Fianna Fáil TD, John Brassil has said that as Kerry’s population gets older, the Government must start to plan for the provision of health and care services to deal with increasing demand.
Deputy Brassil made the call after data, based on the results of Census 2016, showed that Kerry had an average age of 40.2 years compared to a national average of 37.4 years.
“This data should act as a wakeup call to the Government, and stimulate a debate on the type of services that having an older population in the county requires.
“We are already struggling to provide enough home help hours, respite packages and general care services for older people living in the county. How will the State cope as the population gets older, and lives longer?
“There are now 25,034 people living in Kerry who are over the age of 65, a full 19% increase since 2011. This figure is only expected to rise over the next 10-15 years.
“We know that the Fair Deal Scheme is under pressure, and as the population increases, it’s time for us to look at different ways of supporting older people.
“My party brought forward a bill earlier this year which would have given older people a statutory right to care in their home, and not just a right to care in a nursing home.
“The evidence is clear: older people do better if they can stay in their home, surrounded by their family, friends and community.
“However, a change of this nature requires the Government to plan, secure resources and put in place the supports to deliver such a service.
“The time for planning is now if we are to get ahead of the curve, and ensure that every older people can have a decent quality of life,” concluded Brassil.