Irish Examiner view: Sharing the experience of dementia could help us all a lot

A much-loved soccer player being diagnosed with dementia is a wake-up call: The condition may touch our lives too one day
Irish Examiner view: Sharing the experience of dementia could help us all a lot

Revered by fans of Cork City, Cork Celtic, and Chelsea, Bobby Tambling has been diagnosed with dementia. His life and achievements will be celebrated this Saturday in a charity soccer match between Crosshaven and Carrigaline. File picture

The number of people living with dementia is expected to increase in line with our ageing population, from the current total of just over 64,000 to 150,000-plus by 2045, with significant implications for spending on care and support.

Barely a day passes without reference to the condition, which is not a single disease but rather a term that is used to describe the symptoms which occur when there is a decline in brain function. Alzheimer’s is the most common, but not everyone suffering from dementia has it.

Most recently the 'Irish Examiner' reported on two young Cork entrepreneurs, Amy Boyden, and Niamh Murray, who have developed an app that uses shared memories to help people with dementia connect with their loved ones.

The app, ForgetMeNotApp.ie, uses reminiscence therapy to stimulate memory and mental activity, often by providing prompts with images and sounds. Amy and Niamh were inspired by their experiences with their own families. 

Niamh said: “I would go to visit my grandmother and she would not know my name. But I used to sing her a song, ‘The Town I Left Behind’, and she’d sing every word with me.”

Anyone who has encountered the confusion and tricks of memory that dementia brings will recognise stories such as this. And understand, also, that sharing such experiences can be helpful.

Chelsea legend Bobby Tambling, who finished his career in the League of Ireland, including with Cork Celtic and as manager of Cork City, has been diagnosed with dementia. His life and achievements will be celebrated in a charity match in Ballea Park this Saturday between Carrigaline United and Crosshaven. 

There is no admission charge but proceeds of the collecting buckets will go to Alzheimer’s Ireland.

Dementia will touch many of our lives in the years to come. Here’s a chance to help a good cause.

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