Cashel's Kathy Ryan with her sons Andrew and Matt.
A Cashel mother of two has expressed disappointment at the Government’s lack of investment towards community supports for people with dementia in Budget 2018.
Vice-chair of the Irish Dementia Working Group, Kathy Ryan, was diagnosed with early onset dementia three years ago.
She supported the Alzheimer Society of Ireland’s (ASI) call for the Government to invest €40 million towards community supports for people with dementia which was outlined in the Pre-Budget Submission ‘Dementia Care Begins at Home – Building a Community of Care’.
The ASI welcomes the allocation of additional funding for home care packages, but says it is very important to note that intensive home care packages for people with dementia must be prioritised within any home care allocation.
There is an estimated 55,000 people with dementia in Ireland and for every one person with dementia three others are directly affected and most people with dementia live at home (63%). The number of people with dementia will rise to 68,216 in the next 10 years.
The ASI looked for an investment of €35 million to develop and expand home care services; €2.31 million to roll out a Dementia Adviser service across Ireland; €1.92 million to provide Dementia Care Coordinators in every Local Health Office; and €852,000 for a Dementia Friendly Communities project across Ireland. We are calling on the Minister for Health to insist that the 2018 HSE Service Plan includes specific home care packages for people with dementia.
The ASI say there is a groundswell of support for more community supports for people with dementia which was evident from Pre-Budget petition receiving over 5,000 signatures from members of the public and the All-Party Oireachtas Group on Dementia also advising the Government to invest in community supports for people with dementia in their Pre-Budget 2018 statement last week.
“Yet again we have not achieved the much-needed investment in home care in this year’s Budget and this is very disappointing,” Kathy said.
“There have been no changes for a whole year – but there have been many changes for me. During the Pre-Budget campaign, we tried to drive home to the Government that dementia care begins at home, and we need support and money to build communities of care. It’s a real shame that on this occasion they have not listened.
“When I was diagnosed with dementia it was very isolating and fearful. But even knowing that there were supports out there in the community made me feel less anxious, even though I may not need those supports every day. Government funding to community supports for people with dementia would have made a massive difference to ensuring that no one goes through dementia alone and everyone receives information locally and people remain a part of their community. It’s very disappointing that this funding was not allocated.
“It’s very important that people with dementia are supported and are a part of the community and remain active in their community. The only way that this can happen is that the Government puts in the right supports such as dementia-specific home care services and dementia advisers. These are invaluable if people with dementia are to remain in the community,” Kathy added.