Nursing homes and empty houses

 

A chara, – So the bed-blockers have moved on and are now the house-blockers! Who would want to be old in Ireland? Why are we not hearing about “encouraging” owners of holiday homes, unoccupied investment residential properties and Airbnb accommodation to rent them out to longer-term tenants to help solve the housing crisis? But they are mainly prosperous and younger, and they vote. Being old and infirm makes you an easy target.

One 93-year-old nursing home resident whom I visit cannot bring herself to talk about her house. It would be barbaric to put pressure on her to sign it over to someone else.

Our choices greatly reduce with age and infirmity. We all deserve the dignity of choice and choosing to hold on to our sense of who we are. Most people’s sense of themselves is tied in to a sense of place, the home where they have lived their lives. “Which skip company will we get to dispose of your treasured possessions, Mrs Murphy?”

People like my 93-year-old friend did not cause the housing crisis. And remember there is only a matter of years between “us” and the house-blockers.

If we really care the housing crisis can be solved without barbarity towards older people. – Yours, etc,

SEAN KINSELLA,

Rathfarnham,

Dublin 14.