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Mayor supports calls for better care for Dementia sufferers

22 September 2020

Mayor of Derry City and Strabane District, Councillor Brian Tierney, today pledged his support for the campaign to raise awareness of the condition during World Alzheimer's Day.

The Guildhall and the Council Offices in Strand Road will be illuminated in blue this evening to shine a light on the condition which affects over 22,000 people and their families throughout N. Ireland.

The Mayor met with the NI Alzheimer's Society this morning in the Guildhall to discuss growing concerns around quality of care, and the fact that the condition has been linked to a significant number of Covid-19 deaths.

Speaking after the meeting, Cllr Tierney said he was extremely concerned that those living with Dementia were particularly vulnerable to the illness, and stressed that more must be done to protect not only those with the condition, but also their families and carers.

"Dementia is a condition which is becoming more and more prevalent in our community, and particularly during the Coronavirus pandemic, we are all too aware of the terrible toll Covid-19 has taken on residents of our care homes, many of whom are Dementia sufferers," he declared.

"I want to voice my support today for the campaign to allow designated family carers the same access to coronavirus testing and personal protective equipment as key frontline workers so they can continue their essential role in supporting their loved ones.

"I am deeply concerned that some of the most vulnerable members of our society living with Dementia are increasingly at risk as we see a significant rise in the number Covid cases within our community.

"I want to acknowledge the work of NI Alzheimer's Society and other local Dementia charities who are lobbying our politicians and health agencies to raise awareness of this growing risk and the urgent need to put in place sufficient measures to safeguard those who are entirely dependent on their families and carers.

"Dementia is a condition that is affecting a growing number of families, and I would encourage everyone to support this campaign if they can and help fund additional research into this debilitating condition."

The issue of providing better care for Dementia sufferers was also raised by campaigners today in the NI Assembly in a motion stressing the importance of early diagnosis, effective community and home-based support, as well as high-quality inpatient and residential care which enables people to live well with the condition.

Campaigners also highlighted the need to transform public understanding and ending stigma about dementia to ensure local services and activities are more accessible, and everyday life made easier and more enjoyable for those affected.