A woman from County Wexford is at the forefront of trying to create a dementia inclusive generation across the country.
Cathryn O’Leary, from Clonee, Camolin, is the National Community Engagement Manager of the Alzheimer Society of Ireland (ASI), and was involved in recognising the success of the ASI’s ‘Creating a Dementia Inclusive Generation' Transition Year programme at Our Lady’s Hospice (OLH), Harold’s Cross Dublin.
The event featured a number of guest speakers including Minister of State for Mental Health and Older People, Mary Butler TD, Director of The Dementia Services Information and Development Centre (DSIDC), Matthew Gibb, and past programme participants.
An innovative post-primary school programme, CDIG is aimed at educating young people about dementia and the impact it has, not only on the person living with condition but also its impact on their extended family and carers.
Over 2,400 students in 50 schools, in 17 counties nationwide, have engaged with the programme since its launch in 2022, including seven schools in Ms O’Leary’s home county.
Speaking about the initiative, Ms O’Leary said: “The ASI is very excited to celebrate the success of this programme. The energy and enthusiasm for the programme are palpable.”
She said young people are eager to learn and with a growing number of people being diagnosed with dementia each year, it’s more important than ever that young people are taught how to cope when someone they know and love receives a dementia diagnosis.
“We’re thrilled with the response we have received so far; we encourage any school interested in the programme to contact us,” she said.
The Transition Year programme was created with the Dementia Services Information and Development Centre (DSIDC) at St James’ Hospital Dublin.
The project is an official Challenge Partner with An Gaisce The President’s Award, which includes the added opportunity for Gaisce participants to fulfil challenge area requirements. The programme was sponsored by Arthur Cox.
An e-learning programme it contains five modules of self-directed learning on the Moodle platform, including: Growing Older; The Brain; Brain Health; What is Dementia? and Perceptions of Dementia.
Ms O’Leary said all the modules help and facilitate knowledge, discussion, awareness and caring for those with dementia and older people in general.
Anyone interested in the programme can find out more at http://ow.ly/1mCy50NhG8E or by contacting email@example.com.