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Successive Governments have overlooked support for sheltered housing for the elderly.
Although the Government has made finance available for the building of such housing, it has failed to provide funding for its management. This contrasts with private nursing homes, which receive €70m in State subventions each year.
Nursing homes are a key care option for the elderly, but not the only one. Many elderly people are residing in nursing homes with 24-hour health care, whether they need it or not. Sheltered housing prevents many elderly people from having to move into nursing homes prematurely.
Housing policies for the elderly tend to be limited to encouraging people to live at home or to move into a nursing home. Elderly people deserve a greater range of care options, and community-based sheltered housing can be financially supported for less than one tenth of the cost of nursing homes. The provision of sheltered housing will continue to fall sharply, over the coming years, without government intervention.
Cllr. Noel Collins
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