The Alzheimer Society of Ireland (ASI) says it is facing a sudden and severe shortfall in funding to provide vital supports for those with dementia as a result of the Coronavirus crisis.
The organisation was forced to announce the postponement of its largest annual fundraising campaign Alzheimer’s Tea Day due to Covid-19 and has launched an urgent appeal to ensure they can continue their vital work with people with dementia and their families during this devastating crisis.
“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 7th, 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,” they said today.”
“However, The ASI continues to support people with dementia and their families as our 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 society confirmed.
As part of an urgent appeal, they asked the public 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.
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.”
The Alzheimer Society of Ireland’s CEO, Pat McLoughlin said “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.”
Éamon Ó Fearghail who is a full-time carer for his mam Cathleen also explained: “I’ve been caring for my mam Cathleen since she was first diagnosed with dementia nearly 10 years ago and now with some health issues of my own I am struggling to manage by myself. She attended a Day Care centre three days a week but now that has been closed. Mam must remain at home so that I can keep her safe and I am now caring for her 24 hours a day. The home help we get from the Alzheimer Society is absolutely invaluable to me and thousands of others.”
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
All of these resources are available on www.alzheimer.ie
The number of people with dementia in Ireland is expected to more than double from 55,000 today to 141,200 in 2050. There are 11,000 new cases of dementia in Ireland each year. That’s at least 30 people every day and anyone can get dementia – even people in their 30s/40s/50s