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An evening of choral delights in aid of the Alzheimer Society

Evening of delights

The Alzheimer Society Wicklow Services are part of the larger Alzheimer Society of Ireland (ASI), a registered charity, established in 1982. The ASI provides a number of different support and care services to persons living with dementia and their families. In County Wicklow the Day Services, at present, consist of 60 places between two Centres; Mon, Tues & Weds in Lily of the Valley, Rathdrum and Thurs & Fri in St. Clare’s Bray.

There are currently 55,000 people living with dementia in Ireland. This figure is predicted to pass 100,000 by 2030 – roughly 1 in every 40 people. Everyone will know someone with Dementia. For this reason, a better understanding of the disease is vital. Dementia is not a natural part of aging. Historically, it was treated as a mental health issue but in fact is a physical/Neurological disease of the brain. The term Dementia refers to several different categories – Alzheimer’s Dementia, Lewy-Bodies Dementia, Vascular Dementia, Pick’s Disease, Alcohol Dementia and others.
It is important for a Person with Dementia to maintain ties and interactions with their local communities as withdrawal is often a self-protective measure employed by people living with dementia. This can be detrimental to a person’s ability to maintain everyday basic skills such as dining skills, personal care skills, etc. Attending a Day Centre is proven to help people preserve these skills vital to independence.
Day-centres can be accessed in a variety of ways – referral from local GPs, Public Health Nurses, Social Workers or simply just calling or dropping by the Centres. An assessment and information exchange is then carried out to ensure the Service is entirely suited to the person with dementia’s individual needs and wishes.
In 2016, a Support Group for family members and Carers was set up in Wicklow; it is held on the 2nd Monday of each month in Árus Lorcáin, Castlepark, Arklow at 7pm.
We work closely with the Wicklow Branch which provides enormous support to us through their information and fundraising endeavours. Every 2nd Thursday they hold a Social Club in the Arklow Bay Hotel at 10am where families and Carers can bring their loved one living with Dementia for coffee and a chat.
Through some exceptionally hard work on their part enough money has now been raised to start a second Family and Carers Support Group. This will be held monthly in Bray once a suitable venue has been sourced.
It is hoped that similar Support groups and Social Clubs will be set up in Wicklow Town, Carnew and Rathdrum.
The aim of the Day Centre is to assist people to continue living well with dementia through a variety of person-centred activities and outings. A dedicated care-plan is offered to each individual allowing them to make their own choices. Regular activities, such as Music, Games, Dancing, are complimented by more Dementia-specific ones such as the “Imagination Gym” and the upcoming construction of a Sensory Garden in Lily of the Valley, Rathdrum. Clients (assisted by staff) are also encouraged to do as much for themselves as possible, from setting tables for dinner, to ongoing DIY projects such as eg, painting and decorating. Modern technology is also being introduced to enhance communication methods for Clients.
Staff in St. Claire’s Centre, have approached a Dublin Art Group to facilitate Client’s attending art galleries and participating in a Dementia-based art program.

An Events Coordinator for Wicklow is now in place. The aim of this role is to coordinate with the Branch an increase in public awareness of Dementia and the Services available in Wicklow, through Information Evenings, Local Events, Businesses, and advocacy programmes with Churches and Schools etc. By initiating a Community Outreach effort it is our aim to destigmatise Dementia. For too long now the misconception that Dementia effects only the person living with it has been the norm. The youth of the County will play a very important role in our multi-faceted approach to establish Wicklow as the foremost “Dementia Friendly Community” in Ireland, by building on the ASI’s important Forget Me Not campaign, to teach students and young people in Wicklow the importance of taking care of their Brain Health now.  More information on this can be found on http://www.alzheimer.ie/brain-health.aspx.

ASI Wicklow Services has a number of important fundraising events in the month of May. We would ask the people of Wicklow to show their support by attending one of the Tea Days being held locally.

On the 13th May from 11am – 2pm in St. Clare’s Day Centre we are inviting everyone in the area to pop in for Tea / Coffee in support of the Alzheimer Society of Ireland’s National Tea Day. There will be music, face-painting, balloons and some great raffle prizes so it’s definitely a very family-friendly event.
Sunday 14th May 7pm – 8pm sees the return of our annual Choral Concert in St. Fergal’s Church in Bray. This is the 4th such concert of its kind and is one of our most important fundraising events on the calendar. Tickets cost just €8 or €5 concession. They can be bought at the Tea Day in St. Clare’s or at the door on the night. {POSTER} This Concert features the touring Missouri Western State University Choir, Arklow’s all-female chamber choir Cruinniú https://www.facebook.com/pg/cruinniu1/posts/?ref=page_internal and the Memory Lane Singers from Glenealy.

Saturday 20th May from 11am – 2pm sees another Tea Day on offer, this time in Lily of the Valley Day Centre, Rathdrum. Again, the doors of the Day Centre are open to the whole family with plenty of facepainting, music, balloons and raffle prizes up for grabs.

Details of information nights, fundraising events are regularly updated here http://alzheimer.ie/about-us/news-and-media/news/events-in-may.aspx . The www.alzheimer.ie website is also a great source of information and may provide answers / guidance when faced with a dementia diagnosis.

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