Elderly home project might be template for care provision in Northern Ireland

News Letter editorial of Thursday August 19 2021:

Thursday, 19th August 2021, 11:53 am
Updated Thursday, 19th August 2021, 12:30 pm
News Letter editorial

Care for the elderly is one of the biggest challenges facing wealthy nations such as the United Kingdom.

As this column was noting yesterday, and as is obvious, huge strides in life expectancy have been a miracle of modern medicine, but have brought with them fresh problems for society.

With far more people living into the sort of age in which they are likely to suffer from age related conditions then far more people need care beds than previously.

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And it is not a mild rise in demand but a huge one.

If life expectancy rises from, say, 70 to 75 it might not sound that much, but if people were retiring at 65 their retirement years have doubled from five to 10.

The rises are in fact even more dramatic than that. Very many people have been retiring before 65 and living well into the 80s, often into their 90s.

That means financial provision must last far longer than it once did, and that physical assistance might be needed for many years beyond what was once required.

The method of funding care is entirely broken in the UK. Politicians are too frightened of asking people to contribute more, and so it has become a lottery. If people are lucky, they never need help. Others move into expensive care homes for many years and lose most of their life savings to pay for it.

More beds are certainly needed, but nobody wants to move older people into modern sanitoriums.

Today we report on a flagship project of Belfast Central Mission, a new site near Donaghadee called Copelands that will become home to 60 elderly residents.

It will have facilities such as a cinema-style screening room and a craft room.

We wish this project great success as a happy environment for its new inhabitants and hope that it can be a template for the sort of care provision that will be increasingly needed across Northern Ireland.

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