My Department and the HSE have ensured that there has been a continued focus on meeting the needs of people living with dementia throughout the period of the COVID-19 pandemic. Through the Dementia Understand Together Campaign, led by the HSE and working with the Alzheimer Society of Ireland (ASI), a range of initiatives and resources have been developed, to ensure that people living with dementia stay safe, well and connected, during this time of crisis. This includes a collection of online resources, at-home activities and a weekly activity planner, which can be found at https://www.hse.ie/eng/services/news/newsfeatures/covid19-updates/partner-resources/
In addition, as part of the Government response to the Covid-19 crisis, local authorities have established a Covid-19 Community Call Forum. Each local forum works with State agencies and community and voluntary groups to provide supports or services to any vulnerable person or person at a higher risk of getting Covid-19 who needs such supports. The forum brings together different organisations to provide important services such as collection and delivery of essential items such as food, “Meals on Wheels”, household items, fuel or medicine (in line with guidance) and support for those experiencing social isolation. More details on the Forum can be found at https://www.gov.ie/en/service/5fd9fe-view-the-covid-19-community-call-forum-dashboard
As the Deputy will be aware, community services such as day care play an important role in enabling people with dementia to continue living in their communities. My Department and the HSE are undertaking work to determine the current level of service delivery in the community and to set out plans, including associated required capacity, to resume services, including day services, in line with the Roadmap for Reopening Society and Business and the ‘Return to work safely’ protocol. This process will take on board the learning of the current period, including the possibility of delivering services in a new way, and the requirement to adhere to public health guidance. This means that services, whilst being delivered in new ways, will gradually be restored to older people, including people with dementia.