Thursday, 29 April 2021
Covid-19, Mental Health and Older People: Statements
I have had a number of meetings in recent weeks with groups representing older people, including a round table discussion on the mental health of older people in particular. All the groups raised the issue of funding, not just in regard to the amount available but also the consistency and reliability of funding. The lack of multi-annual funding is a major obstacle to their planning. When will we be in a position to commit multi-annual funding for these groups? The groups also raised the issue of the significant degree of red tape that their organisations have to navigate to achieve even small sums of funding. I am all for accountability but there is too much red tape for small pockets of money. We need to make the process easier for repeat applicants who have had prior approval. These groups are saving lives. One older person told me their self-isolation during Covid was spent looking out the window, waiting to die. The groups have given older people some hope and a reason to live. Will the Minister of State commit that something will be done about the red tape for repeat applicants please?
Another issue that arose was that of housing for older people. I know from personal experience that when someone's housing circumstances are precarious, his or her mental health will suffer. I commend my colleagues Councillor Aidan Mullins in Laois and Councillor Noel Connolly in Kildare on recent motions they brought to their respective councils relating to housing for older people. The Government needs to do more to provide suitable homes for older people. Will the Minister of State support or bring forward proposals to deal with the provision of housing for older people?
On the final issue, the completion of works on the Monasterevin day care centre, the Minister of State might be able to find out the answer or she might already know it herself. The works are well overdue are and much needed for the town where I live. The centre will be fantastic for the community. Could we get some answers on that please?