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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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There were several reasons behind why I wrote this book. The first is that for years, dementia and especially Alzheimer’s disease have been taboo topics in Ireland. Dementia was largely invisible in the health and social care system and hidden from most people. In short dementia was seldom talked about and rarely diagnosed. Then in 2016, the HSE launched a public awareness campaign on dementia. This campaign probably helped many family members open up a conversation about an illness once feared and often associated with guilt, shame and embarrassment. It also created a need for more information on a topic about which no comprehensive Irish book was available. Hence the rationale behind writing this book.

The second reason, which stems from the first, was my hope to bring together in one corpus the wealth of knowledge about dementia that has accumulated in Ireland over a number of decades. For at many levels and in recent times, this new knowledge has been somewhat explosive. It has also been accompanied by a change in public discourse, with a richness in thinking and insights, often led by people who themselves are living with dementia. I wanted to dig deep, collate and analyse information and make it accessible to all those affected by dementia at the coalface. I also wanted to make it accessible to the public and to all those that are very hard working in the field of dementia care in Ireland.

The third reason relates...

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