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Dublin: 12 °C Friday 22 February, 2019

Why are we forcing the elderly out of their homes?

Alone says too many see nursing homes as the only option for older people.

Image: Shutterstock/Barabasa

ONE IN THREE people in Irish nursing homes could live at home if they had enough support, according to Alone, a charity that cares for older people in need.

The charity, while acknowledging the important service provided by nursing homes, said that Ireland is not committed enough to funding alternative forms of elder care.

The percentage of people in nursing homes is 35% greater than the EU average and the average stay in nursing homes is 1.6 years longer than in the UK, it said.

Launching its ‘Home First’ campaign today, Alone blamed cumulative cuts in funding for home help and housing adaption grants for Ireland’s disproportionately large number of nursing home residents.

Capture Source: Alone

Ageing population

The charity called on the government to divert a portion of funding from the HSE’s fair deal scheme, which funds nursing home care, to support older people living at home.

Sean Moynihan, CEO of Alone, said that nursing homes should be viewed as a last resort rather than the only option.

As a nation, we are pushing older people into nursing homes ahead of their time, while at the same time others who need additional supports are being made do without.

Government policy must address the need for supportive housing options in order to deal with Ireland’s “dramatically ageing” population, he said.

Some 16% of the Irish population are expected to be over the age of 65 by 2026, according to HSE research.

Read: Proposed hike in nursing home bills slammed >

Read: The waiting list for nursing home money is getting even longer >

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Catherine Healy

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