The Alzheimer Society of Ireland (ASI ) has announced the postponement of its largest annual fundraising campaign Alzheimer’s Tea Day due to Covid-19 and has launched an urgent appeal for vital dementia supports to help them to continue their vital work with people with dementia and their families during this devastating crisis.
It is estimated that there are 2,683 people living with dementia in Galway and for every one person with dementia three others are directly affected. The number of people with dementia in Ireland is expected to more than double from 55,000 today to 141,200 in 2050*.
Covid-19 has resulted in a perfect storm for The ASI: Alzheimer’s Tea Day, its biggest and most important fundraiser over the past 25 years which was due to take place in every town in Ireland on Thursday, May 7, is now postponed contributing to a severe drop in fundraising of €1 million; its 48 day care centres are closed; and its vital supports such as Social Clubs, Alzheimer Cafes and Support Groups are all postponed until further notice.
However, The ASI continues to support people with dementia and their families as home care, dementia advisers, national helpline, and online family carer training are all still running. In addition we are implementing new ways of providing ASI supports remotely to our clients and their families such as regular telephone calls and activity packages for people to use in their own homes.
The Alzheimer Society of Ireland’s CEO, Pat McLoughlin said; “Covid-19 is a public health emergency we have never seen the likes of before and this is affecting everyone on the planet. People with dementia are vulnerable and often confused and Covid-19 has heightened that for them. Today, we should all be preparing for the Alzheimer’s Tea Day, our biggest and most important fundraising event of the year.
"Alzheimer’s Tea Day has been our biggest fundraising event over the last 25 years and the organisation is so dependent on the funds that it brings in each and every year. However, the Covid-19 health crisis means that Alzheimer’s Tea Day has now been postponed and the vital funds it raises have been lost, so we are asking for your help to continue to support people with dementia and their families and carers.
“Our day centres; social clubs; Alzheimer cafés; face to face carer training plus many other services we provide, are now closed due to Covid-19 and this is putting even more pressure on people with dementia, their families, and carers, isolating them further and causing further stress and ill health. We must continue to raise money to provide alternative supports to assist our clients and their families.
"We must keep our helpline, home care, dementia advisor services and online family carer training open. We must stay connected with people with dementia and their families at this time, that's why we really need your support - to keep going, keep supporting and keep connecting.”
Member of Dementia Carers Campaign Network (DCCN ) and full-time carer for her dad, Brian, Máire Anne Doyle said; “I’ve been caring full-time for my Dad, Brian, since moving home from Toronto for over four years ago. It's a privilege to be with my dad, he's a super guy and a really good dad. However as his carer it's an around the clock task, a stressful one that has taken its toll.
'The current lack of support and feeling of isolation is phenomenal. Something has to be done. Carers who look after people living with dementia can't keep struggling. We literally are in crisis here. The home help we get is my only relief and is absolutely invaluable to me and thousands of others.”
Most people who are living with dementia are in the high-risk category for Covid-19 and most of their carers - their husbands and wives - are also older and many have underlying health conditions. And now, with the majority of ASI’s supports now closed, thousands of vulnerable people are facing this emergency alone, without the supports and constant care that they urgently need.
As part of the urgent appeal, members of the public are being asked to make a special emergency donation today on www.alzheimer.ie to help provide essential care and support to those living with dementia whose lives are being torn apart by Covid-19.
Covid-19 has undoubtedly caused additional challenges for older people who may already be vulnerable and particularly those who struggle with health conditions, loneliness, and isolation.
The ASI has developed some tip sheets to help support people with dementia and their families in a challenging and rapidly changing situation including the following:
- Tips for vulnerable adults.
- Tips for supporting vulnerable people in the community.
- Tips for nursing home restrictions.
- Supports available from organisations in Ireland during Covid-19.
For more information on our supports and services during this challenging time, contact The Alzheimer Society of Ireland National Helpline which is open six days a week, Monday to Friday from 10am to 5pm and Saturday from 10am to 4pm on 1800 341 341.