The Alzheimer Society of Ireland (ASI) has welcomed the Government’s decision to invest €13 million in dementia community supports in Budget 2021.
The ASI has said it is a welcome step in dealing with the sharp deterioration in health of both people dementia and their family carers caused by the Covid-19 pandemic.
The ASI particularly welcome the €5 million investment for community dementia supports, 250,000 hours of dementia appropriate home care, and four new regional memory clinics in Waterford, Wexford, Sligo and Mayo providing assessment and support services for those with dementia.
The ASI’s Pre-Budget Submission 2021 Dementia: The Forgotten Crisis outlined the detrimental impact of Covid-19 on people affected by dementia and the continued absence of vital services and the growing gap between need and delivery, which is now more critical than ever.
Investment in dementia Budget 2021 highlights
- Five million hours of home care announced (minimum 5% ring-fenced for people living with dementia which equates to 250,000 hours)
- Expansion of in-home day care service provided by The ASI
- Expansion of the Memory Technology Resource Room Network
- Four new memory assessment and support services in Sligo, Mayo, Waterford and Wexford
- Recruitment of 11 dementia advisors in 2021 (30 dementia advisers in place by end of 2021)
- Education for staff in the acute hospitals about dementia and delirium care
- Implementation of the National Clinical Guideline on Appropriate Prescribing of Psychotropic Medication for non-cognitive symptoms in people with dementia
- Dementia: Understand Together in Communities funding for the recruitment of a national coordinator and a programme support officer
- Carers Support Grant increased by €150 up to €1850
- Increase in the dependent relative tax credit from €70 to €245 for family carers.
The ASI has said these announcements are an acknowledgment that there is a welcome understanding at Government level of the harsh realities faced by people affected by dementia up and down the country.
Recent research from the ASI has shown that during the Covid-19 crisis, 86% of family carers were concerned about a decline in their loved one with dementia, while 61% of family carers believe their own mental health has been negatively impacted.
“The announcements represent a good package to support people with dementia and their family carers across the country," said the ASI CEO Pat McLoughlin.
"We have waited for some time for these investments and they are so badly needed. This is the first time a Budget has included dementia in this way and that is recognition for such a significant disease and its impact on thousands of families."
Mr McLoughlin said these measures in Budget 2021 mark an "important milestone". He added: "We know dementia services were in crisis before Covid-19, but things are even worse now. We know through our research that so many of our people are struggling to cope due to the continued closure of our face-to-face services. They are worried, stressed and fearful. For a long time they have been the forgotten ones, but not today! I just hope today is the real start of a continued cycle of adequately supporting people with dementia and their families in Ireland.”