During the six month ‘Dementia Care Begins at Home’ campaign, over one million people watched a powerful video featuring Kathy Ryan, Vice-Chair of the Irish Dementia Working Group, and her sons Andrew and Matt. Kathy was diagnosed with Younger Onset Alzheimer’s at the age of 52 and in this video she and her sons highlighted the need for more home care supports that will allow people with dementia to remain living with their families.
People all over Ireland responded to the video and by the end of the campaign over 25,000 people had signed a petition calling on the Government to invest in home care supports for people with dementia. This petition was presented to Helen McEntee, Minister of State for Mental Health and Older People, in October 2016.
Political engagement was an essential part of this campaign and a launch event was held in Dublin for political representatives. Supporters also played a key role in engaging politicians in the campaign, sending several thousand letters to their local representatives which contributed to the campaign being mentioned several times in Dáil Éireann.
The campaign received excellent media coverage, with several in-depth television interviews, articles in five national newspapers and numerous radio interviews and online articles. In addition to this, over the course of the campaign an additional 7,000 people signed up to become E-Campaigners for The Alzheimer Society of Ireland (ASI) and each of these supporters was taken on an ‘E-Campaigners Journey’, receiving regular campaign action alerts and updates by email.
The voices of people with dementia and family carers are at the centre of all ASI’s advocacy work and this campaign demonstrated the importance of having a personal story at the centre of a campaign. Kathy Ryan’s story resonated with people and encouraged them to sign the petition and to share their own stories of living with dementia. If you wish to learn more about this campaign please contact Joanna Joyce, ASI Advocacy Officer, at firstname.lastname@example.org
Submitted by Joanna Joyce