Atlantic have contributed to starting something great in Ireland. But, it must continue to be funded and supported if it is to have a lasting and life-changing impact for people with dementia and their families. The full dividend from the investment by Atlantic in dementia in Ireland will not be known for some time. Many of the grants are at an early stage and only a small number of them have completed internal or external evaluations.
Moreover, the recent Global Brain Health Initiative is only beginning and it will take decades before the full implications of that grant bears fruit globally.
What we do know from Ireland is that the dementia landscape has changed significantly in less than a decade. It is a different country now to the one that neglected public policy for people with dementia for so long.
Where once there was pessimism, now we can be cautiously optimistic.
It is not that dementia care in Ireland is perfect. It remains under-funded, especially in relation to home care, and does not yet have the priority status from government that it deserves. But Atlantic investment and support has succeeded in changing the narrative of the disease, not for everyone but for some, and more will follow.
Critically, and as a vital legacy, there has been a radical shift in policy towards personhood and the social model of care linked to evidence-based research.
The big challenge now is to ensure that the gains made are capitalised upon and leveraged to continue the improvement in care and support still needed for people with dementia across the country.
Paying Dividends – A Report on The Atlantic Philanthropies Investment in Dementia in Ireland
Professor Eamon O’Shea and Dr. Patricia Carney, Page 82