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Raising Dementia Awareness

Resource type: News

Irish Times | [ View Original Source (opens in new window) ]

By Claire O’Connell

Dr Kate Irving, Elevator project lead, Prof Brian MacCraith, President of DCU and and Kathleen Lynch TD at the Dementia Elevator launch.

An initiative is “walking the lives” of people with dementia to assess their needs and to increase public awareness of how to support people in the community with dementia and memory problems.

The three-year Elevator project aims to deliver training to 7,500 people working with the public and to develop courses for healthcare specialists and carers, according to project co-ordinator Dr Kate Irving, lecturer in mental health nursing at Dublin City University’s school of nursing and human sciences.

“We are looking to work with key organisations to improve services for and care of people with dementia,” she said.

The €2.7 million project, funded through the HSE and Atlantic Philanthropies, is initially carrying out a needs analysis that puts the person with dementia at the centre.

“We are walking the lives of three people with mild-to-moderate dementia and finding out where they go shopping, where they go for fun, where they seek help if they are sick, and their pathway through hospital care.

“We are asking everyone . . . what they would like to know [about supporting a person with dementia].”

Situations could arise, for example, where a person becomes confused while shopping, or goes to the post office to collect their pension, not realising they had picked it up already, she said.

“We want to create an environment that can help the person. That could mean bringing them to a quieter space, paraphrasing what they have said back to them, and helping that person to lift the fog in their thinking.”

The Elevator project plans to develop specialist education up to Masters level for people who care for people with dementia.

Learn More

> Visit the Dementia Elevator website

> Listen to a RTÉ Radio interview with Dr. Kate Irving of Dementia Elevator 

Dublin City University is an Atlantic grantee.