Government urged to invest €19 million in supports for those affected by dementia

The Alzheimer Society of Ireland (ASI ) is calling on the Government to invest €19 million in urgent infrastructure and community supports for people affected by dementia, to meet the growing need for dementia-specific care for thousands of people across the country.

The recommendations are contained in The ASI’s Pre-Budget Submission 2023 Dementia Can’t Wait – Urgent funding needed to address rising need - launched at a briefing in Buswells Hotel Dublin, which calls for an overall investment of €19m to address difficulties in meeting a rising demand for dementia services.

The document outlines that €2.5m is needed for dementia-specific day centres and the submission is also calling for €1.7m funding in Community Day Care at Home Services to be maintained ‘as Day Care at Home is essential to provide continuity of care and support to people with dementia and their families for whom attending Day Centres is not possible’.

“Up to 57,000 hours of Day Care at Home will be delivered this year, and it must continue. The service was introduced during the pandemic while day centres were closed and has now become a vital service for hundreds of people.

“The ASI provides 80% of Ireland’s dementia-specific Day Services and recent data indicates that The ASI makes up 15% of all Day Care centres for older people in Ireland,” ASI added.

“The prevalence of dementia in Ireland has increased from 54,000 to 64,000 and a deepening gap between services and need must be addressed. Covid-19 has accelerated the trajectory of the disease.

“There is a huge geographical inequality in dementia-service provision in Ireland. It’s really a postcode lottery. In 2017, the mapping of dementia-specific services found that no county in Ireland meets the recommended standard of services for dementia care when compared to international baselines.

“The situation has now worsened since Covid-19 – and what will it be like in another 20 years’ time? There needs to be an increased focus on the rising numbers of people developing dementia, we really need to get planning for the future. This is about all of us, our future older selves will thank us for taking action now.

“In our Day Care Centres for example, there is significant unmet demand for places which is reflected in long waiting lists and/or requests for more days for people who already have a place. With an extra €2.5 million in funding, The ASI would be able to reduce the waiting lists and provide these much-needed extra days to people living with dementia.

“Several ASI Day Centres have not fully reopened following the pandemic, due to the rising costs in providing Day Care services. The ASI is like any other organisation - our funding is remaining the same and our costs are rising, and the need for our services is growing every day. We really appreciate the support that we have received from the Government and our funders, but the truth is that more funding is now required to meet the growing need and to ensure that people living with dementia and their families are not short of a vital service,” ASI’s Head of Advocacy, Research and Public Affairs, Cormac Cahill, said.

A further recommendation is €2.3m to provide therapeutic and emotional supports for people with dementia and their families, including for families affected by Younger Onset Dementia, education and training programmes, support groups and professional counselling and psychotherapy.


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