Dementia Is Ireland's Hidden Health Crisis; Make Alzheimer's Care Top Priority, Experts Urge
Byline: Leah McDonald
DEMENTIA is our hidden health crisis but Mary Harney's department has failed to respond adequately, experts have warned As Alzheimer Disease International reports on the alarming rise in the illness, there are long delays in diagnosis here.
The number with the disease is expected to rise from 44,000 to an astonishing 104,000 by 2036.
And the Alzheimer Society of Ireland has revealed that after symptoms first emerge, it can take a patient more than two years to be diagnosed.
This compares to just nine months in Germany.
Responding to the international report, the ASI called on the Government to take immediate action to make 'the hidden health crisis of dementia' a national priority.
It said calls to its helpline were 40 per cent higher last month than in August last year.
Society chief executive Maurice O'Connell said: 'We have seen a huge influx of concerned calls to our national helpline in the last quarter, demonstrating the lack of information and support available to people living with dementia just turned 80, supports the ASI although he has no direct connection with the illness.
'This report is a wake-up call that Ireland is woefully unprepared for the social and economic disruptions dementia will cause,' he said. 'It's a disease that affects at least one family on every street around the country, so the argument to support people living with dementia is not just an economic one but a moral one.'
There are almost 850 sufferers with urgent needs on the ASI's waiting list. …