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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. 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.
Irish in Britain has a strategy in place to address the needs of Irish in relation to all forms of memory loss. For more information on this, see Cuimhne: Irish Memory Loss Alliance.
A diagnosis of dementia can bring many different emotions. Some people feel angry, confused or frightened. Every person is different and therefore react differently. It is important to remember that you can live well with Dementia. The important point to remember is that it doesn’t mean you change who you are or stop doing what you enjoy but you may need to do it differently and plan it more.
Talking to people about your diagnosis and continuing to do the activities you enjoy is important. Whilst dementia cannot be cured there are drugs that can help with the symptoms, therapy can help understand it and come to terms with it but whatever you decide to do then please ensure you talk about it and continue doing activities that you enjoy. If you are looking after a person with dementia please give them the space to talk about it and ensure they are invited to social events and do not become isolated. Isolation is one thing you must make sure does not happen.