Ireland is in the grip of an ageing crisis – and the state will need to intervene

Lack of planning has created a ticking time bomb of an ageing population, a falling number of homeowners who will have equity to help pay for their own care, and nursing homes run mostly by the private sector

According to ESRI, one in five private family-owned nursing homes closed between 2020 and 2022, and 14 private equity-backed operators now control 40 per cent of beds in the sector. Picture: Getty

The revelation that private equity firms have become the dominant player in the nursing home market has generated acres of mostly unfavourable coverage. The consensus is that it is an abdication of the state’s responsibility to leave a large chunk of the elderly population at the mercy of ‘for-profit’ operators.

But the controversy over who runs the nursing homes is a minor subplot in a much bigger story about the demographic timebomb that will blow ...