Picture credit: Diarmuid Greene/Fusionshooters.
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.
Age Friendly Ireland were established in January 2014 as an intermediary organisation, Age Friendly Ireland coordinates the national Age Friendly Cities and Counties Programme. The Programme brings together, supports and provides technical guidance to the 31 local authority-led, multi-agency Age Friendly City and County Programmes in every local authority area. Age Friendly Ireland provides the links between the National Positive Ageing Strategy and the Global Age-friendly Cities Guide, published by the World Health Organisation (WHO) in 2007. The Age Friendly Cities and Counties Programme represents the formal localisation, in Ireland, of this defined global programme. The WHO programme involves a multi-agency, multi-sectoral approach to age-related planning and service provision. Applying this methodology consistently throughout the country Age Friendly Ireland helps cities and counties to be more inclusive of older people by addressing their expressed concerns.
Age Friendly Ireland actively promotes partnerships and collaborations. The Age Friendly Cities and Counties Programme is run by effective city- and county-based Alliances, involving senior decision-makers from public, commercial and not-for-profit organisations. Age Friendly Ireland assists Alliances aim to streamline the work of all key players at local level, putting the views, interests and needs of older people at their core. Through an Older People’s Council in each participating local authority area older people exercise a strong, guiding influence on age-friendly local development.
Age Friendly Ireland provides guidance to the Alliances as they consult widely with older people. The Age Friendly City and County Strategies which the Alliances draw up are based squarely on the expressed views, needs and interests of older people. Through an Alliance’s Age Friendly Strategy, participating service providers and businesses become accountable to each other, and to older people, for the age-friendly actions they take. Age Friendly Ireland develops tools and methodologies for age-friendly practitioners at frontline and management levels. It works as a hub for knowledge transfer, brokering connections and information exchange between agency officials, service providers and older people, both locally and nationally. The aim is to ensure the exchange of age-friendly best practices that older people want and value, and which are appropriate, sustainable and cost-effective.
Age Friendly Ireland offers access to valid, reliable and timely evidence on the lives of older people in Ireland through its partnership with the Department of Health and the HSE on the Healthy and Positive Ageing. Initiative (HaPAI). This work offers a baseline against which Ireland can measure progress on positive ageing.
Find out more information on the Age Friendly Ireland website here
Read more on the I Love Limerick site here