New report predicts significant rise in demand for long-term care in Ireland

Report highlights variations in care provision

A new report  (Thursday, 25 October 2012) finds that the number of older people needing long-term care is set to increase significantly in the years to 2021. It finds that there will be an annual increase of 2,833 older people requiring residential care or home help in the Republic of Ireland and 565 in Northern Ireland.   If the ability of families to care informally is not sustained at its present high level, these increased needs for formal care will be greater.

The report also highlights survey evidence that 14 per cent of older people with disabilities living in the community in the Republic of Ireland in 2006 received no care compared with 2 per cent in Northern Ireland.

The researchers conclude that the issue of care provision for older people on the island of Ireland must be urgently addressed to meet the projected rise in demand for long-term residential and home care.

The research funded by the Centre for Ageing Research and Development in Ireland (CARDI) was conducted by the Centre for Health Policy and Management at Trinity College Dublin and the Centre for Public Health at Queen’s University Belfast.

Professor Charles Normand from Trinity College Dublin  says:

“This research shows that although older people are living longer and in better health, Ireland will face substantial extra demands for care of older people every year as the population ages. If care in the community and residential care are not developed appropriately, the pressures on the acute hospital system will be unsustainable."

The report finds that by 2021:

  • The number of people aged 65+ needing residential long term care will rise by 12,270 in ROI, an increase of 59% since 2006. In NI, the rise will be 4,270, up 45%.
  • An additional 23,670 older people in ROI will need formal home care, up 57% since 2006. The extra demand for home care from statutory providers in NI will be 4,200, up 37%.
  • Demand for all day/daily informal home care by people aged 65+ with disabilities will expand by 23,500 in ROI (57%) and the demand for informal care generally by 11,000 in NI (26%). 

The report is based on findings from a research project aimed at developing a predictive model of future long-term care demand in Ireland, North and South. The research examined current use of formal residential care and formal and informal home care by older people and developed a model for future needs based on the ageing population and changes in age- related disability.

Professor Davis Coakley, Co-Chair of CARDI welcomed the findings: “We are delighted to have funded this valuable and timely piece of research which highlights the important issue of catering for the long term care needs of our older people.”

A research brief based on the findings of the research and background information has been prepared by CARDI and is available here or by emailing

See Older News...