Men’s Shed Association Launches Manual On Dementia Awareness

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THE Irish Men’s Sheds Association has launched a new manual ‘Your Shed & Dementia’ aimed at raising awareness of the condition, as well as offering advice for “Shedders”, their families and carers on supporting a member with dementia.

There is an estimated 941 men living with dementia in Kerry, while each year more than 11,000 people develop dementia in Ireland – that’s approximately 30 people every day.

Developed in partnership with the HSE’s Dementia: Understand Together campaign and The Alzheimer Society of Ireland, the manual offers tools to help Shedders recognise signs of dementia, as well as offering practical communication and listening tips.

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The manual can be downloaded by clicking on this link

There are over 400 types of dementia, with the four most common being Alzheimer’s disease, Lewy body disease, vascular dementia and frontotemporal dementia. It is also common for people to have more than one type of dementia.

Common early signs of dementia include increasing confusion, reduced concentration, memory loss, difficulty communicating, personality or behaviour changes, apathy and withdrawal or depression, and the loss of ability to do everyday tasks.

Enda Egan, CEO, Irish Men’s Sheds Association, is encouraging men to check out their local Men’s Shed to see what it has to offer:  “Over the past couple of years, as part of our work developing the Sheds for Life well-being programme, the topic of dementia has been regularly raised by Shed members as something they would really love more support and advice on.

“The publication of this manual marks a significant step in responding to this need. As our 450 plus Men’s Sheds across Ireland are now finally beginning to reopen, a key priority in this new chapter for us is continuing to welcome men with early-stage dementia in different ways.”

For Fiona Foley, National Co-ordinator, Dementia Understand Togethercampaign, Men’s Sheds offer a fantastic way to stay connected: “Maintaining our independence is so important and many people with dementia continue to do lots of things they enjoy for some time. Men’s Sheds in communities all over the country offer wonderful access to friendships, support and routine.

“We know that for people with dementia, staying connected and engaging in meaningful activity is hugely beneficial in enhancing their quality of life and developing a sense of self-worth. It can also potentially slow down the progression of dementia.

“This publication has lots of practical ideas on supporting people with early-stage dementia, from communication tips to listening hints. It also has helpful pointers for men who are carers. It’s all about encouraging conversations and improving knowledge of dementia.”

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