NHI opinion article: We have made no preparations for our ageing population

“As a country we have made no preparations for the demographic development of our ‘older old’. The reality is we are ill-prepared for it and, like with many other solutions in Ireland, the focus has only been on the short-term. Inaction will have huge implications for older persons. The social cost of failing to plan will prove far more distressing than the Exchequer one.”

Tadhg Daly, NHI CEO, warns of the dramatic increase forthcoming in the 85+ population – the largest cohort of our population that requires nursing home care, which the CSO forecasts will grow by 46% to 2021, in an article published by news website Journal.ie on Sunday 20th July. “The reality for our sector – and we are just one of many stakeholders – is that we don’t know what the future strategy of the country is in relation to meeting our ageing demographics care and social requirements,” he warns.

He informs readers of the crisis that has already emerged within older person care, due to the extraordinary delays currently being experienced for Fair Deal financial support, as evident from recent NHI survey and pronouncements by Department of Health. The article concludes: “Our sector has a key role to play in advising of strategy planning and implementation. We want the Department of Health to lead the required engagement and planning through a forum process that will bring together NHI, HSE, National Treatment Purchase Fund, HIQA, Age Action and other key stakeholders.”