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Rethinking Housing Options for Senior Citizens


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Retirement Villages in Every Irish Community

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Rethinking Housing Options for Senior Citizens

  1. 1. Rethinking Housing Options for Senior Citizens Retirement Villages in Every Irish Community Pat O’Mahony , January 2021
  2. 2. ‘The only thing that is constant is change’ Heraclitus, Greek Philosopher 535 – 475 BC
  3. 3. ‘We need as much attention paid to the last- time buyer as the first-time buyer.’ Baroness Valerie Howarth, UK All Party Parliamentary Group (Housing our Ageing Population: Panel for Innovation) HAPPI 3 Inquiry Session, 9 December 2015.
  4. 4. Ireland I grew up in very different to today: • People knew their neighbours. • Families looked after their elderly relatives who usually died at home, surrounded by family and friends. • The home was often multi-generational. • Someone always in the home to provide care and companionship for the older person. • May have had less worldly goods than they do today, but they were rich in social capital, family & community ties.
  5. 5. Need a paradigm shift in thinking about the ‘home’
  6. 6. Background – Global & National • People are living longer - increasing longevity a permanent feature of socio-economic landscape. • Irish Life expectancy 66 in 1950. • Life expectancy by 2.5 years since 2006 – 83.6 for women and 79.9 for men.
  7. 7. Background – Global & National • Proportion of population 65+ • 2016 (10%) • 2031 (18.5%) • 2041 (22.3%) • 2041, the number 65+ will reach 1.4 million and the number over 80 will grow by 400% from 128,000 (2011) to 480,000.
  8. 8. Newbridge – Kildare Municipal District
  9. 9. Kildare Municipal Districts
  10. 10. Background – Kildare – 65+ • 2016 (5,347 – 10%), • 2031 (9,900 – 18.5%) • 2041 (12,000 – 22.3%) In each of 3 Municipal Districts: • Newbridge-Kildare • Naas • Clane-Maynooth
  11. 11. Key data about our elderly • 13% 65+ don’t engage in a social leisure activity • 26% 65+ engage in political activities – 50% of Swedish engagement • 4.3% 65+ participate in informal education • Potential for 65+ volunteering under- exploited • 7.1% of 50+ often feel lonely • 1/10 men & 1/20 women 52+ do not have a supportive relationship • Transport challenge for significant proportion – increases with age – only 46% of 75+ drive regularly • At 65 women & men can expect 12.3 and 11.4 years good health • 24% of 75+ have disability • After 65 significant increase in prevalence of chronic disease: 78.5% of 75+
  12. 12. Key data about our elderly • After 65 cognitive impairment increases appreciably: 44 % 75+ mild cognitive impairment • 37% of 75+ difficulty going outside home alone • 36% of 55 to 74 obese, 43% overweight & 33.5% report low levels of physical activity • 9% of 50+ report severe depressive symptoms • 14% of 70+ received homecare services in previous 12 months • 6.4% of 52 to 64 report moderate to severe levels of anxiety – but anxiety declines with age • Life satisfaction improves with age – 86% over 75 report ‘high level satisfaction’ • 51% over 75 feel they have control over their lives – important to quality of life • 19% 50+ report an unmet need for a community care service – resulting in avoidable hospital and nursing home admissions
  13. 13. Key data about our elderly • 13% 50 to 64 & 11% 65+ report living in homes unsuited to their needs • 48 % 50+ report poor housing conditions – leaks, damp, inadequate heating, pests, etc. • 10% of homes with someone over 65 unable to keep home adequately warm • 14% of 50+ have trouble accessing essential services – transport, banking, post … • 33% 65+ difficulty accessing social facilities – cinema, cultural activities • 8.2% 65+ difficulty accessing recreational or green areas – which promote wellbeing • 44% 50+ report low neighbourhood social capital (trust, relationships & reciprocity) – worse in urban than rural communities • 27% of 65 to 74 don’t feel safe in their home and local area
  14. 14. Key data about our elderly • Elder abuse increasing • 67% of 75+ feel they continue to grow as individuals • 75+ use hospital emergency departments heavily • 82% 75+ report having at least one specific health condition as compared to 20% of 15-24 year-olds • 75+ visit their GP more frequently (6.4 visits per year) than do 15-24 year- olds (2.5 visits). • 75+ have marginally less healthy diets than younger people • Fewer 75+ drink alcohol BUT those that drink do so more frequently than younger cohorts.
  15. 15. Elderly – Housing Needs & Preferences • Older people not planning for future housing needs – poor awareness of options • Those who have down-sized and moved nearer interests are happy with move – provided it was their decision. • Potential market for 100,000 ‘step-down’ homes - €25billion • Need for a non-profit with suitable skill-set to lead development of ‘retirement villages’ • Most homes not age-proofed • 21% of 65+ (living alone) & 16% of all 65+ say homes too big for needs • Focus is on nursing homes – need to consider housing needs of all older people • People want to ‘age in place’ but this is more about community than specific house. • Older people not necessarily opposed to transferring to more age-appropriate housing – once they can remain close to people and things that matter to them
  16. 16. Elderly – Housing Needs & Preferences • 62% 55+ live with spouse/partner; 29% live alone, reminder with their children • 21% 55+ - home impacted ‘a lot’ on quality of life; 13% said impacted ‘somewhat’ • 88% 55+ happy with current home BUT 54% said reason for remaining in home was wanting to stay in community; 28% say staying in touch with friends & neighbours was reason for remaining in current home • Older people open to new living arrangements – in case of declining health or mobility, concerns for safety or loss of spouse • Want to retain independence and access to things important to them • If transferring to ‘living with care’ facility – 80% want own independent ‘unit’. Also: safety & security staff (78%), nurse (72%), own garden (66%), spare bedroom (63%) • 53% saw living in independent ‘living with care’ facility funded from pension – not from sale of ‘home’ • 55% don’t want to live only with older adults – reinforces their age
  17. 17. Elderly – Housing Needs & Preferences • Rural dwellers saw transport as the major problem: towns & cities security the issue • Need is for ageing in the wider community, not in isolation • Need for age-friendly housing for all – not just for those with low incomes • Elderly believe only alternative to family home is institutional care • Housing developments for older people should: • Be designed to facilitate a good quality of life – as mobility and acuity declines • Be located near amenities • Incorporate safe outdoor space & space for hobbies and socialising • Accommodate pets • Incorporate security features and assistive technology • Facilitate easy access to external supports & services – health and care generally Besides, they should facilitate access to lifelong learning & engagement with local community
  18. 18. Elderly – Housing Needs & Preferences • Need for a choice in housing for older people – open to all older people, not just those who qualify for social housing or for those who can avail of more costly private options • Housing for older people should take into ‘consideration the needs of older people from a health, community and social inclusion perspective’ and be cognisant of the need for different price points’ • Housing for older people should be located ‘in areas of high demand’ and in locations close people’s current homes • ‘National planning policy should make sites available for local authorities and Approved Housing Bodies to provide more social housing with supports for older people, and private developers to provide affordable housing’ and this ‘needs to become an integral part of town planning in the context of age friendly communities’. • Housing options for older people with appropriate supports should be available nationwide.
  19. 19. Lessons from Australia • In Australia 13% 60s+ live in retirement villages – across the Country • AUS Villages accommodate 55+ - many living independent lives no different to lives they lived before moving to a village • Moving to a village tends to be seen as a new beginning for the next stage of life • Each village has manager, ground staff, and often catering and care staff • A range of villages to chose from – big, small, varying levels of ancillary services – to an extent you pay for what you get • Village homes are purchased or leased – on exit property or lease is sold • Also annual charges to cover cost of staff, maintenance, security, etc. – usually applied at time of exit from village • Annual charges = 3% of selling price of village home: €12,000 for property sold for €400,000. After 10 years = €120,000
  20. 20. Lessons from Australia • Churches & other non-profit bodies operate villages BUT most operated by large property corporations – Stockland & Lendlease • Average size of private villages – 110 units. Not for profit usually smaller • Operation of villages governed by legislation in all Australian states – since ‘90s • Yet concerns about sharp practices – legislation amended recent years • Ireland could learn from Australian mistakes • Due to retirement village many older Australians enjoy a better quality of life than do comparable Irish people • Location of Retirement Village is CRITICAL
  21. 21. Location: Signature Gardens Village
  22. 22. Home in Signature Gardens Village
  23. 23. Government Attitude to Retirement Village National Positive Ageing Strategy (2013) called for: • ‘a paradigm shift in how all sectors and all ages view ageing and older people’. • The Strategy’s starting point is that older people are: ‘a vital resource for social and economic development’ (p. 12) and one of its aims is to facilitate older people living in ‘well maintained, affordable, safe and secure homes which are suitable to their physical and social needs’ (p. 36). • Strategy also lists the key actions (p. 50) critical to achieving this aim.
  24. 24. Government Attitude to Retirement Village Housing Options for our Ageing Population Policy Statement (2019) said: • There is a compelling case for examining the potential of new housing models, including those with associated care and support models which fall between homecare and full time nursing home care. The objective is to ensure older people stay socially connected within their community and to provide essential care and supports where needed, by preserving and protecting independence, functionality, and social connectedness for as long as possible for older people themselves and sustainable for the State ... • It is important that people are supported and encouraged to live independently, in a supportive environment for as long as possible and plan for this.
  25. 25. Government Attitude to Retirement Village Housing Options for our Ageing Population Policy Statement (2019) also: • Supported the development of housing and services on centrally located sites within urban areas as research shows that good quality, well- connected urban centres with a range and choice of housing tenures and types actively supports ageing in place. And acknowledged that • Older people can choose housing that is appropriate and responsive to more complex needs, enable them to enjoy more active, healthy and socially connected lives and to age healthily and safely within their community. Simultaneously, we recognise that older people contribute a wealth of skills and experiences that enhance all our communities, bringing significant value across the generations.
  26. 26. Government Attitude to Retirement Village Housing Options for our Ageing Population Policy Statement (2019) included detailed action plan for meeting the housing needs of older people. Though the Action Plan is time-lined and many of its elements are highly desirable, it fails to address critical issues: • Dedicated zoning of land - Compulsory purchase • Need for single ‘authority’ to drive developments • Failure to recognise best practice in other jurisdictions • Need for legislative framework and standards • Cost of aged-care V Quality of life
  27. 27. What Government Action is Required? • As a priority, we require legislation, supported by fit-for- purpose regulations, to protect the interests of all involved in the provision of living accommodation for older people. • Need a national code of conduct for retirement village residents - underpinned by statute, clear procedures for resolving conflicts and for compassionately enforcing the outcomes of such procedures.
  28. 28. What Government Action is Required? • Local authorities need to incorporate planning for ageing at all levels of the planning process - county and local development should incorporate planning for ageing in their plans for both housing and public transport. This means local councils must zone land at appropriate locations, in all new developments for the establishment of retirement complexes. • Local authorities need to zone brownfield sites at or near the centre of towns or suburbs for retirement complexes.
  29. 29. What Government Action is Required? • Local Authorities need to compulsorily purchase land to accommodate retirement complexes for both public & private villages. Problem is compulsory purchase orders involve some 70 pieces of legislation, some of which have their roots in the 19th century. • NAMA-controlled land should be audited with a view to identifying land suitable for the construction of retirement complexes.
  30. 30. What Government Action is Required? • The State needs to develop & publish building and design standards (BER standards, accessibility both from the outside and throughout the building, assistive technology, security and alarms, etc.) for purpose-built retirement villages. Such purpose-built housing should be subject to robust independent inspections before being ‘put on the market’
  31. 31. What Government Action is Required? • State should undertake pilot projects to test and exhibit the retirement village model – involving collaborations between quality developers, a pillar bank, the HSE, a quality provider of elder-care facilities, a local authority, an appropriately experienced design team and an expert from the Centre for Excellence in Universal Design (NDA).
  32. 32. What Government Action is Required? • Existing schemes to assist older people to remain in their homes for as long as possible (fuel allowance, living alone grant, housing aid for older people, home care packages, housing adaptation grants, Senior Alert Scheme grants, etc.) should be extended to those who decide to live in retirement complexes.
  33. 33. What Government Action is Required? • State should, through the taxation system, incentivise senior citizens to move to retirement villages – VAT, Inheritance Tax, Income Tax. • The State, through the pillar banks, should ensure that bridging finance is available to those seeking to purchase a home in a retirement village prior to the family home being sold.
  34. 34. What Government Action is Required? • VAT rates that currently apply to home appliances & adaptations being ‘purchased’ by or for older people, as they are required, should be extended to the building of such features into purpose-built houses in retirement villages. • State should legally require retirement village operators to put arrangements in place for both health- and home-care - and the availability of such services should form part of the contractual agreement between occupiers/residents and complex operators.
  35. 35. What Government Action is Required? Retirement complex operators should be mandated to establish sustainable programmes to facilitate quality- assured, intergenerational collaboration between those residing in the complex and the local community – • Humanitas Project in Netherlands – 6 students & 160 80+ • Volunteering generally • TY students teaching IT to seniors Piper’s Hill College
  36. 36. What Government Action is Required? • Consideration should be given to incentivising developer involvement in the construction of retirement complexes, at least in the short term, until this type of development becomes popular. • The State would should develop and implement an information campaign for adults generally, but especially for those over 30, setting out the housing and care options available or emerging for people as they enter their retirement years.
  37. 37. What Government Action is Required? • State should encourage/facilitate approved housing associations (AHBs) to use their development skills and experience to assist with the provision of elder-friendly homes and, in doing so, to forge strong partnerships with local authorities, institutional investors and developers, & • Facilitate the establishment of a well-resourced representative body representing older people, where this body would input into the planning for and development of age-appropriate housing.
  38. 38. What Government Action is Required? • An additional subsection should be inserted in Section 26 of the Housing (Regulation of Approved Housing Bodies) Bill 2019 giving AHBs the power to work with local communities, either on a consultancy basis or in the role of developer, in the establishment of retirement villages, where individual homes are either for sale or for rent. • The identification of sites suitable for the development of retirement complexes should be a priority task for the LDA.
  39. 39. Other Considerations (1) Village homes should be: • Comfortable & easy to maintain - ideally constructed to ‘passive house’ standards • Easily accessed – externally and internally • Equipped and furnished to suit residents who may at some point in their residence have mobility limitations • Incorporate communal facilities – socialising, reading area, art & craft, gymnasium, etc.
  40. 40. Other Considerations (2) Villages/homes should be: • Secure both in terms of guarding against ‘break-ins’ and having access to alarms in the event of health or other emergencies. • Close to public transport, shopping, social, cultural & recreational facilities, health-care facilities and places of worship - location is critical
  41. 41. Other Considerations (3) Villages/homes should be: • Ideally mixed tenure – private & social • Constructed to harness the full potential of assistive technology – TeleHealth, TeleCare, Domotics, MYLO • Run on basis that all maintenance and upgrading is done by ‘body corporate’
  42. 42. Retirement Village Configurations • Condominium style on green-field site • Apartment block on brown field site • McAuley Place model • Newbridge could currently accommodate one of each • No silver bullet – but can make a substantial contribution to improving the quality of life of many older people
  43. 43. What Can Local Communities do to Breathe Life into Retirement Village Concept? • Everyone has a vested interest in ensuring its community has an appropriate proportion of its housing suited to meeting the needs of older people - if we live long enough, we will all be old some day • Each community should establish a Retirement Village Advocacy Group (RVAG) to promote the concept in their community. • Best to formalise RVAG – Constitution, Workplan, maybe register as charity.
  44. 44. What Can RVAG’s do? • Build support for Retirement Village concept and what is required to realise it – in community, and with politicians, public servants,media, business, etc. • Undertake an audit of local sites that might be suited to accommodating retirement villages • Draft a plan for the provision of retirement villages to meet the needs of its community - what specific retirement complexes are needed in the community; where they might be located, the services that each complex might provide for its residents, and the different complex configurations that might be provided. • Advocate with local & national government for adoption of plan.
  45. 45. Backdrop • 3rd Age … people may no longer be in fulltime paid employment, but can remain healthy, fulfilled and continue to contribute to society • Retirement amounts to reengagement … new interests, learning, commitments ….. (Dad @’74 … turnips) • CSO (Census 2016) … 10.15% (5,347) Population ….. Over 65 • Conleth’s Park ….. 6,300 • Similarly for Municipal Districts of Naas & Maynooth • Newbridge alone to grow by 8,000 next 15 years • CSO projects 65+ 17% of population by 2030 … 9,000 – disregarding population growth • One model of housing (3/4 bedroom houses) no longer sufficient • Current Housing crisis …. Results from commitment to single model
  46. 46. Backdrop • Need a mix of: Apartments (younger workers)… Student Accommodation…. conventional family homes…. accommodation appropriate to older citizens – allowing them to live securely & comfortably near to family/friends • Many 65+ reside in isolation… families in dormitory towns … may suit to move near families • Newbridge well-connected transport wise – road & rail • Retirement villages across developed world… UK, US, Australia… many with graduated aged-care facilities available on site (colocation) • Many manifestations - various levels of independence & support • Location, location, location… transport… shopping… churches… pubs… restaurants… cultural activities… • Security… Health Care… Homecare… • Legislation (90s) all states in Australia
  47. 47. Retirement Village Living • What is a Retirement Village? • Considering a Retirement Village??? • What is a deferred Management Fee (DMF)? • Arcadia Waters Village • Your New Best Friend • Signature Gardens – Hunter Valley