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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 are many people who have supported me while writing this book. Several are colleagues who have influenced me during the years I worked at St James’s hospital and at Trinity College Dublin, but there are also other more distant friends and colleagues, who in the past have patiently mentored me. In this context I want to thank Professor Margaret Shapiro at the University of Queensland in Australia. It is difficult to overstate the influence Margaret has had on my career and life.

More locally a number of friends and colleagues have read and provided helpful feedback on different chapters of this book and for this I am most grateful. They include Professor Eamon O’Shea, Dr Maria Pierce, Dr Sarah Donnelly, Dr Niamh Hennelly, Dr Ana Diaz-Ponce, Dr Tony Foley, Dr Dianne Gove and Professor Steve Zarit. Your insights have greatly enriched these chapters. In recent years, I have been privileged to get to know Professor Steve Sabat and I am grateful to Steve for the significant guidance he has given me on topics of mutual concern. Daphne Stevenson and Suzy Cox are both very close friends and social work colleagues of mine. They have tirelessly read and edited each and every chapter of this book and have provided me with their rich insights. I cannot thank either of them enough for their kind support and for always keeping me on track.

A big thank you to Kathy Ryan whose powerful chapter based on...

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