Independent EU election candidate Senator Rónán Mullen has said that day care facilities and day hospitals for people with dementia are grossly under-resourced in some parts of the country.
Senator Mullen said: “With the Fair Deal nursing home scheme costing the State in excess of €1 billion to date, it is a false economy for Irish taxpayers if financial resources are not put into day care facilities and day hospitals for the elderly.”
“According to a study published by the Central Statistics Office in July 2010 there are approximately 350,000 unpaid carers in Ireland. Half of these carers are spending more than 15 hours each week providing care, and one in five are spending more that 57 hours per week providing care. One-third of carers are looking after someone who requires care due to old age.”
“Irish society was built on a tradition of the young caring for the elderly and infirm, but tough financial circumstances, emigration and societal changes mean that it is no longer possible for many older citizens to receive care in their own homes. Successive governments have been reluctant to recognise the value of unpaid care work, yet there would be a far greater socio-economic cost to the State if family carers were not prepared to give of their time to support elderly relatives.”
“Carers need support, and organisations like the Carers Association offer tremendous assistance. But the fact remains that many carers have no access to vital services or respite support. The Government must commit to greater funding for day-care facilities and day hospitals for the elderly.”
“Every citizen of the State deserves the dignity of remaining in their own home for as long as practicable, and long-term care should only ever be a last resort.”