The Carers Association is shocked to learn of the over 50 per cent cut to the Senior Alert Scheme budget, from €2.45 million in 2012 to €1.15 million in 2013, by the Department of Environment, Community and Local Government.
This scheme provides personal monitored alarms and pendants to older people living alone in their communities and is seen as vital in supporting older people to live longer in their own homes, many in the South Tipp area.
“The recent shocking case of an elderly lady attacked in Donegal highlighted the importance of such an alarm as the victim was able to contact the guards using her pendant following the brutal attack. These alarms are saving lives yet Government cannot see their value?” says Catherine Cox, Communications Manager, The Carers Association.
“This is yet another example of hitting the most vulnerable in society and hoping they will not fight back. Thousands of family carers are reliant on these personal alarms for peace of mind for their loved ones. If a family carer needs to leave the home for a few hours they have some sense of security knowing that if their loved one is in difficulty they can use their pendant to alert the appropriate authorities.”
Other proposed changes in criteria for the Scheme will mean that an elderly couple living together, where a spouse is caring for a highly dependent loved one, will no longer qualify for the grant as they will not be deemed to be living alone.
“This cut to the Senior Alert Scheme budget comes on top of the suspension of Housing Adaptation grants across the country for people with disabilities and their carers. The Carers Association is calling on the Department to reinstate the funding for personal alarms for family carers and older people in our communities with immediate effect” concluded Catherine Cox.