Press Release

Minister Helen McEntee attends the Annual Kilkenny Age Friendly Seniors’ Forum

Minister for Mental Health and Older People, Helen McEntee TD, today attended the Annual Kilkenny Age Friendly Seniors’ Forum at which she launched the findings of the Memory Matters Project. The Age Friendly Cities and Counties (AFCC) programme is managed by Age Friendly Ireland. The Programme aims to encourage communities to support and enable people to age actively by developing policies, services and structures which recognise that older people have a wide range of capabilities and resources.

The Memory Matters Project is a two-year community- based project for Carlow and Kilkenny which is co-funded by Genio Trust, a Philantrophic organisation, which supports social change and projects in the area of dementia and mental health. The project, which is an initiative by Kilkenny Age Friendly County Programme, commenced in mid 2014 and concluded in Autumn 2016. The main objective of the research project was to design and test new ways to support those living with dementia to remain at home in their own communities.
Speaking at the Forum, the Minister said: ‘I am delighted to be here today for the Annual Kilkenny Age Friendly Seniors’ Forum, and also be involved in the launch of the findings of the “Memory Matters” project. Growing old should never be considered as a burden on society, as the knowledge, experience and skill sets acquired over a lifetime are invaluable. The vital importance of issues identified and decisions made at local level cannot be understated, and the work of the Age Friendly Ireland programme is. Older people are clearly the best experts on the issues that will make Ireland a better place in which to grow old.

Dementia prevalence is set to increase in line with our ageing population, underscoring the need for us as a nation to acknowledge and understand the condition and its impact on individuals and society as a whole. The challenge facing us is to support those who develop dementias and their families as much as we can. The main focus of the Memory Matters project here in Carlow/Kilkenny was to test new ways of supporting those living with dementia to establish what works well and what a truly “person-centred service” would look like for people living with dementia and their families. The project believes that in order to support the individual, support is needed for the person, their family, carers and the community in which they live.

Memory Matters looked at ways in which services are delivered, especially Home Help services, with the intention of ensuring that all those who support the person to remain in the community – their family members, Home Helps and Public Health Nurses, their day care centres, meals on wheels team, their neighbours and all those who impact on the quality of their lives – will see the “me in deMEntia.”