Ireland Housing and planning

Cork Older People’s Council – attending the National Housing Summit 2018


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Elizabeth Maddox, Chair of Cork Older Peoples Council

It was a great experience for me to attend the National Housing Summit at Farmleigh House on the 20th November 2018.  It was a huge honour to have the opportunity to listen to different ideas going forward for housing for the ageing population and those with accessibility issues.

As a family carer myself, I know how important it is for a person to live in their own home and in their own community.  In order for that to be a success it is imperative that there is full support from the local and State Agencies.

We saw fine examples on the day of the successful achievements taking place around the Country.  We heard the passion from Minister Jim Daily T.D. Minister of State for Mental Health and Older People.  I feel that the Minister has a great understanding for the need for more home care rather than placing people in a nursing home if that’s not their wish.

Liz Downes, Vice Chair of Cork Older Peoples Council

I thoroughly enjoyed the National Housing Summit in Farmleigh.  I believe that a range of housing choices for older people is needed.  This may include nursing homes when it is timely for people to enter residential care and other options which were outlined at the conference.

There was a new scheme presented  that proposed that people living alone in a large house should convert one section of it into a bed sitter and the ageing person would have her own apartment within the house. He or she would be paid rent that could supplement their income. The older person may feel more secure by having a tenant in the house.  However I would be concerned about this being suitable for rural areas.  I feel that it might be easier to roll out in urban areas.  I would have concerns such as the legal side; in what way it would affect the person’s children, how would the tenants be chosen, would they be Garda vetted, would they have to sign a tenancy contract?

I feel that the way to go is to build houses for the ageing population with supports on site such as day centres, meals on wheels, and a nurse on duty.  We could create an integrated system of care, with healthcare professionals working closely together and have an increased sense of security and wellbeing.

It would be important that everyone would have a key to their own door. By doing this, the older person would feel more at home, feel very secure and live independently. It would be very important to have a sensory garden and seating outdoors so they could reminisce on time gone by, enjoy being outdoors, smell fresh flowers etc.  Young people doing their Gaisce awards (President’s Award) could use visiting the ageing population as part of their community services. They could teach them basic computer skills and as part of that interaction, the ageing population could teach them knitting/sewing and card playing.