Each year over 4,000 people in Ireland develop dementia – that’s over 11 people every day. Behind the numbers there are mothers, fathers, brothers, sisters, husbands, wives, neighbours and friends. All are living with a brain condition that deeply affects their lives and the lives of people who care for them.
Fear and stigma surround dementia, resulting in unnecessary loneliness and isolation for people living with dementia and their families. It can also result in delays in seeking help and diagnosis with people missing out on available supports and services as a result. These services and supports can allow people to live well with dementia for many years whilst maintaining their dignity and quality of life.
Understand Together aims to weave a connecting thread through all the vital and committed local services that are already in place in Ireland, making them stronger and easier to find and understand. The campaign will use the increased awareness it generates to inspire new groups, organisations and communities to think about ways in which they can contribute to building an Ireland that better supports those living with dementia and their families.
Understand Together will highlight the people behind the statistics and show that through understanding we can fight the stigma and fear that surrounds dementia. The campaign will also raise awareness and increase people’s understanding of dementia as a brain disease, not simply part of getting older. It will increase public knowledge about the signs and symptoms and the things that individuals can do to help reduce their risk of developing dementia.
Understand Together aims to show that by standing together we can help build a movement to forge inclusive communities for people with dementia, carers, families and friends. It aims to encourage individuals, businesses and other organisations to take small practical steps to help build compassionate communities that provide vital social support to those experiencing dementia. It will build upon what we have in place, creating a national movement harnessing Ireland’s strong sense of community and kinship to improve the lives of those touched by dementia.