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According to a new report, ageism exacerbated the impact of Covid-19 on older people. According to a new report from Irish NGOs, many older people’s end-of-life wishes were not sought or honored during the pandemic.

The report, ‘Telling It Like It Is,’ released today, states that older adults expressed their increased challenges during the pandemic and called for a post-pandemic focus on reclaiming their positive role in society.

Additionally, the report discovered a deep sense of frustration over time that could not be reclaimed.

Sue Shaw, CEO of the Irish Senior Citizens Parliament, said the report demonstrates that the elderly did not feel heard by decision-makers during the lockdown.

Ms Shaw told RTÉ’s Morning Ireland that the negative consequences of cocooning outweigh the benefits, with many older people feeling lonely, fearful, and isolated. As a result of the anxiety and extremely difficult circumstances, all other determinants of older adults’ quality of life and health were pushed to the side.

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A very problematic situation

Six out of ten older adults participate in regular social activities, which have vanished overnight. She added that older adults must be recognized as contributors to society, rather than as individuals with limited skills or abilities.

This report shows that we need to ensure that policies affecting older adults take their skills, experience, and knowledge into account . Older people’s experience of the crisis could have been less severe if more consideration had been given to how pandemic measures would affect them. Lockdown was an extreme mistake

It demonstrates that ageism was a factor in many of the decisions made. Older generations despised the term ‘cocooning,’ believing it to be fundamentally ageist. People’s health deteriorated as non-Covid health services were reduced and opportunities for exercise were reduced. Unsurprisingly, the rate of depression increased.

A very broad report backed by other facts

The Alliance of Age Sector Non-Governmental Organizations, which includes Active Retirement Ireland, Age & Opportunity, ALONE, The Alzheimer Society of Ireland, Irish Hospice Foundation, The Irish Senior Citizens Parliament, and Third Age, released the report. This mirrors a survey commissioned by Safeguarding Ireland, which shows the widely held belief the rights of adult people with disabilities are not adequately respected or upheld in Ireland.

This problematics echoes extremely needed regulation on the protection of independent adult RED C’s recent survey of 1,000 people demonstrates the critical need for stronger supports for independent decision-making.

  • 76 percent of respondents said that stronger safeguarding laws are necessary to protect the rights of disabled people.
  • 43 percent of respondents disagreed with the assertion that people with intellectual disabilities in Ireland are adequately supported in making their own choices.
  • 40% disagreed that people with physical disabilities are sufficiently supported in Ireland to make their own choices.

According to Safeguarding Ireland, the survey demonstrates the critical need for progress on adult safeguarding legislation, which aims to protect all citizens at risk of abuse, exploitation, or neglect.

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According to Chairperson Patricia Rickard-Clarke, the implementation of the Assisted Decision Making Act, which is scheduled to take effect next year, is critical. The Act, which was signed into law in 2015, aims to maximize an individual’s right to make their own decisions, whenever possible with legally recognized supports. It has not, however, begun. A significant provision of the Act is the repeal of the current wards of court system, which was established by the 1871 Lunacy Regulation Act.

It will be phased out in favor of a person-centered framework that maximizes the autonomy of individuals who require assistance making decisions about their personal welfare, property, and financial affairs.

Roderic O’Gorman, the Minister responsible for the Act’s implementation, explained the delay in a written response to Fianna Fáil TD Éamon Cuv in June.

He stated that when the Decision Support Service becomes operational, it must be able to address the complex decision-making needs of people with capacity difficulties. While this is course not targeted towards senior specifically, this will maybe provide an important step towards support of very advanced age people, allowing for a better care. Each individual with a disability is unique and has unique needs. Each individual should be encouraged to make their own choices, take risks, and, of course, make mistakes in life, as we all do.

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