Sage Advocacy has urged the Government to deliver a road map for the re-opening of adult day centres which play a vital role in enabling many older people to remain at home and access social and health services in their own communities.
Adult day centres, which pre-Covid were used by an estimated 14,200 people, have largely been closed since March 2020.
Many families and the people who use the services across the country have told Sage Advocacy that they are “struggling to cope” with the continued closure of the centres.
Sarah Lennon, Executive Director, Sage Advocacy, said: “This week we’ve seen non- essential retail re-open and within the next few weeks there will hopefully be a further relaxation of restrictions, but we have no timetable in place for the re-opening of critically important adult day centres.
“The continued delay in re-opening the adult day centres is having a hugely detrimental impact on peoples’ daily lives. We know from our advocacy work that these centres not only provide essential health services to many people who use them, but they also provide a place where older people can also meet up with others in their communities, socialise and enjoy activities that they would not, otherwise get a chance to do.
“Because day centres have remained closed for such a long period of time some older people, who live in their own homes or with their families, have also become increasingly isolated and the impact of having no social interaction with others or being able to engage in certain activities essential for their wellbeing is having a negative effect on their health overall.”
Ms Lennon said it is also not just the people who directly use the day centres who have been impacted by their continued closure.
“It is also important to remember that because these adult day centres have not re-opened family carers no longer have the support mechanism in place to enable them to do other necessary tasks or simply to get a break – we from our work that many carers are themselves elderly and can often be in poor health.
“Many older members of our communities are now enjoying a vaccine bonus and have been able to meet up with friends – it is vital that this vaccine bonus is also extended to older people who want to use adult day centres and that their families are also given the opportunity to access the services again. We need a roadmap for the re-opening of these vital services.