As Chairperson of the National Council on Ageing and Older People, it gives me great
pleasure to present the Proceedings from the Conference, "Planning for Dementia Care in
The Conference, which rook place on 4th June 1999 in the Royal Marine Hotel, Dun
Laoghaire, marked the publication of the Council's latest report - An Action Plan for
Dementia. Officially opened by Dr Tom Moffatt TD, Minister of State at the Department
of Health and Children with special responsibility for older people the conference
attracted almost 300 delegates from across the statutory, voluntary and private sectors.
The Action Plan, prepared by Dr Eamon O'Shea and Ms Siobhan O'Reilly, Department of
Economics, National University of Ireland, Galway, is the result of extensive consultation
with national organisations of older people, carers, and with health care professionals and
policy makers working in the area of dementia. It builds on previous work undertaken by
the National Council On Ageing and Older People which highlighted the need for
significant progress in the care of older people with dementia in Ireland.
In June 1993, the Council organised a seminar to consider the setting up of a Dementia
Services Information and Development Centre. This was followed, in 1996, by the
publication of the report, Mental Disorders in Older Irish People; Incidence, Prevalence and
Treatment and a conference which focused on priorities for mental health services for older
people. The publication of the Action Plan, and the conference on planning for dementia
care, are the latest steps taken by the Council in seeking to bridge the gap between thc
needs of dementia sufferers and their carers and the services actually proyided.
The Action Plan takes as its guiding principlc the recognition of the individuality of the
persall with dementia and of his or her needs. It outlines an approach to developing
available, accessible and high quality services in the context of existing resources and public
expenditure constraints. Irs aim is to describe a besr practice model of dementia care in
Ireland - a model which may inform and guide policy makers and others involved in
planning service provision, and which may give support and assistance to those who
endeavour to provide flexible services at the local level.