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Call for better funding for dementia projects

An Irish organisation serving the older community across London has backed The Irish Post’s call for better funding for culturally appropriate dementia services.

Ellen Halley, Director of Irish Community Services, claims the majority of their time is spent with older clients in the boroughs of Greenwich, Lewisham and Bexley and that NHS cash could further their successful projects already in operation.

“Our Carers Support Coordinator has more than 300 carers on her book and 100 of them are supporting people with some form of Dementia,” she said. “Her projects are really successful and luckily that post is funded by the Irish Government.

“Unfortunately it’s a difficult road trying to get any other funding at the moment.”

The organisation is aware of the recently launched NHS and Alzheimer’s Society’s £2million campaign to raise awareness of the brain disorder and claims the Irish could well use some of that cash to support their elderly. “The community is getting older and the cases of dementia we are seeing is increasing enormously,” Ms Halley said. “The majority of our time is spent with older clients and as time has gone on we are seeing more clients presenting with the onset of dementia.” She added: “One of the things we have noticed is the importance of having a culturally

sensitive project for the Irish community, as when dementia progresses people remember the past rather than the present. “So it’s often their culture and roots back home that they hold on to. Working with that allows them to keep their memories for longer and enjoy a better quality of life for that bit longer too.”

The organisation was involved in the Federation of Irish Societies’ research into the needs of the older Irish community regarding dementia services. Ms Halley said: “It’s great that the NHS has launched this campaign to tackle dementia, and we would absolutely call on them to use some of the fund to support what we do and move it on. “If we had more funding it would mean we work further across the Irish communities in our London boroughs and possibly have more facilitators to extend the good work we are already doing.”

See next week’s Irish Post for more news on the bid to secure better funding for the health needs of our elderly Irish community

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