Budget 2022 was an opportunity to build a new partnership between the State and older people, but it has fallen short on what could have been delivered, Sage Advocacy has said.
It is estimated that more than 1 in 7 people living in Ireland are aged 65 or older and the national charity said Budget 2022 fails to take account of the varying supports and complexities of care that is needed to ensure that older people can live the lives they want to lead.
Sage Advocacy, which provides support and advocacy services to older people, vulnerable adults and healthcare patients, believes older people will feel let down that the Government has so far failed to deliver on its promise to establish a Commission on Care for older people.
Sarah Lennon, Executive Director, Sage Advocacy said: “We know from our advocacy work that many older people in this country face a daily struggle – whether it is to access the care and support they need to stay safe and independent at home, or to access services such as adult day services which are lifeline for them or to access sufficient financial support – for some a €5 pension increase will make little difference.
“We acknowledge that the Government has said a total of €2.3 billion has been allocated to older persons services and while this may initially seem like a substantial figure, we need further detail on how that money will be spent.
“For example; €1 billion a year is allocated to the Nursing Home Support Scheme – a scheme commonly referred to as the Fair Deal which we do not believe is in any way fair, is this the best use of these resources?
“We need to know how much of the €2.3 billion will be directed at dealing with urgent and immediate issues?
“How will Budget 22 address the inequalities and the fault lines that Covid-19 has exposed in our health and social care system – from Ireland’s high reliance on residential nursing homes, to the lack of resources that are available to enable older people to continue living in their own homes to the current generation of older people who are living in hardship, often below the poverty line.
“Older people have value, there needs to be better integration between health, social and community infrastructure supports to ensure that older people can continue to contribute on every level and in every community across Ireland.”