Former GMTV presenter Fiona Phillips, whose parents were both diagnosed with dementia, was at Belfast City Hall yesterday to launch a new mobile therapy unit to support people with the disease.
The first of its kind in Europe, the Brain Bus is being piloted by Fold Housing Association and will visit residential care centres to help dementia sufferers.
The eye-catching pink and purple bus contains a range of interactive equipment and computer software which stimulates people with dementia, ultimately reducing depression and agitation.
The TV personality, who used to share a couch with Ulsterman Eamonn Holmes, has championed dementia issues since her parents were struck by the illness.
Dementia is an umbrella term which describes a serious deterioration in mental functions, such as memory, language, orientation and judgement.
“The people of Northern Ireland are very lucky to have this bus,” she said.
“There is not enough care for Alzheimer’s sufferers. The Fold bus gives them individual care and stimulation.”
Fiona revealed that her mother who suffered from Alzheimer’s, the most common cause of dementia, died three years ago. She now helps to care for her father who also suffers from the illness.