Programmes Focusing on Brain Health
A key component of Atlantic’s dementia programme is the importance of brain health in the population.
Key risks associated with dementia are depression, obesity, diabetes, physical inactivity, cognitive inactivity or low educational attainment, present smoking and hypertension (Middleton and Yaffe, 2009, Prince and Jackson, 2009).
Getting people to minimise their exposure to these risk, therefore, is an important part of any strategy to reduce the incidence and prevalence of dementia.
The NEIL Project (link) aims to reduce incidence levels of dementia, improve wellbeing, increase people’s independence and sense of empowerment, reduce stigma and change GP practice and brain health behaviours.
Initially, core funding was provided to establish the programme. Once established, the project exponentially increased the level of funding attracted to brain health, both nationally and internationally. This success has been achieved at three levels – funding, research and training.
There is a strong participatory nature to NEIL, with an emphasis on ensuring that research is accessible to all and is disseminated widely. Over 100 public talks have been held on the subjects of awareness, stigma, health literacy, practice advice and ageism. In addition, the celebrated FreeDem Films make sense of dementia in a creative and engaging way, addressing fears about memory loss and dementia and providing practice advice about brain health.
“All you need is very simple knowledge to address stigma and to make people not afraid of the customer who comes in and looks dishevelled.”
Sabina Brennan, TCD.
The Five Pillars