The Alzheimer Society of Ireland has postponed its annual Tea Day fundraiser and said it faced a funding deficit of €1m, while Barnados also issued an urgent appeal for donations with 600 families waiting to access its services.
The Alzheimer Society said the Covid-19 public health emergency had resulted in a "perfect storm" for the charity at a time when isolated people with dementia and family carers were bearing the brunt of the current crisis.
It said the postponement of its annual Tea Day - its biggest and most important fundraiser over the past 25 years and which was due to take place on May 7 - is contributing to a severe drop in fundraising of €1m, while its 48 daycare centres are closed and its supports such as Social Clubs, Alzheimer Cafes and Support Groups have also ceased operations for the duration of the crisis.
The number of people with dementia in Ireland is expected to more than double from 55,000 today to 141,200 in 2050 and it is estimated that there are 5,425 people living with dementia in Cork alone, with three other people affected for each person with the condition.
The charity said many of those people are vulnerable to Covid-19 due to the presence of underlying conditions.
Alzheimer Society of Ireland’s CEO, Pat McLoughlin, appealed for public support and said: "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.”
It has made online resources available at https://alzheimer.ie/about-us/coronavirus-covid-19-update/
Barnardos also issued an urgent appeal to the public to help them reach children and families, saying it is currently working with 1,580 families requiring critical and intensive support, with more than 600 waiting for help.
Mary Gamble, Barnardos Director of Fundraising said: “The families we work with, who were already living in stressful situations, are now experiencing a pressure cooker effect – children are living with domestic abuse, parental mental health challenges, neglect, acrimonious separation and family breakdown and addiction – now with no escape. They are also in need of food, nappies and other essential items that they would have received coming to Barnardos centres."
They appealed for donations at www.alzheimer.ie, stating that even small amounts can help provide a child with a play and activity pack and essential items for infants.