Who Cares for an Ageing Waterford ? – A Challenge for Services

Home Instead Senior Care in Waterford welcomes the recently published report by the Centre for Ageing Research and Development in Ireland which highlights the inadequacy of the current elder care system in Ireland. The report by researchers from Trinity College Dublin and Queen’s University Belfast highlights the significant difference in care levels available North and South of the border with 14% of the Republic’s over 65s who are in difficulty receiving no help, compared to only 2% of those in the North.
With an additional 45,000 older people requiring care over the next decade the report states that every day over the next 10 years, an additional seven older people in the Republic, and two in Northern Ireland, will require long-term residential care or home help. 
“It is important to realise that there is a substantial increase not just in absolute numbers of older people but also as a proportion of the population” said Maev-Ann Wren, TCD. 
Census figures for older people in Waterford show that 13% of the County’s population is over the age of 65.  That’s 8,718 older people, and in line with the rest of Ireland this figure is set to rise significantly in the coming years.  
The report also highlights survey evidence that 14% of older people with disabilities living in the community in the Republic of Ireland in 2006 received no care compared with 2% in Northern Ireland.
Significant differences were highlighted in the care available north and south of the Border.
It says there is clear evidence that the care assessment system in the Republic is less effective, since it leaves a higher proportion of older people with unmet care needs.
“Although older people are living longer and in better health, Ireland will face substantial extra demands for care of older people every year as the population ages. If care in the community and residential care are not developed appropriately, the pressures on the acute hospital system will be unsustainable,” said Prof Charles Normand of TCD.
Critically, the number of those aged 80 and older, who are more likely to be in need of care, will increase by 53 %. The number of over-85s will more than double, from 48,000 in 2006 to 106,000 in 2021.
HSE figures showed there were 690 delayed discharges from hospitals in August, many of them due to a lack of care available outside hospitals.
The researchers conclude that the issue of care provision for older people on the island of Ireland must be urgently addressed to meet the projected rise in demand for long-term residential and home care.
Danette Connolly, Director of Care, Home Instead Senior Care in Waterford said “This evidence-based research highlights very important facts about the direction growing old in Ireland is heading.  Ultimately each and every one of us, if not now, will at some stage be included in these statistics.  We all have a responsibility to make provisions for our future so I would ask the people of Tipperary to consider the question, ‘If there ever there comes a time when you require care, what are the options available to you and what is your preference?”
“We at Home Instead Senior Care would like everyone and in particular older people and their loved ones to be clear about the facts, know what their choices are and make decisions based on ensuring they live a happy, healthy and independent life for as long as possible, and in most cases this is in their own home.”
“Remember – older people in Ireland have contributed so much to our island and we have a responsibility to them to ensure they live their lives with dignity and respect.  Unfortunately none of us can escape the ageing process no matter how hard we may try! So it makes sense to plan now for the future.”
According to the research funded by CARDI, there are serious questions about who will provide this care, especially given the likely increase in female emigration and workforce participation.  
Danette agrees, “Females traditionally provide the majority of care to family members, and with so many families in Ireland today having children dotted across the world, be it for work, travel, business there is the need to question who will take on these roles when care is needed”.    
“Home Instead Senior Care provide Caregivers to support older people in their home, be it companionship, meal preparation, personal care,  Live- In Care and the difference they are making to quality of life is incredible.  Families of loved ones we care for also feel a huge sense of comfort knowing we have fully qualified, garda-vetted, compassionate caregivers supporting them when they perhaps have to work, or have other commitments” continued Danette.
One piece of good news to emerge is that older people are more likely to enjoy good health than before, so the proportion with a disabling condition that might require care is falling.  However, this trend is more than outpaced by the ageing of the population, so an estimated further 50,000 home care arrangements will be needed by 2021.
Home Instead Senior Care gives older people the choice to stay at home for longer than would otherwise be possible.  “This report confirms the need to develop the options available to older people who require care and we passionately believe that home care is the preferred option” concluded Danette Connolly.   
To find out more about Home Instead Senior Care Waterford contact Ph: 051- 333966 or log on to www.homeinstead.ie  Further details of the research report is available at www.cardi.ie