Dementia Can’t Wait – Dementia Supports to Empower Lives
Budget 2024 Reaction
Please see below for our Reaction to Budget 2024:
Dementia Supports and Services
The Alzheimer Society of Ireland welcomes the new funding for dementia in Budget 2024.
Today, The ASI welcomes a total funding of €3.7m for dementia Day Care at Home service and Meals on Wheels (details on breakdown of this to come). This funding means more people will receive block hours of dementia-specific care, ensuring social stimulation for people living with dementia and respite for family carers.
The ASI also welcomes the €300,000 which has been announced to fund Weekend Activity Clubs for people with younger onset dementia. We all know that dementia doesn’t end on a Friday and expanding our services into the weekend is an important step to support families affected by dementia.
There is an increase in the number of Home Care hours which are ring fenced for dementia specific homecare – up to 18%, this is very welcome.
Minister Butler has meaningfully engaged with The ASI since her appointment, and we welcome her continued understanding and funding of much-needed dementia services. This Government, now in its fourth Budget, has significantly increased funding for dementia supports and services. The ASI has seen increased funds available for Dementia Day Services including the new Day Care at Home service and increased funding to expand our national network of Dementia Advisers. There has been funding for the Model of Care for Dementia through the HSE National Service Plan and a considerable investment in Memory Technology Resource Rooms and Memory Assessment Support Services (most recently the World Alzheimer Day announcement regarding the recruitment of 160 staff for Memory Services throughout the country).
The ASI is committed to working with the Government, the HSE, the All-Party Oireachtas Group on Dementia, which is chaired by Senator Fiona O’Loughlin, and people affected by dementia to meet the challenges that dementia presents in Irish society and this Budget is another step on that journey.
Other highlights from Budget 2024 which will impact on people affected by dementia are:
The ASI welcomes the increased Social Protection for Carers. The income disregard for Carer’s Allowance will increase from €750 to €900 for couples and from €350 to €450 for single carers allowing more dementia carers, who may have previously been ineligible, to avail of the payment.
There will be an increase in weekly social welfare payments from January 2024 by €12 for both the Carers Allowance and Carers Benefit. This falls significantly short of our call for an increase of at least €27.50, so while it is a welcome step forward, dementia carers are still facing a real term cut because of the rising cost of living.
We welcome the €400 cost of living lump sum payment for people in receipt of the Carer’s Support Grant and the Christmas Bonus double payment in December, these will be important lifelines for struggling dementia carers. But those carers need support year round, our recent research report shows 50% of dementia carers are struggling financially with many cutting back on essential household items, they need sustained support not once off measures.
The €300 lump sum for recipients of the Fuel Allowance is welcome in the context of challenging fuel costs, as are the three energy credits announced today. However, we believe that Carers Allowance should be a qualifying payment for Fuel Allowance. People living with dementia often spend more time at home and those households have been very hard hit by rising fuel costs.
Many people who care for a person living with dementia also have work and childcare commitments, in particular children caring for parents and the rising cohort of spouses supporting people living with Young Onset Dementia. In this context we welcome the increase in Home Carer Tax Credit and supports for education and childcare.
Section 39 Workers
The ASI is disappointed not to see specific resource allocation for pay parity for Section 39 Workers in Budget 2024. There is an urgent need for funding and action across the community and voluntary sector where workers are underpaid leading to a recruitment and retention crisis. The pay gap between public sector workers and Section 39 workers is growing, without immediate action the services provided by organisations such as The ASI are in real jeopardy.
The Alzheimer Society of Ireland welcomes the creation of the ‘Future Ireland Fund’ to support the needs of our population as we age. This coupled with the recent announcement of a Commission on Care for Older Persons, shows commitment from this Government to plan and resource an integrated system of care for older people. We look forward to more detail and in particular how both the Future Ireland Fund and Commission of Care will involve and listen to older people and people living with dementia.
Andy Heffernan, CEO
About Our Campaign
The Alzheimer Society of Ireland (The ASI) is calling on the Government to invest in vital
community supports, care services, and social protection for people affected by dementia.
The ASI is urging the Government to honour the Programme for Government, the National Dementia
Strategy, and to bring the recently launched Model of Care for Dementia in Ireland from paper to practice.
Launch 29th June 2023, Buswell's Hotel, Dublin
You can watch the the live stream of the PBS Launch below: