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Dementia patients need greater assistance: councilor

Dementia patients need greater assistance: councilor

Taipei, March 10 (CNA) Taipei City Councilwoman Rosalia Wu urged the Taipei City government Tuesday to pay more attention to people with Alzheimer's disease, arguing that city assistance to families with patients of this kind of disease is insufficient.
Speaking at a news conference, Wu estimated that there are about 17,000 dementia patients in Taipei City, but only about 27 percent, or 4,551 people, are registered with the city government as "mentally challenged" and entitled to receive local government assistance or subsidies.
The estimate was based on statistics indicating that 5.3 percent of senior citizens are afflicted with the disease, which means of Taipei's 323,000 senior citizens aged 65 or above, 17,000 should have the disease, three times as many as a decade ago, Wu said.
The city councilor accused municipal authorities of failing to provide sufficient assistance to families in need, and voiced concern that the estimated 73 percent of dementia patients who are not getting appropriate care pose a great risk to their families and society.
Tang Lee-yu, the secretary-general of the Taiwan Alzheimer's Disease Association, and family members of several victims of the debilitating disease also appeared at Monday's news conference.
According to Wu, there are eight day care centers -- seven public and one private -- dedicated to Alzheimer patients in Taipei, with a total of 235 beds available, but only 184 beds are currently being used.
The empty beds, Wu said, suggest that families with dementia patients are not able to pay the NT$16,000 (US$457) per month for the care, even if they are entitled to city government subsidies.
Brushing aside Wu's criticism, officials of the city's Bureau of Social Affairs at the news conference, said the city government actually offers help to households in need, particularly low-income families.
Apart from the services provided in day care facilities, the city government also offers "caregiver services" to families with elderly Alzheimer's members.
According to Cheng Wen-hui, head of the municipal bureau's elderly citizens' welfare department, each household can apply for qualified caregivers to tend to their suffering family members for between 25 hours and 90 hours per month.
The city government offers a subsidy for the service of up to NT$230 per hour, depending on the household's economic conditions and the state of the patients, she said.
According to Cheng, low income families are entitled to the full subsidy, while middle-low income and average income families may receive 90 percent and 60 percent of the subsidy, respectively, as long as they are found eligible by municipal authorities.
Subsidies range from NT$3,450 to NT$20,700 each month, she added.
(By Flor Wang)




Updated : 2021-04-12 09:05 GMT+08:00