Govt must invest €12m per annum to tackle 'crisis' in dementia care - Alzheimer Society of Ireland

Health Minister Simon Harris.

The Government must invest at least €12m each year to tackle a "crisis" in dementia care the Alzheimer Society of Ireland warns.

Around 11 people every day are diagnosed with the disease but the Alzheimer's Society has been forced to cut back and ration services after requests for additional funding were denied last year

Speaking at the organisation's National Tea Day Party in Dublin, Health Minister Simon Harris invited representatives to meet him in the Department of Health ahead of the budget.

Mr Harris said:

I know we have an awful lot more to do. We now have around 55,000 people in our country with dementia and that number is going to table in the next 30 years.

But Alzheimer Society of Ireland CEO, Pat McLoughlin, hit out at the Government claiming they are not adequately planning for the expected increases in people with the disease and are leaving care and support services to the charity sector.

"We need to raise €3.3m each year to try and keep the services going.

"We would prefer if the Government actually provided services directly themselves, we don't wish to provide any further services, we are already providing 70% and really for one national charity we believe that is too much."

Mr McLoughlin said the Government is not dealing effectively with dementia services planning adding that there has been a lack of investment in core services since their strategy was published in 2014.

"Money has gone into awareness, which is welcome, money has gone into some areas like assisted technology but the reality is the funding for core services has not increased in the last four to five years.

So it means that what has happened is we have ended up rationing care, if we had a day centre that was open for five days a week where people were getting a service every single day it means now they might be getting just one day a week or two days a week and that's absolutely unfair.

He added that a statutory home care scheme, similar to FairDeal, should be introduced sooner than 2022 which has been promised by the Government:

"We believe that if families got a range of supports and services they would keep their loved ones at home for as long as possible.

"Last year we got nothing, we looked for €12m which would have tripled the services and would have brought every single county up to a basic minimum number of services and that wasn't provided, we would be looking for the same and more next year because since then a further 4,000 people have been diagnosed with dementia, that's 11 more people each day with a disease for which there is no cure."

"It's not just about planning for the future, there is a crisis at the moment in relation to care and support services," he said.

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