COUNCILLORS voted unanimously this evening for Council to build on Alzheimer’s Society work of creating Dementia Friendly Communities by hosting a ‘Dementia Friendly workshop’ which will increase the awareness and confidence of staff to better relate to, support and communicate with people with dementia to help tackle stigma, establish best practice and reduce barriers for our ageing population.
The Notice of Motion was proposed by Alderman William McCandless, seconded by Councillor Darryl Wilson.
Commenting shortly after the vote Councillor William McCandless said ;
“I fully appreciate that the Health Ministers focus is on Covid-19, nevertheless Dementia is a ticking time bomb for the NHS and this cruel disease has been on the increase for years. Whilst much of the focus of research and discussion centres on the challenge of finding cures for the different forms of dementia we appreciate this is a medium to long term project.
“We must place equal emphasis on the care which is provided to people with dementia and the support which is available to the families and carers. Dementia is an important issue at the end of life for a growing number of people in Northern Ireland.
“As dementia progresses sufferers will have increasing Health & Social care requirements, they will need greater help. With personal care along with specific Healthcare and Hospital-based services related to their dementia. The bottom line is we will not be able to meet the needs of the growing number of people with dementia, by continuing to provide care and support in the manner we do today. We must recognise that dementia is a terminal condition and sufferers have different needs and experiences to those with other terminal conditions.
“Our challenge is to ensure that sufferers are supported to live their lives as they wish for as long as they can.
“Northern Ireland’s unpaid carers are saving the economy £B’s per year and they are in serious need of respite care. They can be up for many hours during the night and they just have to cope with it and do their best.
“We are aware that we have a rapidly ageing population, the fastest rate of increase in the U.K. and a growing number of older carers. People with dementia are most happy when they live in their own homes for as long as possible. It is incumbent on us to lobby Stormont MLA’s to provide the necessary support for families to enable them to do this.
The motion read :
“that his Council notes that according to the London School of Economics there are currently over 22,000 people living with dementia in Northern Ireland, this figure is projected to nearly double to 42,800 by 2040 and the cost to the economy of dementia in 2040 will be over £1 billion. This Council calls on the Minister for Health to ensure a universal and comprehensive approach across all Health Trusts in Northern Ireland for people following a dementia diagnosis and urges his Department to #FixDementiaCare by reforming Adult Social Care funding to address the costs faced by the growing number of people with dementia and their families.
This Council will build on Alzheimer’s Society work of creating Dementia Friendly Communities by hosting a ‘Dementia Friendly workshop’ which will increase the awareness and confidence of our staff to better relate to, support and communicate with people with dementia to help tackle stigma, establish best practice and reduce barriers for our ageing population.”