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There'll be a million over-65s in Ireland by 2031 - experts say we need a plan

Social Justice Ireland said it is seriously concerned that adequate funding is not being provided to address the ageing of the population.

Image: older man hands via Shutterstock

BY THE YEAR 2031, there will be nearly one million people over the age of 65 in Ireland.

That will have been an increase of more than 86% since 2016.

“Now is the time to plan for this demographic change,” Dr Seán Healy, director of Social Justice Ireland, said today, launching the think tank’s 2016 social monitor.

“This level of population ageing will be associated with higher levels of disability and long-term ill-health and now is the time for planning and investment.”

Social Justice Ireland said it is seriously concerned that adequate funding is not being provided to address the ageing of the population as there will be a steady increase in older people accessing services.

“With an ageing population, the acute hospital system will be unable to operate effectively unless there is a greater shift towards primary and community services as a principal means of meeting patient needs,” research and policy analyst Michelle Murphy said.

Of the one million older people in 2031, some 136,000 will be aged 85 or over.

There has been a 17% reduction in the number of home help hours delivered since 2008 and Healy said today this has left families struggling to cover the gaps in care for their elderly relatives.

“A commitment to supporting people at home is only aspirational if funding is not provided for home help services, day care centres and home care packages. These are the very areas which must be the subject of investment to address population ageing,” Murphy added.

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