“We now need certainty that the physical and emotional needs that have built up since the onset of the pandemic are recognised and provided for.
“In the 2020 report on Mental Health Services for older people, the Mental Health Commission pointed out that older people’s mental health ‘is an increasingly important area of public policy that does not get the attention it deserves’.
“It went on to say that the levels of unmet mental health needs amongst older people ‘are extremely high and improving current services is necessary’.
“It is therefore extremely important that the funding that will be made available to enable the adaptation of centres is accompanied by an increased availability of mental health staff, occupational therapists, physiotherapists and the other support workers our older people will need to address their mental and physical health needs.
“We must also remember the Family Carers across Co Tipperary who have been so instrumental in looking after the wellbeing of many older people throughout the pandemic, many of whom are older people themselves.
“Their needs must not be forgotten; rather, their selfless efforts must be acknowledged and recognised by reversing the decades-old neglect of the sector.
“This pandemic is not over. But as we look to the future, it must be acknowledged that we will be living with the effects of the restrictions for quite some time.
“That is why we need a roadmap which is not just about the reopening of society but addresses how we support those who will need help to overcome the consequences of the measures that had to be taken.
“We also need a well-thought-out contingency plan to support our older people in case Covid variants mean further measures will have to be taken in the future.
“I would like to thank all the carers, homes support workers and volunteers who continue to work tirelessly to provide for, and alleviate the isolation felt by Tipperary’s older people.”