'New laws must cater for those with dementia'
Upcoming legislation should specifically consider the needs of the rapidly growing number of people in Ireland who are living with dementia, the Alzheimer Society of Ireland has urged.
The new Mental Capacity Bill will reform the law relating to vulnerable adults who face capacity issues in making important decisions for themselves. This new legislation aims replace the Wards of Court system with a new framework and approach to decision-making.
The Alzheimer Society has stressed that people shouild be enabled and fully supported to take part in decision-making so that they can make important choices about their care and plan for the future.
Speaking to the Joint Committee on Justice, Defence and Equality, Alzheimer Society CEO Maurice O'Connell said the key challenge in framing such legislation for people with dementia is balancing autonomy in making decisions with protection of a vulnerable person against exploitation and abuse.
"Well over half of decisions under the UK mental capacity legislation relate to people with dementia and it is therefore a matter of urgency to the Society that the legislation and its implementing structures be effective, accessible and appropriate to the needs of people with dementia and their families," Mr O'Connell said.
"It's our view that, to be effective, the legislation must create a system which is Informed by, and responsive to, the real-life situations of people with dementia and be accessible to people with dementia and their supporters" he continued.
There are over 44,000 people in Ireland living with dementia today and that figure is expected to double every 20 years due to our ageing population. In 2026 it is estimated that there will be 70,115 people with dementia and by 2036 there will be over 100,000 people living with dementia in Ireland.
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[Posted: Thu 23/02/2012]