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Launch of 'Thinking Ahead - Independent and Supported Housing Models for an Ageing Population'

Launch of 'Thinking Ahead - Independent and Supported Housing Models for an Ageing Population'
27 Nov 2018

Today the Housing Agency launched their report ‘Thinking Ahead: Independent and Supported Housing Models for an Ageing Population’

Download a PDF of ‘Thinking Ahead: Independent and Supported Housing Models for an Ageing Population’

The research was launched at Age Friendly Ireland’s Housing & Public Realm Seminar: Sustainable Housing & Environments to Support Demographic Change and Older People which took place today in The Gibson Hotel, Dublin and was opened by Minister Damien English, TD, Minister of State at the Department of Housing, Planning and Local Government

Earlier research by the Housing Agency identified a gap in the provision of housing for older people that allows older people to live independently but possibly with some level of additional support. It also noted that there was insufficient choice of different housing options for older people to suit them as they age and that, in particular, “new homes with a sliding scale of attendant services (Independent Living with Care) are less well catered for.”

However, this study found that there are many good examples around the country of housing for older people and this report sets out to capture these, showcasing some of the innovative housing projects developed, or being developed, and thereby helping to spread the learning.

The 19 case studies included in this report are from across the country, and vary in size, and in the range of supports provided.

With the assistance of Age Friendly Ireland, Isoilde Dillon and Roslyn Molloy from the Housing Agency visited the housing schemes profiled in this report. During these visits they met with staff; including caretakers, managers and local authority staff, as well as with the people living in these housing schemes. The researchers were shown around the schemes and gathered information on how the schemes were funded and developed, how the housing is allocated, how the schemes are managed and what are the available facilities and supports.  They spoke to residents and visited their homes and found out what they enjoyed about living in their new homes.  The research also collected views from people working in the schemes and captures lessons that were learnt developing and managing the housing. 

This research will be of interest to policy makers, local authorities, housing associations, private developers, planners, architects, older people themselves and others involved in the design and procurement of housing for older people. The findings will increase awareness of design and good practice and can be used in the ongoing work of the Age Friendly Ireland Programme who support the delivery of such training to key practitioners whose actions and decisions have an effect on the lives of older people in Ireland.

The Housing Agency is interested in the future provision of housing for older people for the following reasons:

• The number of people over the age of 80 is set to increase significantly in the coming years. If we do not ensure that we have an adequate provision of age friendly homes, many of these people will find themselves living in unsuitable homes. Providing older people with suitable housing options, that facilitate independence and choice and the opportunity to maintain social contacts, is therefore good for the person themselves and good for society as a whole.

• Providing older people with the opportunity to live in (right size) housing, appropriate to their needs, facilitates good use of the existing housing stock.

• Enabling people to maintain their independence reduces the demand for more costly forms of care.

Speaking about the research Minister Damien English, TD, Minister of State at the Department of Housing, Planning and Local Government said ‘This is an important body of research conducted by the Housing Agency and marks further progress creating a true Age Friendly Ireland. It will be of immense value to the key practitioners in this area who can learn from the innovative, good practice examples outlined within the report’