People affected by dementia, their families, local business and crucial frontline services came together at The Marshes shopping centre tin a successful attempt to raise people’s knowledge of the condition here in Louth.
And the bid to make Louth Ireland’s first dementia-friendly county is now firmly under way.
The Dementia Roadshow was a one-day event aimed at removing stigmas in the community and elevating people’s knowledge of the condition – and such was its success that an annual day is now on the cards.
The free Roadshow, hosted by Louth Age Friendly County and the Dementia Elevator Programme, featured information on training and awareness programmes, local resources and vital support initiatives for carers.
There was also interactive workshops and highly-informative presentations by the Elevator Team and special guests.
Mary Deery, Louth Age Friendly County Coordinator, said that the Roadshow was an ideal opportunity for people with dementia, their families, carers and the wider community such as businesses to unite to increase their knowledge of the condition.
“Many people with a diagnosis of dementia continue to be able to manage their lives independently or with some degree of support,” said Mary.
“The Dementia Roadshow showed how we could develop better individual, community and business awareness and understanding of how dementia might affect someone so we can become less fearful and more supportive.
“The Roadshow showcased local projects and supports and put people in touch with vital points of help and information that will make their lives easier.
“A series of training programmes have also been developed for public facing workers such as people working in banks, post offices, trains, buses, and shops, with Bank of Ireland, for example, now committing to train all of their staff in Louth and Meath in dementia awareness.
“All of this will combine to work towards making Louth Ireland’s first official dementia-friendly county, following on from the success of the Age Friendly County programme.”
Dementia Elevator is an education and empowerment programme to help individuals, communities and health systems engage with and support people with dementia.
It aims to give people skills they need to support ageing in place for people with dementia and challenge the way society thinks about the condition.
It also provides opportunities for people with dementia to move up to the next level of education and skill.
Approximately 48,000 people are currently living with dementia in Ireland – most continuing to live in their communities, often supported by family and friends.
“Dementia is a complex and challenging condition that affects a person’s daily life in many ways – impacting on memory, the ability to process information, solve problems and communicate,” said Patricia McPartland of Dementia Elevator.
“Dementia Elevator (dementiaelevator.ie) is aimed at removing stigmas surrounding dementia in our society, which have negative consequences for people living with it.
“There continue to be many myths and misunderstandings about the condition with the focus remaining on what people cannot do rather than on what they can do.
“Many of the ideas we have about dementia are tied up with the most advanced symptoms of the condition and don’t accurately reflect what it’s like to live with dementia most of the time.”