Priority Action: Care
We need to support people to maintain, improve or manage their health so that they can live independently for as long as possible. As people age, the likelihood of acquiring a disability increases (36% over 65s). We need to prevent and reduce disability as people age through the implementation of policies to reduce risk and support carers.
We need to recognize and support the role of carers. Caring is an undervalued profession. Carers need to be trained and well paid. We need specially trained carers for people with neurodegenerative diseases and neurological conditions so that functioning can be optimised. We need to support informal carers (e.g. pay them, facilitate career breaks but only to those who attend formal training) and we need services to support and optimise carer health).
Providing care for a loved one can be both rewarding and challenging. The informal care provided by family members is an invaluable resource that can lead to better health outcomes and quality of life. We need to ensure family carers are not financially burdened as a result of their caring role and we need to ensure that those caring for people with neurological conditions are properly trained and supported.
- resource and ring-fence funding for a renewed National Carers’ Strategy setting out a clear updated action plan for 2016-2020
- remove the ‘women in the home’ clause from the constitution to incorporate a broader definition of the caring role to include men and dependents other than children
In December 2014 the Department of Health published Ireland’s first National Dementia Strategy (NDS). The plan was long-awaited and much welcomed by those of us working in the sphere. Given my own research in dementia prevention, my work raising awareness of brain health and dementia risk and my work addressing the stigma I particularly welcome the priority actions around improving understanding and awareness, training and education and research. I commit to monitoring the implementation of these actions, informed by ongoing work being carried out by the Alzheimer’s Society of Ireland of Ireland (ASI)
People with dementia have the right to health and social care services provided by professionals and staff who have had appropriate training on dementia and human rights to ensure the highest quality of service.
People with disabilities and people with intellectual disabilities (IDs) should be named specifically in all strategy and policy documents. Exclusion from policy will likely lead to the exclusion of people with disabilities and people with ID, from policy implementation.
People with Down Syndrome and other IDs are living longer than before. In the 1930s average life expectancy of Down Syndrome was 9, at the time of writing individuals are living to their 50s, 60s and 70s. Unfortunately some can develop serious medical conditions such as dementia much earlier and in higher proportions than the general population.
Sustainability of and successful ageing in a community setting, requires action to reduce barriers to participation that persist for people with ID and to ensure the required services and supports are in place for the individuals themselves and also for those providing care.
There is a real need to foster inter and intra-departmental links, for example between older people services and disability services to address the ongoing issue of who has responsibility for people who age with a disability.