The Alzheimer Society of Ireland (ASI) has announced the postponement of its largest annual fundraising campaign Alzheimer’s Tea Day due to Covid-19 and has launched an urgent appeal for vital dementia supports to help them to 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 7, 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.
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 they are implementing new ways of providing ASI supports remotely to clients and their families such as regular telephone calls and activity packages for people to use in their own homes.
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.
As part of the urgent appeal, members of the public are being asked 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.
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-Ann 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 from the Alzheimer Society is my only relief and is absolutely invaluable to me and thousands of others.”
Covid-19 has undoubtedly caused additional challenges for older people who may already be vulnerable and particularly those who struggle with health conditions, loneliness, and isolation.
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
For more information on our supports and services during this challenging time, please contact The Alzheimer Society of Ireland National Helpline is open six days a week Monday to Friday 10am–5pm and Saturday 10am–4pm on 1800 341 341. Email at email@example.com or via Live Chat at www.alzheimer.ie