In an Oireachtas debate this week on Dementia and Brain Health, Fianna Fáil Senator Fiona O’Loughlin has called for action to reduce the prevalence of dementia in our society.
Senator O’Loughlin is chair of the all-party committee on dementia and this week organised a debate in the Oireacthas with the Minister for Older People, Mary Butler TD. The debate was attended by the Project DEMENTIA RIGHT Erasmus group, made up of practitioners from Turkey, Spain, Portugal and Greece and lead by St Josephs, Shankhill who are developing a rights-based approach to dementia.
Senator O’Loughlin said, “It may be a surprise to many that, according to the WHO, up to 40% of dementia cases are potentially preventable if we work to support and maintain our brain health. We can all take action to protect our brain health. Dementia has become much less taboo thankfully in recent years, which is very important in terms of early intervention.
“We have now become a dementia friendly society, and that is clear from the work the Minister of State has done and from the commitments she achieved in budget 2022. I pay tribute to her for the clear focus in last September’s budget for this year on enhancing community-based services to enable older people to continue living in their homes with dignity and independence for as long as possible.
“There is no doubt that we can reduce the prevalence of dementia in our society, but we must act now. I am confident that the Minister of State will be the Minister who makes the difference. I am proud of what we, the Fianna Fáil Party, have already achieved through her and the Minister, Deputy Stephen Donnelly, in Government in terms of delivering the enhanced memory technology resource rooms on nine sites, dementia diagnostic services delivered through a specialist regional memory clinic in Cork, four new memory assessment and support services in Mayo, Wexford, Waterford and Sligo, and the enhancement of acute care pathways for people with dementia through the recruitment of more clinical nurse specialists.”