International review of homecare for the elderly suggests financial contributions need to be made

The Government needs to consider more than just the cost of caring for older people, according to a new report.

An international review of homecare for the elderly carried out by the Health Research Board suggests that those being helped may need to contribute financially.

Speaking at the launch of the report today, Minister of State for Mental Health and Older People, Helen McEntee, said she is determined to establish a new statutory homecare scheme.

“Homecare is an increasingly important part of the supports we offer to older people, and will continue to increase in importance into the future, as our ageing population grows,” she said.

“It is estimated that about 20% of the over 65 population receive some form of community-based support service annually from the State. I am committed to enabling more care in the community for older people, so that they can continue to live in their own homes for as long as possible.”

She added: “The development of a new statutory homecare scheme is a complex process which will require detailed preparatory work. A dedicated unit has been established within the Department of Health to progress this work as a matter of urgency.

“A consultation process, which is planned for the end of May, will allow all those who have views on this topic to have their say, including older people themselves, their families and health care workers.”

She added: “This review is an important step in the process, currently underway in the Department of Health, to determine what type of homecare scheme is best for Ireland, in relation to both regulation and funding.

“I am committed to progressing this, as a priority.”

Age Action Ireland says we need to focus on the type of care needed before any decisions are made.

Head of advocacy and communications Justin Moran said: "At the moment we are talking about funding for a homecare scheme that hasn't even been mapped out.

"We don't know what the eligibility criteria will be, we don't know how it will be accessed, or what training and support will be provided to care workers.

"Until we know that it is very difficult to know how much it will cost."

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