26 April 2023
By Elaine Murphy
On April 20th, The Alzheimer Society of Ireland (The ASI) in Association with AIB Macroom hosted a Dementia Friendly Community Information evening in the Castle Hotel, Macroom, County Cork. People living with Dementia are among the most marginalised, socially excluded and highly stigmatised. To address the exclusion of People living with Dementia, a new initiative has emerged on the landscape in the form of Dementia Friendly Communities.
The evening encouraged businesses, community services along with People living with Dementia and their families in Macroom to create a more accessible environment for the area where People living with Dementia feel included and involved, and have choice and control over their day-to-day lives. The evening featured speakers such as The ASI Head of Operations, Siobhan O’Connor, The ASI Operations Project Manager, Donal Murphy, The ASI Dementia Adviser for West Cork, Vanessa Bradbury, and The Chair of the Irish Dementia Working Group (IDWG) Kevin Quaid.
The ASI spoke with the large attendance about how the community can work together to make the Macroom area a better place to live for People living with Dementia and their families. Taking action is the most important part of any Dementia Friendly Community and an initial action plan has been produced to identify what the priorities should be. We are delighted to also announce that 7 local people have agreed to be Leaders for the Macroom area. Along with support from The ASI, the Leaders will encourage the community to make progress and can coordinate the activities. The ASI was very pleased to see such robust support from attendees during the evening.
The Dementia Friendly Communities initiative contains various resources that will support organisations, businesses and communities to be more informed and enabled to support People living with Dementia and their loved ones to stay living well. It contains knowledge that provides a practical framework based on The ASI’s experiences in helping communities to work towards becoming more dementia friendly.
An estimated 7,509 people are living with dementia in Cork, and 63% of people with dementia live in the community in Ireland.
Speaking after the event, the Head of Operations at The ASI, Siobhan O’Connor, said: “I was thrilled to see such support throughout the evening. Evenings like this allow us to break down the stigma associated with talking about Dementia and allow us to take a greater step towards more dementia-inclusive communities in Ireland. I’d like to thank AIB Macroom, and everyone who attended tonight. You’re making such a difference in the lives of People of living with Dementia and their families. As a Macroom native, it brings me such pride to see my hometown embrace our mission.”
Vice-Chair of the Irish Dementia Working Group, Kevin Quaid, said: “I am delighted to be part of a campaign that makes communities dementia friendly and dementia inclusive, it is so important for People living with Dementia to know that they are safe and understood in their communities.”
People can learn more about The ASI’s Dementia Inclusive Community initiative at http://ow.ly/PMXC50NIepE.