Health

Saturday 12 July 2014

Dementia a 'ticking timebomb' for Ireland

See Joyce Fegan alzheimers copy
Denise Monagan and Seamus Cunningham
Denise Monagan and Seamus Cunningham

IRELAND faces a ticking timebomb when it comes to dealing with cases of dementia, with the numbers expected to soar as the population ages.

By 2041, 147,000 people will be living with dementia, the umbrella term for a range of illnesses that cause damage to brain cells.

At the moment, 41,700 people are living with the condition in Ireland, with 4,000 of these under the age of 65. Alzheimer's disease accounts for over 50pc of all cases of dementia.

"Alzheimer's is the most significant public health issue facing Ireland today," Samantha Taylor, of the Alzheimer Society of Ireland, told the Irish Independent.

There are 50,000 family carers looking after someone with dementia.

"It's a life-changing diagnosis for the person and their family," said Ms Taylor.

Denise Monahan's father, Seamus Cunningham (75), was diagnosed with Alzheimer's in October 2012.

The worst part for Ms Monahan, her mother and her six brothers is that they no longer "feature on Seamus's radar".

Her father had been incredibly loving and caring, and also very funny, but that's all gone, Ms Monahan told the Irish Independent.

THE ALZHEIMER'S SOCIETY HELPLINE NUMBER IS 1800 341 341

Irish Independent

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