Report finds more than 50% of older people in nursing homes could be at home

The research was based on a nationwide survey of social workers working with older people

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Picture by: John Stillwell / PA Wire/Press Association Images

The Government has been accused of only paying lip-service to their promise to help the elderly stay in their own homes as they age.

A new report estimates that more than half of the older people in long-term residential care could be at home instead if the appropriate services were available.

The research by Social Workers, Age Action and the Alzheimer Society claims the home care system here is disorganised, fragmented and underfunded.

Speaking on Newstalk Breakfast, Mr John Brennan of the Irish Association of Social Workers, said family carers need to be given more help.

“All of the evidence and the feedback from the social workers that spoke to us confirm that older people, including those with dementia, want to stay at home as long as possible.

“Many of these people could be at home, where they want to be, where their families want them to be and where Government policy says they should be, but we are simply not providing the supports they need.

“The social workers we spoke with estimated that more than half of the older people they work with who have gone into nursing homes or are on the waiting lists for a place could be at home if the supports were there.”

“The state relies hugely on family carers. We had one instance of an 84-year-old woman, and her sister who was 82. They were living together and the 82 year-old was looking after the 84-year-old but they weren’t getting a service because there was a family carer there.”

The research was based on a nationwide survey of social workers working with older people, including people living with dementia. It also includes findings from in-depth interviews with social workers, employed in a variety of settings across the country.