Following her attendance at the All-Party Oireachtas Group on Dementia awareness and information session Sinn Féin spokesperson for Disability and Carers Pauline Tully has called for a significant increase in the level of funding from central government for dementia services and supports.
The Cavan-Monaghan said:
“Funding for dementia services and in particular capital funding to reopen services and where necessary to make Covid related modifications is absolutely essential.
“In addition, increased funding for home care is also needed.
Teachta Tully was reacting to information she received after a briefing on a report “Caring and Coping with Dementia during COVID-19”.
“Previous research from 2020 has shown that people were worried about being left behind. Now that is a reality and family carers describe themselves as ‘defeated and experiencing stress, burnout, anxiety and isolation’.
“It is also very concerning that 40% of family carers say their physical health has worsened in the last year and 54% say their mental health has deteriorated.
“These are stark figures. This will lead to far more funding being needed throughout the health service if this is not addressed.
“Respondents also feel abandoned by the government and the lack of vaccine prioritisation for family carers, who are essentially front-line healthcare workers.
“This was the final affront for family carers who are saving the health service billions each year by ensuring that their loved ones are cared for in their own home and not in a hospital or residential setting.
“Seventy seven percent of family carers who participated in the research reported that they live in fear of getting sick with Covid and worry about who will mind their loved one.
“This is something no family carer should have to be fearful of. Family carers should have been prioritised on the vaccine plan. This happen with the flu-jab each and every year.
“Eighty one percent of the people who participated in the report are concerned about the decline of people living with dementia in the past year.
“In fact, the report finds that people with dementia have experienced an accelerated decline and this is mainly irreversible because of the nature of the disease.
“There has been an enormous sacrifice made by family carers in order to protect those they care for.
“They need to see urgent and safe re-opening of day care centres and social clubs.
“They need significant increase in the level of funding from central government for dementia services and supports.”