Dementia sufferer numbers to double
The number of people with dementia in Northern Ireland is expected to double in a generation, it has been revealed.
A total of 16,000 people have the condition, more than half with Alzheimer's disease.
The Alzheimer's Society is calling for earlier intervention to prevent expensive hospital or residential care. It published research suggesting 90% of people do not think those with dementia in Northern Ireland are getting enough help and support.
Deirdre Blakely, Northern Ireland acting director for the society, said: "The number of people with dementia in Northern Ireland is expected to double and the costs treble in a generation. However, by taking action now we can vastly improve the quality of life of thousands of people with dementia and save the economy millions of pounds a year."
By 2051, around 47,000 will be living with dementia, the society predicted.
The Government is consulting on Northern Ireland's first dementia strategy. The 15-section draft document, 'Improving Dementia Services in Northern Ireland - A Regional Strategy,' addresses issues related to dementia and includes an action plan to improve and redesign services.
Agnes Lavery, whose husband Brendan has Alzheimer's, said: "It is very promising to hear that the Government appears to be taking the challenge of dementia seriously.
"For too long, people like my husband and me have fallen under the radar. Hopefully this strategy will mean people with dementia will have a better quality of life, be treated with respect throughout their lives and not regarded as second rate citizens."
The Alzheimer's Society survey, carried out to coincide with the end of the consultation for Northern Ireland's dementia strategy, also found that only 13% of people with dementia and their carers said they always receive high quality care.
As part of the consultation response the society asked 85 people who use its services about health and social care and support. They also received 101 responses to a members' questionnaire.