Cuimhne (pronounced ‘queevna‘) is the Irish word for memory. We use the term ‘memory loss’ as it is more acceptable to members of the Irish community than the term ‘dementia’, which is stigmatized. We also believe using this term aims to recognise the uniqueness of each person and the differing ways in which people are affected by, and cope with, memory loss. Central to our plan is to support family carers as well as individuals who may have some form of memory loss.
As well as support from Cuimhne, anyone who is affected by memory loss can contact The Admiral Nursing Direct Helpline.
Leeds GATE is a member led community organisation aiming to improve quality of life for Gypsies & Travellers in Northern England. GATE have a guide called Dementia in Gypsies and Travellers: A brief guide for commissioners and providers.
Why do we need a memory loss strategy?
The 2011 Census identified the Irish as having the oldest aged profile than any other ethnic group in the UK. Out of 500,000 in the group, 204,000 are over the age of 60 with a further 80,000 between the ages of 50 and 60 years. 11% of the Irish community identified as being a family carer – many carers are elders with health needs. The older age profile of the Irish population in Britain compared to the general population and other minority ethnic groups is inevitably accompanied by problems of (mostly preventable) ill–health. Although there is no empirical evidence relating to dementia, community organisations are daily faced with significant numbers of people with memory loss, most of which is undiagnosed or untreated. Given the incidence of coronary heart disease, stroke and hypertension in the Irish community, the risk of vascular dementia may well be higher than the age profile of the population suggests. The poor socio–economic circumstances of a significant proportion of the older population living in areas of marked multiple deprivation, confounds their ability to access health and social care in an equitable or timely manner.
What can we achieve as an Irish Memory Loss Friendly Community?
- Elders remain engaged with their Irish and local communities and enjoy a good quality of life
- Stigma and inequality are discussed, debated and challenged
- Isolation is reduced, access to assessment, diagnosis and professional support are improved
- Carers feel supported and enabled to remain engaged with their community and services
- The Irish community are comfortable and confident to engage people with memory loss within services
- We can ensure Irish are included in research
- We can better inform mainstream services about the Irish cultural need that is so important when engaging Irish with memory loss in services.
- The Irish community has the warmth, commitment, expertise and capacity to be the first memory loss friendly community
- The Irish community is seen as a flagship memory loss friendly community
See how you can help with Cuimnhe