”

The Dementia Roadshow takes place at The Marshes Shopping Centre Dundalk on Tuesday September 27 (10-2). For more information, contact Mary Deery on 042 932 4389.