Irene Oldfather is presently Programme Director at the Alliance leading on Dementia Carer Voices and Active Ageing (Health and Social Care Alliance Scotland). She chairs the Scottish National Dementia Carers Action Network (NDCAN) and is a member of the Scottish Government Mental Health Strategy short term working group for commitments 20 and 21 (Older people and mental health).
Formerly as a Member of the Scottish Parliament, Irene set up and Chaired the Cross Party Group on Alzheimer’s and Dementia which drafted and agreed the Charter of Rights for People with Dementia and their Carers, now incorporated into Scotland’s National Dementia Strategy. Irene is currently a member of the Scottish Government Dementia Forum and Strategy and Implementation Group and is part of the working group on the Scottish National Dementia Strategy Commitment 11 (extending plans on quality of care in general hospitals to other hospitals and NHS settings). As an MSP for 12 years Irene actively campaigned on the rights of older people and was the first ever Member of the Scottish Parliament to be nominated and shortlisted for Dod’s 2009 UK Parliamentary Award for services to Older People. She also chaired the Scottish Parliament’s European and External Relations Committee until May 2011.
She was a Member of Committee of the Regions for 14 years until May 2011 and in October 2011 and February 2012, she returned to Chair seminars on European Year of Active Ageing 2012, in Brussels. Her recent publications include In Good Faith Building Compassionate Communities July 2013 and PATH to Active Ageing 2012.
Irene was educated at Strathclyde University, where she obtained an Honours degree in Politics and a post graduate MSc by Research. Before becoming an MSP she taught at the University of Arizona and the University of West of Scotland and worked as a journalist, researcher and broadcaster.
Irene is currently chair of The European Patients’ Academy on Therapeutic Innovation (EUPATI) UK National Liaison Team (NLT).