WATCH: New ad campaign to increase understanding of dementia

Two people living with the condition have shared their experiences

WATCH: New ad campaign to increase understanding of dementia

Maureen O'Hara is seen in the new HSE advert | Image: YouTube/HSE Ireland

A new TV, radio and online advertising campaign is to increase understanding and support for people living with dementia.

It is part of the 'Dementia: Understand Together' initiative by the Department of Health.

It comes as new data shows only one-in four of us are confident that we understand dementia, and nearly half of us are unsure people could stay friends with someone with dementia.

The launch saw the unveiling of two new adverts telling the stories of Maureen O'Hara and Paddy Butler, both from Kilkenny, who have shared their experience of living with dementia for the campaign.

Health Minister Simon Harris said: "The Dementia: Understand Together campaign seeks to raise awareness, increase understanding, and address the loneliness often experienced by people living with dementia and their families.

"We want to open up conversations in homes, workplaces and communities across the country about dementia, increasing understanding and reducing the isolation that people with the condition frequently experience.

"It aims to show that people with dementia can be supported to live well, and that each of us can play our part by maintaining friendships and including people in our shared community life."

There are an estimated 55,000 people living with dementia in Ireland - and this number is expected to more than double to 113,000 by 2036.

Professor Brian Lawlor is a consultant psychiatrist and chair of the Dementia: Understand Together campaign.

He said: "Half a million people in Ireland have had a family member with dementia, yet we know that despite this widespread experience, only one in four of us is confident that we understand dementia.

"According to people living with dementia, fear and uncertainty often leads to friends, family and neighbours feeling awkward or embarrassed, so often they say and do nothing.

"It can leave people with dementia and their loved ones feeling alone. This stigma was reflected in our quantitative research, which shows that close on half of us are unsure we can stay close friends with someone with dementia."

 

For more information on the initiative, visit www.understandtogether.ie or freephone 1800-341-341