Wednesday 21 March 2018

Duhallow seniors can sign up for alarms after increased funding announced

As Duhallow has the highest ageing population in the country, the additional funding now available for the seniors alert scheme following an upsurge in applications for the free personalised alarms for people over 65 years is to be welcomed.

That is the view of Cllr Gerard Murphy (FG) who said the objective of the scheme is to encourage community support for vulnerable older people in communities through the provision of personal monitored alarms to enable older people of limited means to continue to live securely in their homes with confidence, independence and peace of mind.

Initially, Minister for Rural and Community Development, Michael Ring allocated €2.3 million for the scheme in October but the rate of applications nationally quadrupled in November after Minister Ring widened the eligibility criteria which in turn led to an additional funding of €400,000.

Cllr Murphy said it is vital that many of our older people avail of the scheme as possible. There is free personal monitoring of the alarm for the first 12 months after which the person then pays a small fee.

Separately, Cllr Murphy said that GP visit cards and extra funding for respite care will help carers and people with disabilities in Duhallow. The new measures will see all carers in receipt of the Carer's Allowance qualify for a GP visit card, while and additional €10 million in funding will be rolled out to provide respite care for persons with disabilities.

Cllr Murphy said he hopes the new measures will go some way in helping the "many devoted carers and people with disabilities in Duhallow."

"We have all witnessed the strain which many families are under in caring for a loved one, a role which is taken on without hesitation. But carers themselves also need support. The new measure will ensure that everyone who is a carer and in receipt of Carer's Allowance and who up to now has not qualified on means or age grounds will now be able to attend a GP free of charge. This will be implemented in 2018, subject to the drafting of the necessary legislation," said Cllr Murphy.