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The Alzheimer Society of Ireland Welcomes Funding for Dementia Supports in Budget 2023

The Alzheimer Society of Ireland (The ASI) welcomes the Budget 2023 announcement by Minister of State for Mental Health and Older People Mary Butler TD that the priority focus of the development of dementia services and supports will continue.

The ASI also welcomes an increase in 15% of new home care hours ringfenced for people with dementia, with a continuation of dementia at-home support and continued funding of The Alzheimer Society of Ireland.

It was encouraging to hear the dementia strategy mentioned yesterday by Minister Michael McGrath in Dáil Éireann on Budget Day and to see a commitment to The ASI in Minister Mary Butler’s press statement. Minister Butler has meaningfully engaged with our organisation since coming into office, and we welcome her understanding and funding of much-needed dementia services.

The ASI welcomes social protection increases and one-off payments, in particular, the €500 for family carers; they will go some way to alleviating the financial burden on people affected by dementia. We know that family carers of people with dementia are struggling with the current cost of living crisis and urge the government to embed these supports in a more sustained manner and move away from once-off measures.

The ASI looks forward to receiving more dementia-specific Budget details in due course.

The ASI appreciates the support for the Pre-Budget 2023 campaign, including staff, branches, e-campaigners and advocacy champions. We acknowledge the considerable engagement with Minister Mary Butler, Senator Fiona O’Loughlin, and all in the All-Party Oireachtas Group on Dementia.

The ASI’s Pre-Budget Submission 2023 Dementia Can’t Wait – Urgent funding needed to address rising needcalled for an overall investment of €19m to address difficulties in meeting the rising demand for dementia services.

The ASI sent a powerful message to the Government with the campaign. The ASI welcomed over 60 public representatives to our Pre-Budget Submission launch; made over 100 phone calls; held numerous meetings, photocalls and engagements with the All Party Oireachtas Group on Dementia. Hundreds of public members got involved and, along with their supporters, sent over 3000 emails to TDs and Senators.

The ASI CEO Andy Heffernan said: “We very much welcome today’s news of this much-needed funding in Budget 2023 and we look forward to learning more dementia-specific Budget details in due course. I welcome the increase to 15% of new home care hours ringfenced for people with dementia, home care is of critical importance to our grassroots. I welcome the continuation of dementia at-home support and continued funding of The ASI. Our services are embedded in communities throughout the country and respond to the needs of people affected by dementia.

“I was heartened to hear the dementia strategy being mentioned by Minister Michael McGrath in Dáil Éireann yesterday and to see The ASI noted in detail in Minister Mary Butler’s press statement. We are most appreciative of her genuine engagement and support over the years. 

“The announcement that an increase of 15% of new home care supports for people living with dementia is very welcome and we would now ask the Government to address the staffing crisis in the sector as home care that is dementia appropriate and provided by dementia-trained staff is crucially needed. 

“We know that people living with dementia and their family carers are struggling to meet the challenges of the cost of living crisis, so I am pleased to see the social protection announcements in Budget 2023 as they will go some way, at least, to alleviating their financial burden. But we know that living with dementia and caring for a person with dementia is a long journey. Those carer supports must move from a once-off measure to more sustainable supports that people can rely on into the future.

“The ASI’s objectives in Budget 2023 were consistent with the 2020 Programme for Government and its commitment to implementing the National Dementia Strategy. The need for services is growing among existing service users and those who have not previously been in contact with dementia-specific services. A culture of scarcity exists as providers contend with unmet demand for places, reflected in extensive waiting lists and requests for additional hours. Our pre-budget submission called for the resources to meet ever-increasing public demand. Dementia in Ireland has increased from 54,000 to 64,000, and a deepening gap between services and needs must be addressed.”

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