AN increasing demand for homecare was highlighted at a recent meeting in Newbridge to raise awareness of dementia.
The public meeting was organised by TD Fiona O’Loughlin and the Alzheimer’s Society of Ireland(ASI). They organised for a panel of experts to outline current services available to those suffering with dementia, their families and those caring for them.
Huge number sturned out and there was standing room only at the meeting. Mary Bardin and Mary Bolger from ASI gave an overview of services and also spoke on dementia specific homecare. They both paid tribute to the homecare teams in Kildare who do such amazing work and often in difficult circumstances.
Anne Kearney from HSE presented the systems for applying for nursing home care and long term care. Anne answered many questions on the Fair Deal Scheme and it was evident that there is huge desire for this scheme to be rolled out to assist persons suffering with dementia to remain in their own homes for as long as possible.
Deputy O’ Loughlin highlighted a Bill brought forward by her party, the Nursing Home Support Scheme (Amendment) Bill 2014. The purpose of this Bill is to allow for the provision of a home care package to a person who qualifies for and is being offered long-term residential care.
Martina Foster from Monasterevin, whose father Peter is suffering from Alzheimer’s and attends the day care service at Moore Abbey, spoke beautifully and from the heart as she outlined how important the service is for her father and her family. Martina gave a wonderful insight as to how normal life goes on around her father in their loving home, but also how necessary the support is from both HSE and ASI.
Anne Harris from SAGE, an advisory service for elderly persons, spoke of the services they provide and gave some examples of activities in Kildare which have proved extremely helpful to those suffering with Alzheimer’s such as the Naas Alzheimer’s Café and also a choir which was formed and has become hugely popular.
The last speaker of the evening was Barry McCormack, Newbridge based solicitor who outlined the nuances of power of attorney and related matters. Barry took many questions from the floor and also gave advice on issues after the meeting also.
The 2011 census shows that 1500 people in Kildare are suffering with dementia. It is anticipated that this figure has grown considerably based on forecasts which predict the population of Ireland with dementia, of which Alzheimer’s disease is the most common form, will increase from an estimated 48,000 at present to around 140,000 by 2041.
“The Alzheimer’s Society of Ireland is a wonderful organisation that provide essential care, however they rely on the generosity of the public to be able to fund so many services,” said Deputy O’Loughlin.
“We are lucky in Kildare to have a very active branch who do so much work for so many. I will continue to work with the society to try and get services retained and upgraded.”