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Major Fears on Pensions & Health Care, Priority Election Issues

“Older adults express fears regarding pensions and health care, thus making them priority election issues” says Ind. TD Deputy Michael Lowry.

Older adults and elderly people across Tipperary are living in fear. With a growing aging population in the county, those approaching pension age are living in a no man’s land, with news that the age they will qualify for the State Pension is set to rise to 67, two years after most of them could be forced to retire.

Ind. TD Mr Michael Lowry with members of the Templemore Active Retirement Group.

Elderly people live in fear of becoming ill and facing a gruelling time on a hospital trolley, being discharged as fast as possible from hospital and having no health care package when they arrive home.

The elderly fear crime as statistics show an increased level of burglary and attacks on the elderly in their homes.

These people have, for the greater part, worked all their lives, paid their taxes, raised their families and contributed to society. The golden years they worked towards are becoming a time to dread and a far cry from what they expected they would be.

Older adults and elderly people are gone beyond anger and disillusionment – they are worried and afraid. I hear their stories every day, each one unique but with worrying similarities and I am totally committed to doing everything I possibly can to highlight their plight and fight beside them and for them if I am re-elected.

The country was rocked by the news that the age at which people can claim the State pension, which had risen from 65 to 66 just five years ago, is now set to rise to 67 by early next year. At present, some people are obliged to retire from the workplace at 65 and are already facing making Social Welfare claims to cover the gap year, until they reach 66. In many cases they cannot get any payments after 9 months, so raising the age to 67 could result in people having no income for up to 15 months between retirement and qualifying for the pension.

A suggestion that the compulsory retirement age of 65 be abolished in line with longer life expectancy, has been met with strong resistance in many areas, not least of which, from young workers hoping to enter the workplace. Some feel that workers may welcome the opportunity to work longer, but there remains no one-size-fit solution that addresses the concerns of people due to retire in the near future.

Platitudes from some politicians on introducing a ‘transition pension’ while people wait to reach the age of 67, are being dismissed as lacking in detail and substance and the majority of people I am meeting are not feeling any reassurance from these statements.

The voices of older people will be amongst the loudest in this Election campaign. I will be adding my voice to theirs as their concerns need to be heard. Supporting the needs of our older and elderly people has never been more important and I am committed to helping them in every way I can.

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