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'You don't want to be mean, but it is depressing': Brendan Courtney on nursing home care for his dad

A poll has indicated that 85% of Irish people would prefer to be cared for in their old age at home.

Image: RTÉ Player/We Need To Talk About Dad

A POLL HAS indicated that an overwhelming percentage of Irish adults would prefer to be cared for in their own home instead of a nursing home.

The results of the poll were published tonight after a documentary about presenter and fashion designer Brendan Courtney’s struggle to care for his father who is unable to care for himself following a stroke.

The documentary follows Courtney and his sister as they assess all the options to try and care for their dad – including remortgaging their houses in order to pay for nursing home care.

The documentary is striking in how difficult all the options seem for Courtney, who is visibly upset as he discusses them out loud.

After visiting a nursing home, Courtney says: ”You don’t want to be mean about it, because people work really hard at it, but it is depressing.”

In another scene after visiting a woman who quit her job to become a full time carer for her mother, Courtney contemplates making that decision, and says that the idea “fills [him] with horror”.

In a Claire Byrne Live poll conducted by Amárach Research, 1,000 adults were asked: ‘Regarding care in old age, would your personal preference be to be cared for in your own home or in a nursing home setting?’

The results were:

  • Own home – 85%
  • Nursing home – 6%
  • Don’t know – 9%

Sean Moynihan, CEO of a charity for the elderly ALONE, said that this is reflected in other studies, but despite this, there is no legal right to home care in Ireland.

“In the Fair Deal Scheme if you are assessed for a nursing home place and deemed to qualify, the state is legally obliged to ensure you get a bed. If you are assessed for home care, it may be decided that you need eight hours a week but you will only get whatever the resources will allow which could be two hours a week.”

Ireland’s elderly population is set to reach 1.4 million over the next 30 years, which would not only put a great strain on our health services, but call for a greater number of services for caring for the elderly.

Read: ‘When I came in here I couldn’t walk. Now I’ve just been told I can go home’

Read: The HSE has been offered an additional 1,000 beds this winter

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