Elderly citizens must be supported to live independently – Ó Snodaigh
Responding to reports by HIQA of chronic understaffing in a Leitrim care facility leading to senior residents being forced to go up to a month without bathing, Sinn Féin Spokesperson on Social Protection, Aengus Ó Snodaigh TD, has accused the Fine Gael/ Labour Government of not living up to their commitment “to enable people to age with confidence, security and dignity by enabling them to stay at home and in their communities for as long as possible through the provision of home care that is both adequate and available”.
He stated that our elderly citizens must be given the supports to live independently where they can.
Deputy Ó Snodaigh said:
“The present Government has in fact acted contrary to their stated policy. In 2013, only 14 percent of a total budget for older people’s services was spent on Home Help services and 9 percent on Home Care packages. These are the two services that support independent living.
“Enabling our older citizens to live at home could reduce the amount of grant-aid required for nursing homes. Given that Ireland has a 35 percent higher proportion of older people in nursing homes than other EU countries and that CSO population projections indicate a dramatic increase in the percentage of over 65’s within the next 10 years when 16 percent of the population will be over 65. This will obviously put increased pressure on state funding and our already stretched health service. 1 in 3 of those in nursing homes could be supported to live in the community, thus relieving pressure on the system.”
Deputy Ó Snodaigh reiterated Sinn Féin’s commitment to supporting independent living for the elderly after years of unfair cuts and extra charges unfairly shouldered by our senior citizens.
“A Fair Recovery would see Sinn Féin increase the respite care grant by €325, add €9.50 per month to the Living Alone Allowance, and extend the fuel allowance by 3 weeks.
“We in Sinn Féin want to ensure that our older citizens can live independently, with dignity and comfort in their own homes and communities, for as long as possible. This is what the majority of our older people want and it delivers the best physical and mental outcome.”