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COMMENT: Helping our older people to age in place

Monday, 8th April, 2019 7:59am
COMMENT: Helping our older people to age in place

There needs to be choice in housing for older people. PHOTO: BIGSTOCK

COMMENT: Helping our older people to age in place

There needs to be choice in housing for older people. PHOTO: BIGSTOCK

Sean Moynihan, CEO ALONE

IN OUR experience, there needs to be choice in housing to allow older people to age in place. 

This is why we are calling for a ‘spectrum of housing’ that not only takes into consideration the needs of older people from a health, community and social inclusion perspective, but also shows an awareness of the need for different price points. 

 ALONE values the importance of community-based supports to be in place on the ground to enable the older person to overcome challenges, as well as being able to access the benefits and resources that will enable them to remain living at home. 

ALONE estimates that, at any one time, 20 percent of older people require some level of support intervention. 

 Now is the time to begin the process of building communities for people to live in throughout their life-cycle and to support older people to age in place, preparing for the demographic change and addressing gaps in housing options.

 We believe that further planning needs to take place to ensure that this housing is located in areas of high demand, close to people’s current homes. This will ensure that people are not displaced from their communities and forced to move away from their families and social networks. National planning policy should make sites available for local authorities and Approved Housing Bodies to provide more social housing with supports for older people, and for private developers to provide affordable housing. This needs to become an integral part of creating age-friendly communities. 

 The cost of building smaller homes for older people is estimated between €10,000 and €20,000 cheaper than building three and four-bed family homes. This will also reduce the incidence of older people having to remain in acute hospital settings due to lack of housing options available or long delays in housing adaptations, and will reduce the numbers of older people moving to costly nursing home provision due to lack of alternative supports. 

 It is estimated that the cost to the ‘Fair Deal’ scheme will increase by an additional €729m annually by 2031 as a result of demographic changes. The pressure on the private rented sector and HAP Scheme will also reduce. 

 We believe that the delivery of these ambitious targets will depend on an innovative and collaborative approach between all stakeholders, including the Department of Housing Planning and Local Government, Department of Health, local authorities, the HSE and the Approved Housing Body sector.

 

This is why we are calling for a ‘spectrum of housing’ that not only takes into consideration the needs of older people from a health, community and social inclusion perspective, but also shows an awareness of the need for different price points. 

 ALONE values the importance of community-based supports to be in place on the ground to enable the older person to overcome challenges, as well as being able to access the benefits and resources that will enable them to remain living at home. 

ALONE estimates that, at any one time, 20 percent of older people require some level of support intervention. 

 Now is the time to begin the process of building communities for people to live in throughout their life-cycle and to support older people to age in place, preparing for the demographic change and addressing gaps in housing options.

 We believe that further planning needs to take place to ensure that this housing is located in areas of high demand, close to people’s current homes. This will ensure that people are not displaced from their communities and forced to move away from their families and social networks. National planning policy should make sites available for local authorities and Approved Housing Bodies to provide more social housing with supports for older people, and for private developers to provide affordable housing. This needs to become an integral part of creating age-friendly communities. 

 The cost of building smaller homes for older people is estimated between €10,000 and €20,000 cheaper than building three and four-bed family homes. This will also reduce the incidence of older people having to remain in acute hospital settings due to lack of housing options available or long delays in housing adaptations, and will reduce the numbers of older people moving to costly nursing home provision due to lack of alternative supports. 

 It is estimated that the cost to the ‘Fair Deal’ scheme will increase by an additional €729m annually by 2031 as a result of demographic changes. The pressure on the private rented sector and HAP Scheme will also reduce. 

 We believe that the delivery of these ambitious targets will depend on an innovative and collaborative approach between all stakeholders, including the Department of Housing Planning and Local Government, Department of Health, local authorities, the HSE and the Approved Housing Body sector.

 

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