Elderly betrayed as million hours cut from home help rotas, says TD
More than a million hours have been slashed from home help rotas in a "deeply unfair" betrayal of older people, a TD has claimed.
Statistics provided to the Oireachtas health committee show a consistent declined service by 1.2 million hours over the past five years.
Fianna Fail health spokesperson Billy Kelleher, who obtained the figures, said older people were struggling to cope with staying at home.
The Cork North Central Deputy said: "The cuts to home help hours for older people are nothing short of disgraceful.
"The assistance hours have been slashed by around 10% over the past five years, and as a result of these harsh cuts, older people are finding it increasingly difficult to stay living in their own homes."
Since 2010, the number of home help hours is down from 11.7 million to a projected 10.4 this year.
Mr Kelleher claimed older people were being unfairly targeted.
He added: "The cuts to over 70s medical cards, to home adaptation grants, to the housing aid for older people scheme, to the telephone allowance, the abolition of the bereavement grant, and the five-fold hike in prescription charges have had a serious impact on older people across the country.
"It is deeply unfair for the Government to continue to target older people in this way. It's also extremely counterproductive.
"By failing to provide the supports needed to allow people to live securely and with dignity in their own homes, the Government is forcing these people onto the already overburdened hospital system and costing the taxpayer more in the long run."