Northern Ireland

Cash boost for Northern Ireland dementia sufferers

Old person's hands

Older Northern Ireland people with dementia are to benefit from a share of £5m in grants to help tackle isolation.

The Big Lottery Fund will support 13 projects that help older people affected by bereavement, disability and long-term illness.

The programme has also awarded almost £500,000 to an addicts support group in Ballymena.

Ballymena Family and Addicts Support Group helps people battling addiction to prescribed medication.

Spokeswoman Heather McClamont said addiction to prescribed medication remained "one of society's biggest taboos".

'Difficulties'

"Many people in this generation, particularly those affected by the Troubles have been taking drugs for years without realising they are becoming dependent on them," she said.

"Because they are being prescribed by a GP, they do not see this as an addiction or a problem until it is too late and then, when they try to come off the medications, they experience all sorts of difficulties."

Age NI has been awarded £498,803, to create a five-year programme to reduce the isolation and loneliness caused by dementia.

Linda Robinson of Age NI said: "Our experience shows that older people with dementia haven't got enough information and are poorly supported as they face these major life changes.

"Age NI believes that it is vital that a person's dignity and voice is at the centre of decision-making regarding what services he or she receives."