Midleton Library Play Shines a Light on Dementia

By Seamus Whelehan


A play on coping with dementia entitled ‘I don’t know what I’m supposed to be doing’ will take place at Midleton Library at 11:00am on Wednesday, 2 October.

The production forms part of Positive Ageing Week, which takes place between Monday 30 September and Sunday 6 October.

The drama, by playwright Emma Decent, highlights a turning point in the lives of a mother and daughter as they cope with dementia.

“I don’t know what I’m supposed to be doing” was something Emma Decent heard her mother say in the early stages of her diagnosis.

Over a decade later, now that her mother has passed away, Emma finds herself asking the same question.

Her mother was a Librarian and Emma is a Library assistant.

The Play, written for a Library setting is a funny, moving, inspiring tale using poetry, theatre and Library books.

Head Librarian Anne-Marie Kenneally said “we are very proud to host this production. It gives us a great opportunity to show what it is like to not only live with dementia, but to see the condition through the eyes of a daughter.”

The one hour show brings the audience on a journey through time, mother-daughter love, and life re-evaluation.

“People can often feel embarrassed or afraid of talking to people they know who have dementia, and this can lead to a lot of unnecessary loneliness. Many people with dementia can live in their community, but they need to be supported” said Ms Kenneally.

At present 5,425 people suffer from dementia in Cork County.  Nationally, that figure is just over 55,000.   Because our society is living longer it is predicted that, by 2041, as many as 135,000 people in Ireland will have a dementia related disorder.    It is also estimated that one in every hundred people aged sixty, on average, will have dementia. When you reach sixty five, your chances of getting the condition double every five years.   The second most common type of dementia is called Vascular Dementia and is associated with life style, diabetes and smoking.

Also known as Multi-Infarct Dementia it is caused by problems in the supply of blood to the brain, typically a series of minor strokes, leading to worsening cognitive decline.  Dementia numbers in Ireland are expected to double over the next 20 years.