Nenagh and Ballina-Killaloe, Co. Tipperary, are set to be the newest locations for dementia cafés in the country.

The monthly gatherings provide support for people who are living with the condition, along with their families and friends. They provide an opportunity for people to share personal experiences, and get reliable information on care and supports in a safe and engaging environment.

A virtual information session, with keynote speaker Sinéad Grennan of the Irish Dementia Café Network, will take place on Monday, June 14, at 7:00p.m.

The information session will provide information on the upcoming cafés, where and when they will operate – be it virtually, or when authorised, in a face-to-face setting.

Living with dementia

People living with dementia, their family and friends, healthcare professionals and anyone who would like to be supportive of people living with the condition are all welcome to attend.

With the number of people being diagnosed with the condition increasing every year, those affected can find it difficult to get information, advice and support.

It is estimated that 64,000 people in Ireland are living with dementia at present and 7,000 new cases are said to be diagnosed annually.

The aim of the cafés is to provide a space to facilitate interaction and guidance, led by a committee of volunteers who have experience and interest in supporting people living with the condition and their families.

Monthly gatherings

A number of professionals are involved in setting up the initiative. Sean Donal O’Shea is a founding member of the Dementia Carers Campaign Network and is currently the dementia advisor for north Tipperary, Limerick and Clare with the Alzheimer’s Society of Ireland.

He recently completed a masters by research on the psychosocial effects of dancing for people living with dementia.

Aifric Devane is a candidate advanced nurse practitioner and public health nurse. In addition to having a postgrad in dementia, she is a dementia champion.

Noelle Clancy is the health and wellbeing coordinator with the Silver Arch Family Resource Centre and is currently undertaking a masters by research in dementia care.

“There are dementia cafés around the country that have been running for a considerable length of time and we have learned from them,” she said.

“We identified a gap in parts of north Tipperary and Clare for a service that allows people living with the condition and anyone else who would like to be involved, to get together in a normalised way.

“People will be able to share their experience and a range of professionals will offer advice and support in areas such as medical and legal.”

Fiona Crotty of Tipperary county council said that the Nenagh and Ballina/ Killaloe cafés will provide important additional supports to those living with dementia in Tipperary and Clare.

The initiative complements the Healthy Ireland funded action to increase dementia awareness and raise the visibility of the condition in communities.

Dementia in rural areas

In recent years, the Alzheimer’s Society in the UK said that living in rural areas and having dementia can put people in a position of ‘double jeopardy’ where they can be left feeling excluded and disempowered, unable to access support, guidance and services such as transport, shops, healthcare and banks.

The condition can have particular implications in agriculture, with many farmers continuing to work long after the state retirement age.

The Nenagh and Ballina/Killaloe cafés are members of the Irish Dementia Café Network. This network of cafés around the country is run according to a set of shared principles and guidelines. To find out more, see: