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
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.
400 Dementia Types
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. Each year more than 11,000 people develop dementia in Ireland – that’s approximately 30 people every day.
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.
Range of Activities
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 example, sheds are offering a range of activities, from DIY essentials, exercise classes and live music sessions online, to gardening and social events in the great outdoors. Why not check out our website, www.menssheds.ie, to find out which activities are available at your nearest Shed, and if there is something of interest for you or your loved one?”
For Fiona Foley, National Co-ordinator, Dementia Understand Together campaign, 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.”
Six Simple Actions
The Dementia: Understand Together campaign is a public support, awareness and information campaign led by the HSE. It aims to inspire people from all sections of society to stand together with the 500,000 Irish people whose families have been affected by dementia, by taking six simple actions, which are to:
- See the person, not the dementia
- Talk about dementia
- Ask how you can help
- Stay in touch
- Support the person to keep up hobbies and interests
- Make sure your service/space is easy to use
This manual has been developed with the kind permission of the Australian Men’s Sheds Association and Alzheimer’s Australia NSW. While primarily for members of the Irish Men’s Sheds Association, anyone with an interest in dementia is welcome to check out the publication at www.understandtogether.ie, where they will also find information on supports such as a local service-finder for people living with dementia and their carers. Members of the public can also contact The Alzheimer Society of Ireland Helpline for support on Freefone 1800 341 341 (Monday to Friday 10am to 5pm, Saturday 10am to 4pm).