Deputy Pat the Cope Gallagher is urging the government to increase the hours of Home Help Service which is provided to older and vulnerable people nationwide and to relax the eligibility criteria for availing of home help.
In Ireland over the next 20 years the number of people aged over 65 will double and the number aged over 85 will almost quadruple based on present statistics. Budget 2017 must take this reality into account and project for the future need as well as providing for the present shortfall of home help hours within Donegal.
Deputy Gallagher stated: “Age Action has recently highlighted the crisis in community care and their latest report detailed that as many as half of their clients in nursing homes, or on the waiting list for nursing homes, could be at home if the proper supports were provided for them in the comforts of their own homes. It is in this context that both the Government and HSE must increase the support levels for those who require home help.”
He also pointed out that each Community Health Organisation responsible for providing home care services has its own system of assessment of need. Therefore, someone might be getting the home help they need in one area but not be eligible for support on the other side of a HSE boundary. This lack of consistency in adjudicating the criteria for Home Help only adds to the stress experienced by the elderly. The provision of Home Help services is imperative for families who are under strain from helping to look after a loved one who may need additional care.
"Fianna Fáil has proposed to offer people a home care package as an alternative to long-term residential care. This will apply in circumstances where the provision of a home care package is less costly to the State compared to long term residential care. This necessary measure not only benefits the individual concerned and their families, but also the State due to less demands being placed on long-term residential care services stated Deputy Gallagher.