I thank Deputy Calleary for raising this issue. Some 55,000 people in Ireland have dementia, and this number is expected to increase to 157,000 by 2046 as the number of older people in Ireland increases. The national dementia strategy emphasises that, with the right supports, people with dementia can continue to live well and participate in their own communities for a long lime.
A €27.5 million national dementia strategy implementation programme is being implemented. This includes dementia-specific intensive home care packages, a dementia information and awareness campaign called Understand Together and a programme to upskill GPs and primary care teams in dementia diagnosis and management. The HSE's National Dementia Office is undertaking numerous projects to progress the implementation of other strands of the strategy, including in the areas of dementia diagnosis, post-diagnostic support and acute hospital care.
Social care services are an important component of enabling people with dementia to remain living at home and participating in their own homes and communities. They also provide valuable supports to carers. The HSE, the National Dementia Office and the Alzheimer Society of Ireland have undertaken a project to identify what dementia-specific services are available in communities across Ireland and the results of this have been made available through an online service finder. In addition, the National Dementia Office and the HSE are working to identify the generic services that people with dementia access.
Regarding the specific issue of the day care centre in Castlebar, the Alzheimer Society of Ireland, ASI, receives annual funding from the HSE to provide services and supports in Mayo to people with dementia, their families and carers. These services are in addition to supports provided directly by the HSE.
Since its opening in 2006, the Alzheimer's day centre in Castlebar has offered a valuable service to people with dementia and their families and carers in Castlebar and the surrounding areas. The hard work of the centre's staff and volunteers has allowed people with dementia to remain living in their own communities with dignity and respect.
The HSE and the Alzheimer Society of Ireland have been engaging on the issue of service and funding in respect of this centre. The level of funding provided by the HSE to the ASI for this service in 2018 is the same as it was in 2017. However, due to an existing financial deficit, the ASI has informed the HSE that it cannot deliver the existing level of service without additional funding.
Regrettably, the HSE is unable to provide additional allocations to this individual service as the HSE must operate within the resources available to it. While all community health organisations endeavour to support such services in their areas as much as possible, they must do so within the context of the budgetary resources that exist.
The HSE understands the disappointment of people with dementia and their families who avail of the day care centre in Castlebar. Nonetheless, the centre will continue to operate for three days per week and provide services to clients during those days. I wish to emphasise that my Department aims to implement the national dementia strategy in full and ensure the provision of services to support and meet the needs of people with dementia and their families throughout the country, including in County Mayo.