(31 January 2023) Age Action is reiterating their call for Government to set up a Commissioner for Ageing and Older persons to bring an appropriate level of insight, representation and transparency to policy on ageing and older persons, and to help prevent scandals such as the recent revelation of a secret state policy to deter older persons from taking cases to challenge being charged for nursing home care.
“A single, independent office is needed to safeguard and promote the interests of older people now and in the future. Currently, nobody is tasked monitoring and seeking remedies for gaps in policy or inaction that disproportionately impacts older people. The revelation of a secret strategy to frustrate older persons from contesting nursing home fees highlights once again the need for a Commissioner for Ageing and Older Persons to be established as a matter of urgency,” said Celine Clarke, Head of Advocacy and Public Affairs at Age Action.
“There are over one million people over the age of 60 in Ireland today, most of whom do not have access to representative bodies or state resolution mechanisms that are available to employees or business owners. A Commissioner would address this gap by bringing representation and transparency to issues relevant to older people. A Commissioner could investigate and review the adequacy of policy, legislation and services affecting older people” said Clarke.
Responding to media reports of a legal strategy by the State to block or minimise compensation to older persons and their families in relation to nursing home charges, Celine Clarke said “It is clear from the Ombudsman’s Who Cares? report in 2010 and action since that we don’t have transparency, accountability or remedy for people directly affected. We need full disclosure from Government and the Department of Health so we learn lessons to make sure that people who need care receive care regardless of their means, have access to all the information they need to make decisions about their own lives and have access to justice” said Clarke.