20,000 reasons to take action on dementia in Northern Ireland

3. New year, new challenges for people with dementia in Northern Ireland

Liz Cunningham

Liz Cunningham, seen here holding a giant version of our letter to the Minister for Health, has been on the front line of our 20,000 reasons campaign from the word ‘go’. Her story is on the cover of our campaign pamphlet. Her experience of being diagnosed with dementia at the age of 48 has inspired hundreds of supporters to join the campaign and to put their names on this letter to Minister for Health, Michelle O’Neill. The campaign calls for our five priorities for action on dementia to be reflected in the Programme for Government (PfG). 

Our five priorities for action include:

  • Increasing diagnosis rates to 75% across all Trusts.
  • Giving people access to a dementia support worker right from the point of diagnosis.
  • Compelling Health Trusts to commission quality care for people with dementia living at home.
  • Running a recurring public information campaign to raise awareness of dementia and encourage people who are worried about their memory to seek medical help early.
  • Finally, we’re bent on promoting dementia friendly communities throughout Northern Ireland, starting with the NI Assembly in the first year of the new term.

After almost 1,500 supporters backed our open letter, the Minister has agreed to meet Alzheimer’s Society to discuss our priorities for action on dementia and to take delivery of the letter. The delegation will include a person affected by dementia and we will be calling for the rights of everyone affected by the condition to be realised in provision of information and access to health and social care, increased public awareness and understanding of dementia and in promoting social inclusion.

Getting these rights reflected at the core of the PfG is the culmination of a year- long campaign which couldn’t have happened without our many supporters. The last stage, where we bound into Castle Buildings for our meeting with the Minister and wow her with our case for change, will take place on December 1st, so keep your eye on the campaign pages for further action and thanks for everything you have done to date.