Understand Respect and Respond. Dementia Awareness Talks Oct/Nov 2019

Bluebird Care Ireland are running a second national roadshow of free dementia talks in support of the HSE Dementia: Understand Together campaign following the overwhelming success of the first phase of talks during March and April this year.

During March and April this year 21 talks were held around the country with over 500 people attending nationwide. The main objective of the talks being to empower people through the provision of the skills and knowledge to effectively support a person with Dementia

We had the honour of having Kevin Quaid from the Irish Dementia Working Group and the Dementia Understand Together campaign as our ambassador and we are privileged that Kevin and his wife Helena will be working with us again sharing their very personal story of living with the condition as well as the challenges of caring for and supporting a person with a Dementia Diagnosis.

Kevin Quaid, Assistant Chair 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.

Bluebird Care carried out a survey of attendees to get their feedback on the initial roadshow to see had we met their expectations and also how we could improve for any future talks. We would like to take this opportunity to thank those individuals that filled out the survey for their time as their feedback was invaluable.

With over 97% of those that completed the survey saying they would recommend the talk to a friend, family member or colleague this was a key driver behind setting up a second phase of Dementia talks.  We could clearly see that there was a need for continuing the conversation about Dementia across the country.

What was also really important for us was to make sure that those attending were walking away with real and practical information they could bring back to their homes and communities and apply in their day to day lives.  The key messages attendees came away with included the following:

  1. Dementia is a social issue not just immediate family issue, community awareness is important to support individuals and families
  2. Positive person centred communication is key – see the person not the dementia
  3. Include the individual in decision making where possible
  4. A person with Dementia can have a good quality of life with the appropriate care and support
  5. There is extensive support and help available both nationally and locally

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 provides people with the understanding necessary to build  a community that supports people with dementia both in and outside of the home.

The free community awareness talks are aimed at persons with dementia, care givers, health professionals and the wider public. The talks will be hosted by Bluebird Care offices nationwide between the 10th of October and the 14th of November.

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