Number of calls to the Alzheimer helpline rises 20pc
The Alzheimer Society of Ireland's (ASI) national helpline saw a 20pc increase in calls last year - their busiest ever on record.
New data shows the number of calls from people with early-stage dementia more than doubled in 2014.
The organisation said that more than 65pc of calls came from people concerned for a parent, while 17pc of calls were from people whose spouse or partner had the disease.
Some 6pc of calls were in relation to people with dementia under the age of 65.
Of the 48,000 living with the illness in Ireland, it's estimated that 4,000 are under this age.
There was a 22pc increase on 2013 on the number of people concerned about their own cognitive health. However, more than 45pc of these callers revealed they had not yet spoken to a doctor about their concerns.
Helpline manager Samantha Taylor said the main goal of the helpline is to place the person with dementia at the "centre of everything".
She added she was happy to see that more people were contacting the helpline on behalf of their loved ones.
Female callers made up 77pc of all enquires last year, supporting recent research released by Alzheimer Research UK.
The study published earlier this week shows women are far more likely to "bear the brunt" of the illness.
It's estimated that women are 2.5 times more likely to look after a loved one suffering from dementia, while they are also more likely to develop the disorder themselves.
In Ireland, 30,359 women are living with the disease compared with 17,385 men, leaving experts to warn that dementia is leaving women "marginalised both as carers and later as patients".
Ms Taylor went on to stress the importance of the helpline, stating it is a "vital resource" in empowering people with the illness.
"The number of people diagnosed with dementia is expected to treble by 2041," she said, adding "it's vital to keep this service going".
"We would appeal to anyone who has concerns about dementia, either for themselves or for a loved one, to call our helpline. Don't wait, just make that call."
The Alzheimer Society of Ireland National Helpline is open six days a week, Monday to Friday, from 10am-5pm and Saturday 10am-4pm on 1800 341 341.