In the spirit of Bealtaine, Clúid took the opportunity to promote sheltered housing and independent living as a first option for older people last week, a message which formed part of an awareness raising event about the wealth of activity and services available to older people enabling them to get involved in the local community.
More than 300 locals attended the event which was launched by the Mayor of County Galway, Tom Welby and held in Station House Hotel, Clifden. It was organised by Clúid in partnership with Galway County Council, Safe Home, Forum Connemara and local voluntary and statutory agencies.
Community groups came together to distribute relevant information to older people and their carers on a whole range of services available in housing, health, home care service and community support.
Clúid’s housing officer, Kathleen Aspel-Mortimer said: “We believe it is important that older people are provided the opportunity to remain living as independently as possible. We envisage a society where older people, who are no longer able to live on their own, can look to sheltered housing as a first option.”
Sheltered housing is purpose-built housing that allows older people to live independently, with the help of some additional supports. Clúid provides more than 450 dwellings to older people, and is one of the largest providers of sheltered housing in Ireland.
Ms Aspell-Mortimer explained: “The sheltered housing project at St Joseph’s Court, Clifden is a prime example of this. The properties comprise one/two bed apartments or bungalows which are designed to encourage independent living, and provide older people with quality, affordable rental accommodation, where they are safe and secure and have access to family, friends, services and supports.
“All the homes are fully self-contained and are either own-door bungalows or apartments. The sheltered housing scheme has a scheme manager who deals with the day-to-day running of the scheme, and ensures that residents’ needs are met. There are also other facilities such as a laundry, communal facilities and social activities.”
Speaking at the event, JJ O’Kane, director of services for older people with the HSE said: “While there are some older people who need full-time care and nursing services, the majority of older people want to stay in their own home or live independently in settings like Clúid at St Josephs’s Court, where they are still very much an inclusive part of their own community.”
Face of housing has changed
Alan Farrell, senior executive officer, housing unit, Galway County Council, said: “The face of housing has dramatically changed and the social housing programme of the future will depend on local authorities working with voluntary housing organisations to ensure the successful delivery of housing to those who need it. Clúid’s sheltered housing schemes are an essential option for older and vulnerable people because they significantly enhance their quality of life.”
An exhibition of a ‘Reminiscence Project’ compiled by staff and residents of Clúid’s sheltered housing scheme, St Joseph’s Court, Clifden, gave an informative and delightful account of the 18 returning emigrants that live there. The residents came home through a national organisation called Safe Home. Mairín Higgins, director of services of Safe Home spoke about the importance of collaboration, saying: “We aim to ensure returned emigrants are repatriated to areas near to where they originally came from. Working closely with statutory and voluntary housing organisations around the country is very important in this process.”
Clúid is one of the largest housing associations in Ireland, currently delivering 3,664 homes to low income families and single people, older people, people with a disability and Traveller families all over Ireland. Clúid is a not-for-profit organisation leading the way in delivering high quality, affordable homes to people in housing need all over Ireland.