A SOLULTION to ensure that the future for elderly people in Ireland is safe, independent and socially integrated has been developed by a former teacher from Inniscarra.
Building on his experience, following his time living in Australia, Pat O’Mahony is promoting the ‘Retirement Village’ concept as a perfect option for elderly people whose homes are no longer ideal for their stage of life.
‘In Ireland, our over 65 population is set to grow by 70 persons per day for the next 30 years,’ Pat told The Southern Star.
‘Unfortunately, many older people, irrespective of their means, reside in relative isolation, even when they live in urban areas, in homes unsuited to their needs.’
Pat, who draws on a large volume of research from both Ireland and abroad in making the case for retirement villages, has founded ‘Retirement Villages Ireland’ and has researched and written a book outlining just what a retirement community would have to offer, not only the elderly people themselves, but also their communities and the nation.
‘Housing alone, irrespective of its age-friendliness, is not enough,’ Pat said.
‘Health and care services generally must be integrated into the whole housing package.
‘Besides, processes must be put in place to facilitate sustainable and mutually beneficial interactions between those living in the retirement village and those in the wider community.’
‘If we get the village model right, those in their golden years should be able to live with a high level of independence and a good quality of life for much longer than might otherwise be the case.’
The Retirement Village concept is well established in Australia and New Zealand where, for example, over 13% of elderly people live in retirement villages.
Pat’s research also indicates that a dedicated, specifically designed, future proofed and above all integrated retirement village, situated within local communities, would not only benefit the elderly but would also enable more suitable housing for families to become available.
‘In 21st century Ireland, we must ensure that our older people live comfortably and fulfilled for as long as possible,’ Pat said.
‘This cannot just be left to the older people themselves, their families or, for that matter, to charity. But ensuring the quality of life of our elderly does not require the expenditure of significant amounts of scarce public resources.’
In Pat’s book Rethinking housing options for senior citizens – retirement villages in every irish community –the retirement village model is about providing senior citizens with housing options that take account of their stage in life – and their specific needs – fulfilment, social, health, transport, retail, cultural, religious, care, and so on.
‘It is about providing them with attractive housing options they may choose to live in, rather than with housing they are, in any sense, required to live in,’ Pat said.For more, see retirementvillagesireland.ie