Recent research shows that 80% of adults aged 55 and older are positive towards adapting their current home to allow them remain living independently. 33% would consider moving to adapted housing and 80% are negative towards moving into a nursing home. These are the interim findings from Ireland’s Age Friendly Cities and Counties survey (2016) of 5k people aged 55 and older.
Age Friendly Ireland has today, 22nd April 2016, launched a report on “Housing for Older People: Future Perspectives” with recommendations for policy makers and housing providers on developing housing options and choices for older people.
This research examines and compares the housing design, assistive living technologies and social interventions used in the Great Northern Haven development in Dundalk with national and international case studies.
The findings of this research recommend that future housing developments consider:
- Locating new developments close to (within walking distance of) services and Incorporating a universal design approach to allow for flexibility and adaptability of the dwelling in the future.
- Integrating technology into developments which enhance safety and security, support health monitoring, increase comfort and improve social connectedness.
- Integrating social supports into developments which support access to information, find non health service based solutions and reduce demand on formal services
The research indicates that these three elements help people stay living at home for longer, and at a lower cost than in long term care.
Aisling Costello, Age Friendly Ireland says that as people age they spend more time in their own homes. This means that older people’s quality of life, and therefore their health, can depend on how suitable their home is. For many older people, living in adapted or specialist housing reduces reliance on health services and enables them to stay independent for longer.
Commenting ahead of the launch, Eugene Cummins, Chair of the County and City Management Association, Housing Committee (CCMA, HC) and Chief Executive of Roscommon County Council said “The Age Friendly concept resonates significantly with much of the work within the County and City Councils and the communities that they serve. More homes need to be ‘lifetime adaptable’, and designed to meet the changing needs of residents over time. The Councils have a particularly important role to play in building communities that are truly age friendly. This research brings together many of the key learnings gathered through this and other innovative housing and independent living projects and will be a key source of information in pointing the way forward”.
Specific housing designed for older people and their support needs, allows older people improved choice as to how and where they will age. The findings from this study supports the argument that by developing housing that meets the needs of older people in the future, significant improvements can be gained by both the older person in terms of quality of life, and also by the State in terms of potential financial economies.