Home Help and Home Care Services: Motion

Wednesday, 17 October 2012

I welcome the opportunity to speak on this matter.

The prospect of change is always worrying, especially when it concerns one’s health. The fair deal package is now widely accepted as a good deal for many people. I know many people who are using it. After initial worries, people are now largely happy with it.

We need to look at the issue of financing home care. Perhaps we should consider a system along the lines of the fair deal scheme. Instead of considering a person’s assets over a period of three years they could be assessed over 15 years. This would allow a contribution to the State as well as a recognition that a person needs and gets the best home care possible. Farmers had an issue with the fair deal scheme because, as well as the primary residence the farm asset was also taken into consideration. This was a little unfair but it is something that can be looked at down the road.

We need innovative solutions for funding the measures we need. We are all against cuts in services, but where can savings be made? We need to assist the people who deserve our care the most.

The parents of disabled children are worried by the prospect of changes in services. We need to consider these children on a whole-of-life basis. We need a plan for these children, from birth to the very end, to take the worry from their parents. We cannot have a system where children are managed for a few years but there is nothing for them later on. Organisations such as the Cope Foundation in Mallow and St. Joseph’s Foundation in Charleville are remarkable. We must help these organisations because they are doing an extraordinary job. Ordinary people who are living ordinary lives are dealing with situations that are incredibly taxing with an extraordinary attitude. One would not realise what they are dealing with because they get on with life. It is important that we recognise these people and help them as best we can.

We must not forget the people who are out of work.

They have many skills and can, perhaps, retrain in the area of home care. JobBridge and other such schemes might be handy in this regard as well. In addition, we must try to encourage people in communities once again to visit their elderly neighbours, even if it is just to call in and ask if there is anything they can do for them. Over the last number of years people were so busy and consumed with all that was happening they forgot to spend a little time looking after their neighbourhood. Thankfully, rural areas are getting better again in this regard.

We must examine how we can fund home care and care for the most vulnerable. We must consider a whole of life approach for those who are most vulnerable. How we manage to do that will define us as a Government.