Development of a National Strategy on Dementia

Throughout our community we are caring for an older population with varying needs and conditions including Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias. These are progressive conditions that not only have a huge impact on the physical, psychological and emotional state of the person with dementia but also on their families and carers.

The Programme for Government commits to developing a National Strategy on Dementia by 2013 which will increase awareness, ensure early diagnosis and intervention, and enhance community based services for people living with this condition.

The first stage of the process was to assemble the research and evidence upon which the strategy will be developed. This was completed earlier this year and the report of the findings Creating Excellence in Dementia Care: a Research Review for Ireland’s National Dementia Strategy has been published. A guide for the general public, Future Dementia Care in Ireland: Sharing the Evidence to Mobilise Action has been compiled to disseminate the report’s findings and to give a better understanding of dementia. Both are available by clicking on the links below.

At present, it is estimated that there are over 41,000 people living in Ireland with dementia. The pressing need for a Strategy on Dementia is best understood in the context of projected increases in the number of people with this condition reaching between 141,000 and 147,000 by 2041. We need to plan for this increase and the resulting demands on our health services in the future. At the same time, it has to be acknowledged that the strategy is being developed at a time when there are considerable budgetary pressures on the health services.

Research Findings

The research review estimated the overall cost of dementia in Ireland to be just over €1.69 billion per annum. Almost half (48%) of these costs are borne by family and friends. A further 43% is accounted for by care in long-stay residential homes. This highlights the primary importance of the role that families and communities play in affecting the environment of care for people with dementia. The financial cost is however only one aspect of the overall costs – non-economic costs include the social, emotional and psychological strain the illness confers on people with dementia and their carers.

Among the key elements arising from the research which need to be considered in light of the strategy are:

  • Enhancing public awareness about dementia
  • Increasing the numbers of early diagnoses
  • Measures to improve quality of life and quality of care for those with dementia

These and other elements will be considered and will influence the development of the Strategy.

Public consultation

The Department is now seeking the views of interested parties, whether individuals or organisations, to help inform the development of the strategy. We would particularly like to hear the views of those directly affected by Alzheimer’s and other forms of dementia, including people who have been diagnosed with one of these conditions, and their families and carers.

You may participate in this important process by completing the attached questionnaire

National Strategy on Dementia Consultation Questions

Alternatively, you may make a submission by email to –

Or by post to –

National Strategy on Dementia
Department of Health,
Hawkins House– Room 2.04,
Dublin 2.

The closing date for receipt of submissions is Friday 31st August 2012.

Next steps

Following collation and analysis of the submissions received, a small working group will be established towards the end of this year to develop the National Strategy.