ALZHEIMER: Society of Ireland hosts celebratory AlzTalks in Cork Arts Theatre

2 October 2017
By Bryan Smyth

The Alzheimer Society of Ireland (ASI) hosted a celebratory AlzTalks event which featured people living with dementia, carers and musicians at the Cork Arts Theatre, Carroll’s Quay, Shandon, Cork last Wednesday, September 27th from 6.30pm-9.00pm.

Lord mayor Cllr Tony Fitzgerald with committee members, Joan Toomey Michael Higgins, Sean Toomey, Helen Rochford-Brennan, Cathrine Kennedy, Sean Donal O’Shea and Jonathan Hinchliffe. Photo Billy macGill.
Catherine Kennedy from Nenagh speaking at the ‘Alz Talk’Photo Billy macGill.
John Spillane performing at the ‘Alz Talk’. Photo Billy macGill.
Laura Elizabeth Hughes performing at the ‘Alz Talk’. Photo Billy macGill.

The eclectic event – which featured the legendary John Spillane – was aimed at shattering the stigma and misconceptions that often surround dementia. People with dementia and carers presented to a live audience and spoke about their personal experience of the condition alongside musical acts. These videos will be available on our AlzTalks YouTube channel shortly after the event.

Other musical acts for the AlzTalks event included The Lee Valley String Band, opera singer Amanda Neri and singer-songwriter Laura Elizabeth Hughes. Dementia advocates Sean Toomey (Cork), Helen Rochford Brennan (Sligo), Sean Donal O’Shea (Kerry), Catherine Kennedy (Tipperary) and Michael Higgins (Cork) offered their personal insights on dementia.

The MC for the evening was Cork native and RTE presenter Sinead Kennedy and the Lord Mayor of Cork, Cllr Tony Fitzgerald, also delivered the opening remarks.

The first AlzTalks event was held in the Sugar Club in Dublin last October and included actor Rory Cowan and musicians such as Brian Deady, and Emcee Sile Seoige.

All of the video presentations from the night will be available on our AlzTalk YouTube channel shortly in the coming weeks.

The ASI raised awareness and challenged the stigma that often surrounds dementia during World Alzheimer’s Month in September. World Alzheimer’s Month is the international campaign which aims to raise awareness of dementia and World Alzheimer’s Day is held on September 21st each year.

During the month, the ASI looked at themes such as breaking down the stigma and negativity that often surrounds dementia; how people can do well and live well with dementia; and how the majority of people with dementia want to live in their own homes.

The Alzheimer Society of Ireland Head of Advocacy & Public Affairs, Tina Leonard said:

“We were very excited to host this live event and bring a subject, which is not spoken about, into the public domain. The spoken presentations were filmed to make a series of videos which add even more content to our AlzTalks YouTube channel. This channel was created to focus on our key goal of bringing dementia out of the shadows and enabling the many different voices of dementia to be heard all over the world.

“Our hope is this will provide a platform to allow awareness building and perception changing of the illness, given that lack of understanding and stigma is still rife. Having people speak about their own lives and experiences creates a better understanding of the unique experiences of people living with this challenging condition.”

Catherine Kennedy from Nenagh and Sinead Kennedy from Inniscarra and RTE. Photo Billy macGill

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