Some 15,000 elderly people who would have qualified for a place in a care home last year will have to remain in their own homes because of new rules, the AD reports on Tuesday.
Since January 1, care homes have only been open to people considered to need serious care – which means people with severe physical problems or who have serious dementia, the AD says.
The new rules stem from the government’s decision to cut €3.5bn from the long-term care budget. The 40,000 people currently in care with disability levels 1, 2 and 3 will be allowed to remain in residential homes.
However, health consultant Wine te Meerman told the AD there is a serious risk that people’s health will worsen and there will be an increase in the number of lonely elderly living alone.
‘Take the elderly woman who has trouble walking and lives in a block of flats,’ Te Meerman said. ‘She is classed as level 3 but does not have any money to buy-in care. But she will have to remain living at home.’
The government hopes friends and family will step in to fill the gap.
The new rules will also lead to many nursing homes closing down, requiring frail elderly people to move to new locations.