Bluebird Care launch Understand, Respect and Respond with Care – Dementia Awareness Talks

Bluebird Care, today launched Understand, Respect and Respond with Care, a national roadshow of community talks to raise awareness of dementia in support of the HSE’s Dementia: Understand Together campaign.

There are 500,000 people in Ireland whose families have been affected by dementia – an estimated 55,000 people are living with the condition with an additional 4,000 new cases developed each year. Bluebird Care’s Understand, Respect and Respond with Care national awareness roadshow aims to provide people with the understanding necessary to become a community that supports people with dementia both in and outside of the home.

Minister of State at the Department of Health with special responsibility for Mental Health and Older People, Jim Daly TD, said, “Dementia is a part of life for people all over Ireland. As a society, we have a duty to support those who develop dementia and their families as much as possible. We know that people with dementia can, with the right supports, continue to live well and participate in their communities for a long time. Creating informed, empathetic and supportive communities help people with dementia to retain their personhood and place in society, and I commend Bluebird Care, Kevin Quaid from the Irish Dementia Working Group and the Dementia: Understand Together campaign for bringing this message through the national roadshow.”

Speaking at the launch, Managing Director of Bluebird Care Ireland, Brian MacGoey, commented, “In Ireland one in two people know someone who has dementia. People who have had a diagnosis of dementia can live active and meaningful lives in the community and it’s important to learn how best to support these individuals and their families. The Bluebird Care campaign is called Understand, Respect and Respond with care. Our aim is to raise public awareness and give people the skills and additional knowledge to respond appropriately to people and their families with a diagnosis of dementia.

As a national homecare provider we are delighted to be in a position to lead on this initiative and to support the great work that the Dementia: Understand Together campaign is doing in this area.”.

“Bluebird Care is committed to providing quality care in the home, and for this reason we have incorporated the Dementia: Understand Together training and educational modules into our quality health and social care training programmes. All our staff will have undergone this additional training by year-end, ensuring Bluebird Care is always person-centred in its approach to care in the home.”

Kevin Quaid, member of the Irish Dementia Working Group and campaign partner said; “The word dementia has a huge stigma attached to it. Many families are either ashamed or embarrassed by a loved one who has dementia. I have chosen to be open about my diagnosis and I hope that openness will help other families. I am delighted to be an Ambassador for the Bluebird Care initiative because talking about dementia is so important.

“If we as people who have dementia know that our town or village is able to support us, then we will feel safe and not afraid to ask for help. For me one of my biggest fears is fear itself, but when I am in a place or with people who know me and know about me, then I don’t feel fearful, I feel safe. I hope that this initiative from Bluebird Care will help people all over the country learn more about the condition.”

The free community awareness talks are aimed at individuals with dementia, care givers, health professionals and the wider public. The talks will be hosted across each of Bluebird Care’s 26 offices nationwide over a two-week period from April 24th to May 14th.

People are invited to register for their local talks at https://bluebirdcare.ie/dementia-talk-dates/

The roadshow is supported by the Dementia: Understand Together campaign, which is led by the HSE in partnership with the Alzheimer’s Society of Ireland and Genio. The campaign aims to create an Ireland that embraces and includes people with dementia, and which displays solidarity with them and their families. For more information on the Dementia: Understand Together campaign, visit www.understandtogether.ie or Freephone 1800 341 341. If interested in getting involved in the campaign, or becoming a Community Champion in your area, please contact Fiona Foley, National Co-ordinator, Dementia: Understand Together in Communities, by email at fiona.foley1@hse.ie

L-R: Sarah O’Riordan (Director Bluebird Care Cork), Kevin Quaid (Irish Dementia Working Group), Don O’Riordan (Director Bluebird Care Cork)