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Want to know more about dementia

The Presentation De La Salle Collegein Bagenalstownis the venue for a dementia awareness community meeting being organised as part of the ongoing Dementia: Understand Togetherinitiative to create better understanding and awareness about the condition.

The meeting, which takes place on Wednesday March 21st at 7pm, is being offered as a free session to the local and surrounding communities and to businesses in the area, and people are most welcome to come along on the evening – there is no need to register in advance.

The gathering will be hosted by Nurses Mary Hickey and Joan McDonald who both work with people living with dementia at the Kilkenny Memory Clinic based in St Columba’s Hospital, Thomastown. They are passionate about inspiring people in the local community to help support those living with dementia and their families.

Approximately 4,000 people, or an average of 11 people every day, develop dementia in Ireland each year. Indeed, there are over half a million people who have had a family member with dementia, yet research shows that many of us do not fully understand the condition. This lack of understanding can result in friends and neighbours feeling awkward or embarrassed when someone they know is diagnosed with dementia, so often they say and do nothing. It can leave people with dementia and their loved ones feeling alone and isolated within their communities.

Dementia is caused by a number of diseases that damage the nerve cells in the brain. Common symptoms may include difficulties with thinking and language, problem-solving and carrying out everyday tasks, as well as issues with memory loss and changes in mood and behaviour.

For Nurse Joan McDonald, the aim of the community meeting is to provide people and businesses with a greater insight into dementia:
“We know that there are about 55,000 people living with dementia in Ireland right now. This community meeting is about providing people with a better awareness of dementia, the different types, the signs and symptoms, the supports available, and how as a community there are things that we can do in business and home-life to make life better for family,  friends and neighbours living with dementia.”

The Dementia: Understand Togethercampaign is led by the HSE in partnership with the Alzheimer Society of Ireland and Genio. The campaign website offers a comprehensive information resource on dementia, including a service-finder detailing county-by-county the dementia supports and services available. It also offers a range of training resources for carers, and for businesses and organisations in the retail, transport, public and financial sectors. Support packs, including posters, leaflets and badges, can be ordered also. Simply visit www.understandtogether.ieor Freephone 1800 341 341.

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