Call for research into dementia

Startlingly high prevalence rates of dementia among Irish women need further research, the Alzheimer Society of Ireland has urged.

The condition is the leading cause of death among women, a UK study found.

Alzheimer’s Research UK also discovered women were far more likely to end up as carers of sufferers .

“Women are carrying the responsibility of care for their loved ones, only later to be living with the condition,” notes the report, Woman and Dementia: A Marginalised Majority.

Women over the age of 60 in Britain are twice as likely to get dementia breast cancer.

The Alzheimer’s Society of Ireland is concerned the rate of women developing dementia here far outweighs that of men. Figures show 30,359 women are living with the condition in Ireland, compared to 17,385 men.

The society wants the Government to continue to fund dementia research and to improve investment in care. “The prevalence figures in Ireland are startling, with much higher rates of dementia among women,” said chief executive Gerry Martin.

“We desperately need further research and increased analysis on the gendered nature of dementia so we can plan targeted campaigns for women to increase their understanding of risk, assessment and available resources.

“We already know that far more Irish women than men provide care for people with dementia who are in desperate need of more interventions and supports, both financial and psychosocial.”

Mr Martin said major investments in heart disease and cancer research in recent years had helped bring down death rates for those conditions and there was a need to do the same for dementia.

“As the number of older people rises steeply, we will see the number of people with dementia treble in a generation,” he warned.

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