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Age Action response to Budget 2018

Published 10/10/2017

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Age Action, Ireland’s leading advocacy organisation for older people, has welcomed the increase in the State Pension and other incomes supports for older people announced in today’s budget.

Justin Moran, Head of Advocacy and Communications, said: “An increase in the State Pension was the top priority for our members in Budget 2018.

“After years of cuts, new taxes and rising prices we’re very pleased the Government is delivering on the commitments it made to restore the incomes of Ireland’s pensioners.”

However, the organisation expressed its disappointment at the decision to delay the pension increase to the end of March and the failure to reverse the 2012 pension cuts.

Justin Moran continued: “It is disappointing the pension increase is again delayed, especially when it is needed in January and February to help pay heating bills.

“We had also hoped to see progress on reversing the 2012 cut to the State Pension which punished tens of thousands of older people for taking time out of the workforce to care for their families.” 

Telephone & Fuel Allowance

Justin Moran continued: “We’re delighted to see the partial restoration of the Telephone Allowance.

“This was abolished during the recession causing a great deal of frustration and hardship for pensioners on low incomes.

“The Government’s decision to partially restore the allowance, and to commit to an increase in the Fuel Allowance as well, is a sign that it is working to keep older people out of poverty.”

Homecare

Justin Moran said: “Homecare in Ireland is in crisis. Almost 5,000 people are on waiting lists. Home help hours and home care packages are simply not available in many parts of the country.

“It’s worrying that we heard nothing so far about additional resources for homecare and we’ll be hoping the Minister for Health addresses this later on.

“No new funding means more older people forced unnecessarily into nursing homes, more families struggling to cope without home helps and more pressure on carers.”

Prescription charges

Justin Moran continued: Prescription charges increased by 500 per cent during the recession. It is a tax on the sick and the least well-off that affects older people the most as they are more likely to have multiple prescriptions.

“The slight reduction in the cap on the Sick Tax announced today is good news that will help a little to alleviate the financial pressure on older people with health problems but it must be a step towards the abolition of a cruel and unnecessary tax.” 

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Summer Raffle Winners

Congratulations to the winners of our Summer Raffle. We're so grateful to everyone who participated and who raised more than 18,000 euro to support older people in Ireland.

This year's winners were:

1st Prize winner €1,500

S Deegan, Dublin

2nd Prize winner €1,000

A Parks, Dublin

3rd Prize winner €500

M Dangerfield, Dublin

And the winner of our Sellers Prize was:

Sellers Prize €100

M Kane, Galway, €100

Thank you to all who supported the raffle, this is one of our biggest and most reliable fundraisers, so your support makes all the difference.

 

Top tips for staying cool

  • Keep out of the heat. Stay inside during the hottest time of the day – late morning to mid-afternoon. If you do go out, wear a hat and keep to the shade as much as possible. It’s very important to use sun screen of at least factor 15.
  • If you are travelling by car or public transport always take a bottle of water.
  • Avoid strenuous activity and limit activities like housework and gardening to the early morning or evening when it’s cooler.
  • When inside, try to stay in the coolest parts of your home. Keep curtains and blinds closed in rooms that catch the sun. Remember that lights generate heat. Keep windows shut while it’s cooler inside than out and open them when it gets hotter inside. If it’s safe, you could leave a window open at night when it’s cooler. Fans can help sweat evaporate but do not cool the air itself.
  • Wear loose, lightweight, light-coloured cotton clothing.
  • Take cool baths or showers.
  • Splash your face with cold water or place a damp cloth or scarf on the back of your neck to help you cool off.
  • Drink lots of fluid – even if you’re not thirsty. Limit drinks with caffeine (like coffee and cola) and avoid alcohol as it can increase dehydration.
  • Eat normally but try to have more cold foods, particularly salads and fruit as they contain a lot of water.

Dehydration and overheating

Extreme heat and humidity can cause you to dehydrate and your body to overheat. Watch out for certain signs: particularly for muscle cramps in your arms, legs or stomach, mild confusion, weakness or sleep problems. If you have any of these, rest in a cool place and drink plenty of fluids. Seek medical advice if your symptoms persist or worsen.

Heat exhaustion and heatstroke

The symptoms of heat exhaustion include headaches, dizziness, nausea or vomiting, pale skin, heavy sweating and a high temperature.

If you have any of these symptoms you must:

  • find a cool place and loosen tight clothes
  • drink plenty of water or fruit juice
  • sponge yourself with cold water or have a cool shower.

If you’re having difficulty, or your symptoms persist for several hours, seek medical advice. Heatstroke can develop if heat exhaustion is left untreated - but it can also develop suddenly and without warning. The symptoms of heatstroke include hot and red skin, headaches, nausea, intense thirst, raised temperature, confusion, aggression and loss of consciousness. Heatstroke is a life-threatening condition.

So if you or someone else shows symptoms:

  • call 999 immediately or 112 if you are in the European Union (you can call 112 from a mobile for free). If you have a community or personal alarm press the button on your pendant to call for help.
  • while waiting for the ambulance, follow the advice given above for heat exhaustion but do not try to give fluids to anyone who is unconscious.

Further information

If you live alone consider asking a relative or friend to visit or phone to check that you are not having difficulties during periods of extreme heat.

  • If you know a neighbour who lives alone, check they are ok.
  •  Check for weather forecasts and temperature warnings on TV and radio, and online at  https://www.met.ie/warnings
  • If you have breathing problems or a heart condition your symptoms might get worse when it’s very hot.
  • For further advice about heat-related illness contact your GP.