Ireland is the latest country to recognise and tackle the problems of an aging population head on.  On Thursday last week a research report was released which considers what the future demand for care will be from the ever increasing elderly population in both Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland.  

The report finds that the projected increase in the demand for care from elderly people is huge.  Moreover, the effects of the increase are being felt already and are not just a thing of the future.  Ireland urgently needs to build up better systems of care if it is to continue to provide quality care for it’s elderly.  Professor Charles Normand from Trinity College Dublin comments:

 This research shows that although older people are living longer and in better health, Ireland will face substantial extra demands for care of older people every year as the population ages. If care in the community and residential care are not developed appropriately, the pressures on the acute hospital system will be unsustainable.

The report was funded by the Centre for Ageing Research and Development in Ireland and led by Professor Charles Normand.  The report brief can be found here.  Key findings are as follows:

By 2021:

– The number of people aged 65+ using residential long term care will rise by 12,270 in the Republic of Ireland (“ROI”), an increase of 59% since 2006. In Northern Ireland (“NI”), the rise will be 4,270, up 45%.

– An additional 23,670 older people in ROI will use formal home care, up 57% since 2006. The extra demand for care from statutory providers in NI will be 4,200, up 37%.

– Demand for all day/daily informal home care by people aged 65+ with disabilities will expand by 23,500 in ROI (57%) and the demand for informal care generally by 11,000 in NI (26%) (Wren et al., 2012).

– 2,833 extra people will require residential or formal home care each year in ROI between now and 2021 and 565 extra people in NI (Wren et al., 2012).

These findings mean that it may be wise to line up some family to make sure you’re cared for if you’re aging in Ireland!  On a different note, thank you for all your lovely well wishes for our new son Thomas.  With figures like these, we may consider training him to care for us in our old age sooner rather than later…

Shannon Roberts

Shannon Roberts is co-editor of MercatorNet's blog on population issues, Demography is Destiny. While she has a background as a barrister, writing has been a life-long passion and she has contributed...