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CSO report shows falling income and rising poverty among older people

Published 15/08/2013

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Age Action is concerned but not surprised by today’s CSO report which shows marked rises in poverty among older people and a fall in their average income between 2009 and 2011.

“The fact that the average income of people aged over 65 fell by 5%, combined with the rise in poverty levels over such a short period, only shows part of the difficulties which many older people are currently facing,” according to the spokesperson for the older people’s charity Eamon Timmins. “On the other side of the equation there are new charges and rising prices which have to be met from these declining incomes.  These increase taxes, charges and costs have escalated since these statistics were gathered, leaving many older people seriously struggling to make ends meet.”

The CSO’s Thematic Report on the Elderly uses findings from the Survey on Income and Living Conditions from 2004, 2009, 2010 and 2011.  It shows that the consistent poverty rate among older people has risen from 1.1% to 1.9% between 2009 and 2011.  The deprivation rate has increased from 9.5% to 11.3% over the same period.

The average gross weekly equalised income has fallen 5% to €407.28.    The main factors driving down income include falling earnings and reduced occupational pensions.  The report shows that among those hit hardest are those living alone, women and those living in rural areas.

“Age Action is not surprised that the poverty indicators for older people are rising, with financial pressures increasing substantially on older people in the last 18 months,” Mr Timmins said. “Property tax, a trebling of the prescription charge and soaring energy prices are just some of the increased costs which have been introduced since 2011, with older people having to pay them from a declining income.  The increased costs are on unavoidable elements of their cost of living – a roof over their head, essential medication and heat.”

A number of older people told Age Action during its national pre-Budget consultation earlier this year how they were left to choose between food and fuel during the pro-longed winter and Spring this year.   The inability to afford to heat a home or the inability to afford an adequate diet are among the poverty indicators used to calculate the deprivation rate.

“The cumulative effect of multiple cuts on one side and rising cost and taxes on the other, is hurting many older people and must be addressed by the Government in the October budget,” Mr Timmins said.

 

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A Fair Society for All? Listening to the Voices of Older People

Often, inequalities experienced by older people reflect an accumulated disadvantage which can be as a result of factors such as socio-economic status, health, gender, location. How existing inequalities impact on us as we age is something we in Age Action explored through a panel discussion 10 September – A Fair Society For All? Listening to the Voice of Older People – in Croke Park, on the occasion of the Annual General Meeting 2019.

An audience of over 160 people, including members of Age Action and people working in the ageing sector, joined the conversatoin which included a panel disucssion moderated by the CEO Paddy Connolly. The discussion centred on a discussion paper, Equality for All - Older People for Equality, published by Age Action in advance.The  panel set the scene with inputs from Michael Taft, Economist and political economy columnist, Colette Bennett, Policy Analyst Social Justice Ireland, Deirdre Garvey, CEO The Wheel, Ailbhe Smith, Co-Director of Together for Yes.