Lat­est blow for el­derly as mo­bil­ity scheme col­lapses

BUD­GET CUTS FUNDS RUN OUT FOR VI­TAL FA­CIL­I­TIES SUCH AS CHAIR-LIFTS

Bray People - - Bray People - Mary FOG­A­RTY

A SCHEME fund­ing stair-lifts, handrails and spe­cial show­ers for el­derly peo­ple and those with dis­abil­i­ties has col­lapsed, there be­ing no more money in the Wick­low cof­fers for the grants and no guar­an­tee of any forth­com­ing amidst lo­cal au­thor­ity bud­get cuts next year.

Wick­low County Coun­cil was ini­tially al­lo­cated just over € 1 mil­lion by the Depart­ment of the En­vi­ron­ment com­pared to al­most dou­ble that in Meath and Wex­ford, and €1.5 mil­lion in Kil­dare.

‘If you can’t get up the stairs to go to the toi­let then it’s only a mat­ter of time be­fore you have to go to a nurs­ing home,’ said Ea­monn Tim­mins of Age Action Ire­land, who said that the em­pha­sis should be on keep­ing older peo­ple in their own homes.

Mr. Tim­mins also added that the 15,000 peo­ple over 70 who marched on Dail Eire­ann last week de­mand­ing the re­turn of the med­i­cal card are ‘pre­par­ing the way for the rest of us’.

He said that to see ex­ist­ing en­ti­tle­ments be­ing taken away was un­ac­cept­able.

‘It is ab­so­lutely dis­grace­ful that thou­sands of peo­ple with mo­bil­ity im­pair­ments and who need mod­i­fi­ca­tions car­ried out in their homes will not now even have their applications looked at,’ said Cllr. Anne Fer­ris, who ex­plained that the Hous­ing Adap­ta­tion Scheme is the re­sult of a merger of the Dis­abled Per­sons Grant Scheme and the Hous­ing Aid for the El­derly Scheme.

‘Th­ese adap­ta­tion in­clude stair­lifts, show­ers, handrails and other mod­i­fi­ca­tions that make an enor­mous dif­fer­ence to the lives of those who use them,’ she said.

‘I would urge the Min­is­ter for the En­vi­ron­ment, John Gorm­ley, to con­cen­trate on the most vul­ner­a­ble in our so­ci­ety and to en­sure that there is fund­ing to pro­vide for this es­sen­tial scheme.’

This comes along­side the an­nounce­ment that lo­cal au­thor­ity bud­gets are ex­pected to be cut back by al­most 7 per cent next year.

Fund­ing for vi­tal home fa­cil­i­ties for the el­derly, such as chair-lifts, has been slashed.

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