It is estimated that there are currently 41,000 people with dementia in Ireland and Alzheimer’s Disease accounts for the majority of cases. Given that the number of people with dementia is expected to rise to between 141,000 and 147,000 by 2041, the Programme for Government contains a commitment to develop a National Alzheimer’s and other Dementias' Strategy by 2013 to; increase awareness; ensure early diagnosis and intervention, and ensure development of enhanced community based services. A significant amount of preparatory work has already been completed.
A research review funded by the Atlantic Philanthropies to lay the foundations for the Strategy, titled Creating Excellence in Dementia Care, A Research Review for Ireland’s National Dementia Strategy was published in January 2012. A public consultation process to inform the development of the Strategy was conducted in 2012 and a report of same published on the Department’s website in February 2013. A Working Group, representative of key stakeholders from the Department, the HSE, the medical profession and the community and voluntary sector has been established, the first meeting of which took place in May. While the development of the Strategy will have to have due regard to the constraints imposed by the budgetary situation, it is intended that it will be a transformative Strategy. It will have a very practical focus, will be action oriented and will focus on what can be done to make a difference to the lives of people with dementia. It is intended that a draft of the Strategy will be completed by the end of 2013.