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There is a part for everyone to play in Understand Together. Only by working together can we build inclusive communities for people with dementia, carers, families and friends. Just imagine how wonderful that would be.

We encourage everyone to take small practical steps to help. This includes individual people, communities and neighbourhoods, local shops and service providers, businesses and other organisations. Together we can build compassionate communities and provide vital social support to people experiencing dementia.

In doing this we are building upon initiatives which are already happening. This is a national movement using our strong sense of community to improve the lives of everyone touched by dementia.

How can you help people with dementia and their families?

1. Get Informed

In Ireland today 1 in every 2 people knows someone with dementia, but only 1 in every 4 of us feels we know much about dementia. We also know that many people are afraid or a little embarrassed to offer to help, or fearful that they might be intruding.  

People who have dementia and their family members often say that they feel lonely or isolated from their circle of friends and family. If we all learn a bit more about dementia, it would make us more confident about visiting and keeping in touch.

Life doesn't end when dementia begins, and people can live well at home for a long time, especially if they have a good support network. Perhaps you can be part of that network.

2. Keep in Touch

A social life is very important for anyone wanting to live well with dementia. You could help someone a lot by taking some small, but important steps. If you know someone with dementia, saying hello, stopping for a chat regularly, calling in for a cup of tea, or arranging to go for a walk or to a match could be very welcome. It could be someone close to you, a neighbour that you see from time to time, or maybe a member of your GAA or golf club.

These actions might appear insignificant and sound normal to many people. However, we know that with dementia, simple contacts like these can slip away. Your small decision to keep in touch might change someone’s day for the better and help them stay well.

3. Care for Carers

Over 180,000 people in Ireland are caring for or have cared for, someone with dementia. Their experience can be both very rewarding, and very difficult.  You can help carers you know just by understanding more and asking them how they are. You can help them by calling and visiting. 

Acknowledgement: this video was provided by The Alzheimer's Society of Ireland

Another way to help is by offering to give them a break from their routine. People have told us that even being able to take half an hour to themselves would often be a welcome gesture.  You could invite your friend or neighbour with dementia for a short walk, a shopping trip, or call over to play cards, watch a film or listen to some music. If you do this at a regular or planned time, it could allow a carer to take a break, catch up on sleep or shopping, or maybe even meet a friend for coffee.

4. Join the Irish Dementia Working Group and the Dementia Carers Campaign Network

The Alzheimer Society of Ireland facilitates and supports the Dementia Carers Campaign Network, an advocacy group for those who have experience caring for a loved one with dementia. The Dementia Carers Campaign Network aims to represent, raise awareness and campaign for the distinct needs of people who care for someone with dementia. 

The Alzheimer Society of Ireland established the Irish Dementia Working Group, which aims to ensure that the voice of people with dementia is heard and plays a part in influencing public policy that impacts on their lives.

To join the Dementia Carers Campaign Network or the Irish Dementia Working Group email advocacy@alzheimer.ie.

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