Older people need to ‘rightsize’ their homes – Damien English

Conference aims to develop better housing choices for elderly

 Minister of State for Housing Damien English said his department was  exploring policy options for the housing of older people. Photograph: Dara Mac Donaill

Minister of State for Housing Damien English said his department was exploring policy options for the housing of older people. Photograph: Dara Mac Donaill

 

Older people need better housing options so they can “rightsize” their accommodation to suit their changing needs, according to Minister of State for Housing Damien English.

The Departments of Housing and Health will hold a joint conference on Tuesday with a view to developing plans to enable older people to live in the future homes of their choice.

The conference, which will hear from experts in planning, housing and healthcare, will discuss changing demographics and the importance of developing a wider choice of appropriate housing options for older people suited to their needs.

The aim of the conference is to “encourage and facilitate timely planning by older people” and to rebalance the care model away from residential care to supporting older people to remain living independently at home for longer, Mr English said.

“My department, in conjunction with the Department of Health, is currently exploring policy options for the housing of older people, including supporting housing/ housing with care so that there is a wider range of housing options and choices available to them.”

House design

The development of “sustainable lifetime housing” where the design of homes allows them to be used to the greatest extent possible by all people regardless of their age, size or disability, and the development of urban centres which have a range of housing sizes and types, was also vital, he said.

“This allows older people to choose housing that is appropriate to their needs, which will help them to enjoy more active, healthy and socially connected lives and to age confidently and comfortably within their community,” Mr English said.

“This will help people to choose the most suitable home to meet their needs and enable them to ‘rightsize’ as they move through different stages of their lives.”

The conference will showcase a range of pilot schemes, including the use of assistive technology and home adaptations, which will help older people choose the type of housing most suited to their needs. It will be chaired by broadcaster Vincent Browne, with speakers including architect Dermot Bannon.