Friday 20 October 2017

Politicians must act: growing old shouldn't mean being afraid

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Stock picture

Justin Moran

'I cannot afford either life or home insurance," she wrote. "I have to go to bed early to save on heating and electricity. My husband passed away last year and I still have not paid off his funeral expenses. We did have life insurance but they cut it because we couldn't keep up the payments."

Older people have a great life. We hear it so often there must be some truth to it, despite what our members tell us in the run-up to the Budget. They're living in big houses that they should really sell so that others can buy them and they should go somewhere else - only no one ever seems to be that concerned where that somewhere is.

The State pension wasn't cut during the recession so they must have done well, we're told, never mind the cuts of more than €13 a week in secondary income supports or the changes to the State pension system in 2012 that punished carers, women and the self-employed. Too often we see older people as the problem, as dependants, bed-blockers, a pensions timebomb, as almost a different species rather than our future selves.

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