The number of pensioners in Ireland is likely to almost double in the next fifteen years, according to a policy briefing from Social Justice Ireland.
The report predicts that the number of people aged 65 or over will increase by 86.4% by the year 2031. That is an increase of nearly one million people.
The next 15 years will also see the number of people aged 85 and over increase by around 136,000, which is an increase of 132.8%.
Researchers have warned that this could put a huge strain on infrastructure.
Dr Sean Healy, director of Social Justice Ireland, said: “This level of population ageing will be associated with higher levels of disability and long-term ill-health and now is the time for planning and investment.”
While the number of elderly people is set to increase, worrying figures show that the help they receive has been going down. There has been a 17% reduction in the number of home help hours delivered since 2008.
Michelle Murphy, a research and policy analyst, said: “With an ageing population the acute hospital system will be unable to operate effectively unless there is a greater shift towards primary and community services as a principal means of meeting patient needs.
“A commitment to supporting people at home is only aspirational if funding is not provided for home help services, day care centres and home care packages.
“These are the very areas which must be the subject of investment to address population ageing.”
Written by Michael Kehoe @michaelcalling