NUI Galway is recruiting the informal carers of people suffering from dementia for a study of the supports and services available to patients and their families after a recent diagnosis.
The study, the first of its kind in Ireland, is being carried out by a research team from NUIG’s Centre for Economic and Social Research on Dementia.
The period after a diagnosis of dementia can be a time of fear and uncertainty, not just for the person who’s life will be radically changed by this condition, but for those who find themselves unprepared for the responsibility of caring for a loved one.
The results of the study will be used to inform policy on what supports and services caregivers and patients need to plan for an uncertain future.
More than just taking the snapshot view of their lives, it will examine how these needs change over time as the condition progresses.
Dr. Patricia Carney, Health Economist at the Centre for Economic and Social Research and leader of the study warned that not supporting caregivers will have a serious impact on society.
“New investment in dementia care must reflect the preferences and needs of both the person with dementia and their informal carer.”
“Carers require more tangible and practical supports to allow them do the job that most love doing. The consequences of not supporting them will be significant for people with dementia and for society.”
The study will focus on recruiting carers from Donegal, where there are an estimated 2,200 people with dementia, the fifth highest rate in the country.
Only Galway, Cork, Tipperary, and Dublin have a higher prevalence rate in Ireland.
In order to take part, the person receiving care must have been diagnosed with dementia, or probable dementia, since January 2017.
Professor Eamon O’Shea, Director of the Centre for Economic and Social Research on Dementia said, “Carers play a crucial role in looking after people with dementia,”
“We need to know much more about their needs and preferences for different kinds of services and supports.”
Dementia is a blanket term covering a wide range of conditions that affect the brain, impairing people’s memory, language, and cognitive function.
According to the Alzheimer’s Society of Ireland there are 55,000 people in Ireland living with dementia, with another 4,000 diagnosed every year.
As our population continues to age, there are projected to be more than 132,000 people suffering from dementia by 2041.
This makes it absolutely essential that we understand and implement supports to help family and friends provide care for these people before the problem overwhelms us altogether.
To participate in the study visit: www.nuigalway.ie/dementiacare
If you wish to learn more about dementia, the support services available in your area or becoming a carer, please visit the Alzheimer’s Society of Ireland at http://alzheimer.ie/services-support.aspx or call the National Helpline on 1 800 341 341.