ALONE, the organisation which supports older people, while welcoming the sentiment expressed in the Policy Framework for a new Government released by Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael earlier today, is seeking further commitment on key areas pertinent to older people. The organisation notes the strong elements on social justice but would call on a stronger commitment to the National Positive Ageing Strategy, more commitment to housing with supports for older people and to expedite the actions outlined in Sláintecare.
ALONE believe that the needs of older people must play a central role for this Government and in the years to come. While ALONE welcomes both parties’ intention referenced in the framework to ‘work with all stakeholders to ensure that every citizen has a dignified retirement and can retire in financial security’, the organisation has called on parties to clarify what their idea of a dignified retirement looks like and commit to making this a reality for all older people. ALONE believe that this aim must be defined in line with the aims of National Positive Ageing Strategy, and include a commitment to provide age-specific supports in the areas of housing, finance, loneliness, health and home supports.
The organisation was disappointed to find no mention of increased support for the home support service or nursing homes, and is urging the next Government to implement and commit to funding for a statutory home support scheme. ALONE has campaigned extensively in recent years for implementation and funding for the National Positive Ageing Strategy, and housing supports specifically for older people, which are also not mentioned in the framework.
ALONE CEO Seán Moynihan stated, “We find the Framework document embracing in terms of social justice and we do welcome the commitment to long term leases for housing. However, we are concerned at the lack of reference to supports for older people. We are also concerned that the economic cost of the COVID-19 outbreak may negatively impact funding of supports for older people, and we urge all parties involved in negotiations to ensure that this does not become the case.”
He continued, “The framework is a very broad document which does not make specific reference to the issues faced by our ageing population today. While we recognise that the document raises some points for discussion, we urge the next Government to acknowledge the impact that COVID-19 will have on our older population and include plans to address these issues accordingly. Pre-existing issues such as housing, loneliness and pensions must be addressed, and we also need to move forward with the implementation of the National Positive Ageing Strategy, as this is vital to ensuring the needs of older people are recognised and met.”
In their submission to parties ahead of the General Election, and among other asks, ALONE called for commitments from political parties to:
- Fund home supports and health services which enable older people to age at home
- Increase housing delivery targets and implement supports to prevent a worsening housing crisis for older people
- Halt increases to the pension age and triple lock the State Pension
- Appoint a Minister for Older People and Demographic Change
Contact ALONE on 0818 222 024 if you have concerns about your own wellbeing, or the wellbeing of an older person you know. Further information can be found on www.alone.ie.