Tuesday 17 September 2019

Case study: The Pensioner

‘Pension rise welcome, but those living alone need more help’

Increases have potential to do a lot of good: Francesca Lundstrom (76), from Sutton, Dublin. Photo: Mark Condren
Increases have potential to do a lot of good: Francesca Lundstrom (76), from Sutton, Dublin. Photo: Mark Condren
Ian Begley

Ian Begley

For 76-year-old Francesca Lundstrom, the €5 State pension increase came as a welcome relief.

Ms Lundstrom, from Sutton, Dublin, said Budget 2019 had the potential to do a lot of good for older people.

"I'm delighted that pensioners are getting an increase in their pension, but it's unfortunate that it won't be introduced until March.

"The fact that the Christmas bonus has been restored is also great. The holidays are often a huge financial burden for older people, some can't even afford a Christmas dinner, so this will certainly be very much appreciated.

"I also welcome that the fuel allowance has been increased as the winter can be a very expensive time for the elderly."

However, Ms Lundstrom was disappointed that nothing had been done for older people living alone.

"There are thousands of elderly people living on their own and it can be extremely difficult for those, especially in rural Ireland.

"The cost of living by yourself is obviously a lot more expensive compared with having a shared income with someone else. It's a shame nothing was done."

Ms Lundstrom also expressed her relief that there wouldn't be any grants for elderly childminders. She believes a scheme such as this would only put pressure on older people to look after their grandchildren.

"I would much rather see the Government provide cheaper childcare services for parents. Nowadays, people are having kids at a much older age and grandparents tend to be looking after them while they're at work each day.

"It may be ok for someone in their 60s, but looking after several children five days a week is just too exhausting for people in their 70s and 80s," she said.

"I would be afraid that any grant for elderly childminders would only set an unfair standard."

Alone, the charity supporting older people, welcomed the increase to the pension, but also called for further action.

"For pensioners living alone in rural areas, the income from a contributory pension will only meet the cost of 85pc of their expenses.

We hoped this year's Budget would reach the halfway point of an increase of €6.50 and are disappointed the €5 increase is delayed until March 2019."

Irish Independent

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