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Helen Rochford Brennan, Chairperson of the EWGPWD, writes about how she recently called upon the Irish government to “Deliver on Dementia”

Tuesday 17 March 2020

During the recent General Election in Ireland, The Alzheimer Society of Ireland (ASI) launched a huge campaign to demand that the new Irish government must finally deliver on promises to end the dementia crisis. Their campaign slogan read: “Deliver on Dementia - Time to End the Crisis”.

Showcasing the lived experience of people with dementia and their family carers was a central part of this campaign. The Irish Dementia Working Group (IDWG) and the Dementia Carers Campaign Network (DCCN) were key to the success of encouraging members of the public to engage with the campaign.  Everyone worked hard to also ensure that all election candidates heard the clear message that is was finally time to end the crisis.

As an advocate, I was proud to support the work of The Alzheimer Society of Ireland to raise public awareness of the campaign on a national and local level. I spoke openly about my own personal challenges of living with dementia. I also spoke about my life experiences as a carer for my husband Sean, who lives with a number of chronic illnesses. I receive no dementia services and Sean receives only three hours a week.

I took part in videos, national print/online articles and national/local radio interviews to highlight the current crisis in dementia care. I also highlighted the need for progress on the National Dementia Strategy which needs to be fully implemented to improve the quality of life of all people living with dementia in Ireland.

I was delighted that many of my colleagues in the IDWG made videos to support the pre-election campaign and we had a huge impact. My online videos on The ASI’s Facebook page had over 2,500 views alone. I know my media work and that of my colleagues in the IDWG and DCCN during the Election campaign, made a real difference in conveying the real-life difficulties that people with dementia and their families are currently experiencing in Ireland.

To people living with dementia throughout Europe, I call upon you to speak up and have your voice heard while you can. Our politicians must hear our voice.