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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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CHAPTER 8 Conclusions and future directions

Extract

As I write this final chapter, I am conscious that we are in the middle of a world pandemic of a magnitude never witnessed before, well certainly not in my lifetime. To date Covid-19 has taken its toll on many thousands of human lives around the world, especially in countries like China, Iran, Italy, Spain, France, the UK and more recently the USA and Brazil. Many of those most severely affected by the virus are older people and front-line health and social care staff. Amongst older people, a sizeable proportion are frail men and women living in nursing homes, many of whom have dementia and are unable to communicate their fears, needs, desires, loneliness and possible sense of abandonment. During a pandemic crisis of this magnitude, older people with dementia are extremely vulnerable: many will not have had the opportunity to see their spouses, children and other loved ones for long periods, nor understand the gravity of the pandemic and the need for social distancing and self-isolation. The human impact of this pandemic is huge and its economic and social impact will also be very profound. Therefore, I am writing this chapter conscious that we are approaching extremely challenging times where resources will be more scarce than ever before.

As several of the chapters in this book have shown, much has happened in Ireland over the last decade on the ageing and dementia front. Significant advances have occurred in policy, research and practice. As shown in Chapter 1,...

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