“The continuing challenges in meeting the care needs of Ireland’s older people must be addressed by this Government,” said Fianna Fáil’s Spokesperson on Older People, Mary Butler.

Deputy Butler was commenting ahead of a special Dáil motion on the need to deliver a sustained and significant increase in investment in home support to meet existing unmet need and future requirements, and for home support to be provided on a seven-days-a-week basis.

“Our motion is in direct response to what I, and my Fianna Fáil colleagues across the country, are hearing from the families of older people who are struggling to provide the care their loved ones need.

“Some of our proposals include:

  • Home support to be provided on a seven-days-per-week basis;
  • Sustained and significant increase in investment in home support;
  • Timely processing of Carer’s Allowance applications;
  • Individual need, not geography or funding, to be the primary determinant.

“Long term demand for care, in its many different forms, is continuing to grow, and we now have the scandalous situation of 6,200 people waiting for home care packages to be approved.

“Providing additional support in the form of home care packages, respite care and home help is best for the person and best for the State.

“Keeping people in their home for as long as possible delivers better results. Older people who get to stay in their home, surrounded by friends, family and neighbours do better than those who live in nursing homes.

“We also must remember that it costs the State three times as much to look after an older people in a nursing home compared to in the home. It makes total sense to keep an older people in their own home for as long as possible.

“Delayed discharges from our acute hospitals, arising from a lack of home care support, are adding to the challenges of overcrowding in our Emergency Departments. The Government must accept that additional funding to older peoples’ support will help meet head on the challenges in our hospitals.

“Ireland is falling behind in terms of the proportion of over 65s in receipt of home support compared to other OECD countries. This must be addressed. A failure to do so will only exacerbate other challenges and crises in our health and social care services,” concluded Butler.