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Taking a fresh look at dementia

Apr 12, 2018
Sonas apc will host an International Dementia Conference this month to review how Ireland is supporting the 55,000 people living with dementia in this country.

Over 40 global expert speakers gather in Dublin on 16th April as Sonas apc host
Ireland’s biggest dementia event to challenge how we support the 55k people in Ireland living with dementia

11 April 2018: Sonas apc will host an International Dementia Conference this month to review how Ireland is supporting the 55,000 people living with dementia in this country. Dr Suzanne Timmons, Consultant Geriatrician and Clinical Lead for the National Dementia Office, will deliver the keynote presentation and will reveal the unacceptably high and inappropriate usage of anti-psychotic medication with people with dementia in Ireland, and outline how the National Dementia Office plans to address this. The new National Dementia Office, of which she is Clinical Lead, is currently rolling out Ireland’s first National Dementia Strategy. 

Campaigner and advocate Helen Rochford-Brennan, who has a diagnosis of dementia, and is Chair of the European Working Group on Dementia, will officially launch the conference. Other speakers include Prof Chris Gastmans, Professor of Medical Ethics and Head, Centre for Biomedical Ethics and Law, Faculty of Medicine, University of Leuven who will talk about dignity-enhancing care for persons with dementia and Prof Steven Sabat, Professor Emeritus of Psychology, Georgetown University, USA who will outline the ‘I-Thou approach’ to dementia care.

The conference is run by Sonas apc, an award-winning non-profit dementia training organisation. The event’s main sponsor is Home Instead Senior Care. Spanning two days, the conference features a wide range of talks, workshops and masterclasses. The main conference day is on Monday 16th April, 2018, followed by a series of workshops on Tuesday 17th April, 2018.

From a talking robot to a virtual bus, presentations feature innovative projects and initiatives from Ireland and abroad. Debby Campbell, daughter of the late Glenn Campbell, will headline an evening concert of music and dance in the Helix on Monday April 16th. The Moments of Joy concert will feature Vintage Youth, Dance Theatre of Ireland’s seniors dance ensemble and the Forget-Me-Nots choir, a Dublin-based community choir that welcomes people with dementia, their families, and carers. The concert, which takes place from 6pm – 7pm, is supported by the Dementia Understand Together Campaign. Concert admission is free of charge for families affected by dementia. 

Announcing the Conference, Sinéad Grennan, Chief Executive of Sonas apc, said: “Dementia is a challenging, incurable condition. We are delighted to bring together experts from Ireland and abroad to challenge traditional concepts of dementia care and showcase innovative projects in Ireland. This event is a platform for learning and sharing creative ideas that support quality of life for people with dementia and their families nationwide. 

There are an estimated 55,000 people living with dementia in Ireland today and this number is expected to more than double to 140,000 by 2036. It’s important that communities become actively involved in supporting families affected by dementia. The objective of our annual Conference is to inform, educate and inspire carers of people with dementia with the latest international developments in dementia care, to raise public understanding of dementia, and to facilitate a sharing of best practice in Ireland.”

Speaking about the Conference, Ed Murphy, Director of Home Instead Senior Care, said: “Sonas apc’s work is vital; bringing much needed awareness and discussion around how we are dealing with dementia in Ireland and the impact of the condition. Home Instead Senior Care works to support its own carers, so they are educated and equipped to work effectively with people living with dementia and their families, and we are thrilled to support this important conference again this year.”

The School of Nursing and Human Sciences in Dublin City University is the event’s academic partner.