The Alzheimer Society of Ireland Calls on the Government to Develop ‘A Comprehensive and Robust National Dementia Strategy’
Resource type: News
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National Dementia Strategy needed urgently as dementia demographics in Ireland set to treble by 2041.
The Alzheimer Society of Ireland has called on the Government to honour its Programme for Government commitment to publish a National Dementia Strategy in 2013.
The charity made its call at the launch of its Pre-Budget Submission 2013 where it was revealed the number of people living with Alzheimer’s and dementia is expected to increase from 42,000 today to 140,000 by 2041 due to an ageing population.
The Society is looking for a whole Government approach to develop a comprehensive and robust dementia strategy. It also called for the creation of clinical and policy leadership in the area of dementia and for solutions in relation to services and supports for people throughout each stage of dementia. Dr. Diarmuid O’Shea, HSE Clinical Director for the Elderly spoke at the launch and supported the call for a specific clinical lead for dementia which will improve both effectiveness and efficiency in dementia care. In 2011 the newly formed Fine Gael/Labour Government prioritised dementia as a health issue. The Programme for Government 2011-2016 states that:
“We will develop a national Alzheimer’s and other dementias strategy by 2013 to increase awareness, ensure early diagnosis and intervention and development of enhanced community based services. This strategy will be implemented over five years.”
The Alzheimer Society of Ireland’s CEO Maurice O’Connell launched The Society’s Pre Budget Submission 2013 by saying:
“We believe that the best way the Government can support all those living with dementia in Ireland is through a whole of Government approach which recognises dementia as a national priority. This approach would ensure that not only the health and social care needs are addressed but the broader community, environmental and equality issues are tackled in the strategy.”
Mr O’Connell concluded that a Dementia Strategy is urgently needed in Ireland, similar to that implemented in countries such as France, Norway and the UK, to ensure a clear pathway of care for the thousands of families affected by the illness.
“The Alzheimer Society of Ireland fully recognises the challenges of the current economic situation and its impact on the state and its citizens. However, we are acutely aware of the increasing numbers of people affected by dementia, their growing health and social care needs and the potential cost to the state. We must act now to plan for the future. I firmly believe that the implementation of a National Dementia strategy is not just a moral necessity but importantly an economic one too.”
The Alzheimer Society of Ireland believes that dementia is the most significant health issue facing older people in Ireland. A National Dementia Strategy would enable the formulation of a strategic and fully co-ordinated response to meet the needs of people with dementia and their carers.
Key statistics on dementia:
- At present, there are 42,000 Irish people with dementia; by 2021 there will be 67,500 and by 2041 there will be over 140,000 people living with dementia. There are 50,000 family carers of people with dementia in Ireland.
- There are over 26,000 people with dementia living in the community and over 14,000 living in long-term care.
- The overall cost of dementia care in Ireland is just over €1.69 billion per annum; 48% of this is attributable to informal family care; 43% is accounted for by residential care; formal health and social care services contribute only 9% to the total cost.
The Alzheimer Society of Ireland is an Atlantic grantee.