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Perspectives on the Person with Dementia and Family Caregiving in Ireland

Suzanne Cahill

This book is all about dementia in Ireland and what has and has not been happening in a country where dementia has been a taboo topic for so long. In particular it examines the dementia landscape since late 2014, following the launch of Ireland’s first National Dementia Strategy. A lot has happened in Ireland since that time but a lot more needs to happen for people to live well with dementia and have their human rights upheld. There are an estimated 55,000 Irish people living with dementia and these figures are set to triple by 2050. Although topics explored in the book,such as obtaining a diagnosis, accessing home care services and moving from home into a nursing home relate to Ireland, they are discussed against the backdrop of policy, practice and research developments in dementia in other parts of the world. In this way the book provides the reader with a wealth of information including research evidence, best practice guidelines and international expertise. The book has been dedicated to Mnánah Éireann, in recognition of the hard physical and emotional work, caregivers,mostly women do behind closed doors. Throughout the book, an appeal is made for more state support to be given to these formal and informal caregivers.

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Interest and awareness in dementia in Ireland is high, partly due to the Understand Together Awareness campaign led by the HSE – a programme broadcast on the airwaves and designed to increase understanding, but also because more and more people are affected by dementia either through a family member, friend or work colleague who has been diagnosed. People are finally talking about Alzheimer’s disease, and dementia has finally come out of the closet, so to speak.

Despite this heightened awareness many myths still prevail. Some people think that dementia is a normal part of ageing. Many have a huge fear of dementia and believe that a diagnosis is a death sentence. Others think that there is no point in obtaining a diagnosis given that there is no cure for dementia, and several believe that only older people get dementia. In this book Professor Suzanne Cahill attempts to challenge several of these myths by shedding new light on the evidence.

One of the features that make the book appealing is the author’s detailed attention to the politics of dementia care and to how these politics have helped to shape the life of the person diagnosed. Throughout the book, the history of how dementia, a condition once neglected and under-resourced in Ireland, finally started to receive political and budgetary attention, is told in a factual, easy-to-absorb way. In this way, it is the only book I know of its kind that brings together in one volume much...

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