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Dementia included in the Irish Programme for Government

Tuesday 16 June 2020

Government formation is still ongoing in the Republic of Ireland following a General Election in February of this year. In mid-June the prospective Government coalition published its Programme for Government. Two of the key asks from The Alzheimer Society of Ireland General Election campaign “Deliver on Dementia” were included in this. These were the implementation of the National Dementia Strategy and the introduction of a statutory home care scheme.

In fact, dementia got a section in itself where commitments were outlined to:

  • Implement the National Dementia Strategy;
  • Ensure that home support is adaptable and responsive to the needs of those with dementia;
  • Increase the number of dementia advisers;
  • Investigate the possibility of establishing a dementia village along the lines of Hogeweyk in the Netherlands;
  • Finalise a code of practice on Advanced Healthcare Directives, allowing for full commencement of the legislative framework.

Other points of note included a commitment to deliver a “Carers’ Guarantee” proposal that will provide a core basket of services to carers across the country, regardless of where they live. On 16 June, The Alzheimer Society of Ireland (ASI) also had a virtual online meeting with Minister for Health Simon Harris (pictured) to discuss the impact that Covid-19 has had on people with dementia. The Minister gave assurances that he would highlight the “invisibility” of dementia and in particular family carers in the road-maps being laid out to respond to Covid-19. Although this is just the first step in a long journey, it is an essential one; without it, it would become very difficult for The ASI to lobby for action.