Exploring dementia issues

22.12.2017 | Social Witness, Public Affairs

A roundtable discussion on dementia, involving a number of people involved in caring and advocating for those with the condition, has taken place in Assembly Buildings in Belfast.

Organised by the Presbyterian Church in Ireland (PCI), the group discussed various issues, including ways to increase support for people with dementia and carers, funding for service providers and how to make the church more dementia-friendly.

In June 2017, PCI’s General Assembly noted the rise in the number of residents with dementia in the Church’s care homes and those of other service providers. The General Assembly instructed its Council for Social Witness and Council for Public Affairs to pursue the matter of adequate funding and resources with government.

Lindsay Conway, director and secretary to the Council for Social Witness, said, “Approximately 20,000 people in Northern Ireland and 55,000 in the Republic of Ireland are living with dementia, and these numbers are expected to increase significantly in the years ahead unless there is greater focus on prevention.

“As a Church we have taken a number of steps to help those with dementia and their carers, including the creation of dementia gardens, adapting the interiors of our homes and training all our staff in dementia care.

“It is clear, however, that we can and must do more to support people with dementia and their carers, and we look forward to building on the connections we have made today with other organisations as we look at how the church can become more dementia-friendly.

“The continuing absence of an Executive in Northern Ireland obviously presents challenges in terms of key decisions that need to be taken on funding and other issues. However, we are determined to work in partnership with others to raise awareness of dementia and to make sure that it is on the political agenda.”

Photos (1) Discussing dementia (2) those taking part in the roundtable discussion were (left to right) Very Rev. Dr. Norman Hamilton, convener Council for Public Affairs, Linda Wray, PCI's Residential and Supported Services Manager, Rev. John Seawright convener PCI's Older People's Services Committee, Gavin Norris, PCI Public Affairs Officer, Rosemary Gibney, Michelle McMillen, Lorna Conn, Dementia Together NI, David Hooks, Barry Smith, Alzheimers Society, Lindsay Conway, director and secretary to the Council for Social Witness, Norma Picking, manager of PCI's residential  care home Adelaid House

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