‘Housing Adaptation Grant falls short of meeting housing needs of older people’, says ALONE

ALONE, the organisation that supports older people, has today said that the €75 million announced by the Minister for Housing Darragh O’Brien for the Housing Adaptation Grants falls short of the required investment needed to support older people to make their homes age-friendly. According to a survey report published in June 2018 under the Healthy and Positive Ageing Initiative (HaPAI), a survey of people aged 55 and over (Gibney, et al., 2018), 55% of older people were experiencing housing facility problems, housing maintenance and housing condition issues.[1] Since 2018 and subsequent to the pandemic, ALONE believe this figure is only increasing.

While the grant is an increase of €2 million on 2020, it is nearly €10 million below what is needed to meet demand of an ageing population.

The fund is administered by local authorities and contains three schemes in the Housing Aid for Older People, the Housing Adaptation Grant for People with a Disability and the Mobility Aids Grant Scheme. The aim of these schemes is to support older people, those with a disability and people with mobility issues to adapt their home to make it more suitable, liveable and age-friendly to their needs.

However, research by ALONE shows that an investment of €84.5 million is needed in the form of home adaptation grants specifically to support older people to upgrade existing homes to age-friendly standards[2].

Commenting on the Housing Adaptation Grant, CEO of ALONE Seán Moynihan said; “While ALONE welcomes the €75 million in Housing Adaptation Grant announced, which will no doubt help some people to adapt their homes to suitable living standards, it falls short of the required investment needed to make a meaningful difference to older people given the expected increase in the ageing population in Ireland.

“In our report Housing Choices for Older People in Ireland we have shown that an investment of €84.5 million is needed every year over the next ten years in housing adaptation grants through the Housing Aid for Older People scheme. This is particularly important as the over 60s population in Ireland is to increase from 866,317 in 2016 to over 1.3 million by 2031.

“The Housing Adaptation is just one part of an integrated approach needed to meet the housing needs for older people in Ireland. We need to ensure that schemes to support older people to age at home are adequately resourced and that the right housing options are being developed and invested in.”

From ALONE’s Housing Choices for Older People in Ireland report, a number of housing options and investments are needed over the next ten years to meet the housing needs of the ageing population, including*;

  • 45,905 dedicated social housing units
  • 15,556 shared housing in the community units
  • 36,987 places in residential nursing homes, as part of multi-purpose complexes.

About ALONE

ALONE is a national organisation that strives to enable older people to age at home, safely and securely, for as long as they wish. We work with all older people, including those who are lonely, isolated, frail or ill, homeless, living in poverty, or are facing other difficulties. We provide an integrated system of Support Coordination, Practical Supports, Befriending, a variety of Phone Services, Social Prescribing, Housing with Support, and assistive technology. We use support plans, provide a point of contact for access to health, social care, housing, transport and other arising needs using technology and other services and activities to improve physical, emotional and mental wellbeing.

We have an engaged fleet of nearly 3,000 volunteers who are matched to older people through our Support and Telephone Befriending initiative. Our volunteers offer their time by linking in with their older person through visits, conducting practical supports and being a companion.

 

*Housing Choices for Older People in Ireland

Housing units required to meet housing needs of older people over the next ten years

Housing type Response 10-year indicative requirements
Dedicate social housing for older people Supportive Housing 41,564 units
Housing with Supports 4,341 units
Dispersed housing Making existing homes age-friendly €84.5 million per annum
 

 

Shared housing in the community

Retirement villages 6,778 units
Older persons’ co-housing communities 6,778 units
Home sharing 1,000 units
Split housing 1,000 units
Boarding Out 750 people
Residential nursing care  units Quality nursing homes developed as part of multi-purpose complexes 36,987 places

 

The full report can be accessed by clicking here.

 

[1] Gibney, S. et al., 2018. Positive ageing in age friendly cities and counties: local indicators report, Dublin: Department of Health.

[2] Via the Housing Aid for Older People Scheme

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