A new innovative project designed to provide better quality care for those with dementia was launched today in Stillorgan by Tánaiste Eamon Gilmore T.D. The Living Well with Dementia (LWwD) project will cater for a population of 41,848 in south Dublin, an area with the highest national urban prevalence of dementia (1.19%) in the country.
Genio is driving the process in collaboration with the Department of Health and with the support of the Atlantic Philanthropies and the HSE who are jointly funding the €4.3m cost of the four projects.
The aim of the project, is to divert people with dementia away from institutional care. The project will pilot new ways of caring for people with dementia in the community. If successful the methods used could be introduced across the country, providing a better quality of life for those with dementia while making substantial savings for the exchequer.
The project in south Dublin is one of four pilot projects being introduced in four different geographical areas that will work with Genio’s support to develop and evaluate community based services to people with dementia over the next three and a half years. It will be led by Ms Eilis Hession, HSE Manager for Older Person’s Services.
Launching the project in Stillorgan today, Tánaiste Eamon Gilmore T.D. said “This community based project builds on the foundations of support provided by family, neighbours, and community groups. Promoting measures that enable older people to live at home and in their communities for as long as possible is at the heart of Government Policy. Above all, providing the right support to allow people with dementia live their lives with dignity, must be central to our approach.”
Also speaking at the launch today was the Founding Director of Genio Ms Madeleine Clarke who said “Many Irish people with dementia are in group residential care and it is hoped that the outcome of these pilot programmes will see those numbers reduce. We hope that the outcomes will help to inform public policy and future investment in the area and will ultimately drive permanent change in the way we support those with dementia. This project is combining philanthropic and State investment with the aim of bringing about permanent improvement in services affecting many thousands of people.”
Speaking about the project Ms Eilis Hession, HSE Manager for Older Persons Services said “Our aim is to ensure people with dementia and their carers live in a community which can provide them with the supports they need. Health service providers, medical professionals, neighbours, families and community groups will all be working together to maximise the opportunities for independent living offered to people with dementia.”
The main features of this project are:
- A community hub for information and activities
- A co-ordinator who will manage the project
- Opportunities for respite for carers
- The use of modern assistive technology to help people with dementia manage their day to day lives
- Public awareness, training and information
Genio is working to refocus services to put the person who needs them at the centre of their design and delivery. So far Genio has supported innovative projects that positively impact on the lives of people with disabilities and mental health issues in Ireland. Now Genio is extending its focus to include people with dementia.
There are over 40,000 people with dementia in Ireland, 14,000 of whom are in residential care. According to Ms Clarke, “We are delighted to have been able to facilitate this joint effort between philanthropy and government to bring about lasting change in this area.”