Census 2016: State cannot continue to turn a blind eye to ‘older old’ populations healthcare needs
Keep getting the same data over and over and do nothing about it
Nursing Homes Ireland today says the Census 2016 Summary Results presents further evidence and urgent impetus for the State to properly plan for our older population, particularly those dependent upon continuous healthcare support to live fulfilling lives.
Today’s results have highlighted the ‘older-old’ population – the people most dependent upon healthcare support, are growing to the same extent as the traditionally classified ‘older’ population. The number of people traditionally classified as ‘old’ – aged 65+ - increased by 19.1% over the period 2011 to 2016. For the population aged over 85 for the same period, the male population increased by 24.8 per cent to 23,062 while the female population increased by 11.4 per cent to 44,493, an approximate percentage growth of 18.1%.
Tadhg Daly, NHI CEO stated: “Advances in living standards and supports mean the traditional classification of an ‘older person’ is being reclassified. This is hugely positive for society. The State cannot turn a blind eye to its own ‘evidence’. Somebody once said that making the same mistake over and over was the definition of madness. A particularly Irish phenomenon is to get all the warning data and do nothing about it.
“We must formally plan for the healthcare supports of our ‘older old’ population. The considerable and continuous growth of this population cohort is presenting huge requirement for specialist care within the settings appropriate for their care needs, including at home, nursing homes, and within acute hospitals. Despite this ‘in-your-face’ evidence, this Government and that preceding it have not brought stakeholders around the table to map and plan for our ageing population’s healthcare needs.
“An intensive focus must be initiated by the State. One in five persons aged 85+ require the continuous clinical, health and social care provided by nursing homes to enable them live secure and fulfilling lives. The HSE has informed of the increasing numbers entering nursing home care at later stages in their lives. Planning must be undertaken to ensure nursing homes are appropriately staffed, equipped and resourced to meet these 24/7 high dependency care needs and the growing numbers requiring this specialist care. Let us not continue to turn a blind eye to the stark statistics presented before us.”
Tadhg Daly, NHI CEO, is available for further comment. Contact Michael McGlynn, NHI Communications & Research Officer at 01 4699800 or 087 9082970.
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