Senator Robbie Gallagher says that the Government is failing to promote the Personal Alert Scheme for older people. The scheme, which provides personal alarms for older people to enable them to continue living securely in their own home has been seriously affected by the decision of the previous Fine Gael/Labour Government to abolish the telephone allowance for older people.
“The alarms are monitored on a 24/7 basis and allow older people who get into difficulty to receive instant support from family and friends or the emergency services, however this cruel cutback resulted in many older people giving up their landline telephone. The Personal Alert Scheme needs a landline to function correctly,” he explained.
“A recent parliamentary reply to Fianna Fáil has confirmed that the Personal Alert Scheme is significantly undersubscribed despite the fact that Pobal and Muintir na Tíre have pointed out that marginalisation amongst older people is on the rise, especially for those living in rural areas.
“€800,000, or 31% of the total earmarked for the scheme last year, went unspent. When you consider the number of older people who could benefit from the scheme if they had greater awareness of its availability. The Government should be using the remaining unspent money at the end of the year to promote the availability of the scheme,” he said.
“We know that people prefer to live in their own homes for as long as possible when they get older. We also know that it costs less to support people to do so. This scheme is one of many that supports that do just that. However many older people feel isolated in their own homes. The Personal Alert Scheme works well for those that have access to it, and the Governments should be focused on promoting the scheme,” concluded Senator Gallagher.