Over the past 6 months the Engagement and Participation Officer (EPO) for Northern Ireland has been working closely with the Alzheimer’s Society of Ireland in regards to the creation of an NI Dementia Working Group as a pilot scheme within the Society. The Alzheimer’s Society of Ireland (ASI) have successfully supported and developed the Irish Dementia Working Group for the past 3yrs.
The Irish Dementia Working Group is a national advocacy group which has been involved in developing and influencing work since February 2013. The working group is resourced and supported by the Advocacy and Public Affairs team at The Alzheimer Society of Ireland. The purpose of the working group is to explore ways to promote and encourage the direct involvement of people with dementia in the work of the organisation and to ensure that the voice of people with dementia influences the public policy that impacts on their lives.
The main aims of the Working Group are to:
- Ensure that the voice of people with dementia influences policy.
- Support discussion and debate around important issues for people living with dementia.
- Promote the direct involvement of people living with dementia in decisions and developments pertaining to them.
- Facilitating mutual peer support, enabling group members in maintaining social circles and hobbies.
The working group has been involved in a wide range of activities and influencing work, including:
Actively influencing the development of the National Dementia Strategy in Ireland, ensuring that the voice of the person with dementia is central within policy developments.
- Using various media, such as videos, radio and press to influence opinions and policy and to raise awareness.
- Participation in research and consultations for a range of academic and government agencies.
- Drafting guidelines for the homes of people who live with dementia, offering experiences and challenges of living with dementia, as well as how people with dementia can overcome these challenges.
At this time the EPO for Northern Ireland is recruiting members who have shown an interest in being involved in the regional working group with a view to the initial meeting taking place in August 2016.
Carers are welcomed to attend and be involved in the working group with a view to a separate NI Carers Campaign Network being established further down the line.
If you are interested in finding out more about the working group please contact Beverley.Savage@alzheimers.org.uk.