Fianna Fáil Spokesperson on Environment and Local Government Barry Cowen TD says the Government needs to do more to facilitate older people in remaining in their own homes. Deputy Cowen made the comments following the launch of ALONE’s ‘Home First Campaign 2015’.

The aim of the campaign echoes the proposals put forward by Fianna Fáil to address the ongoing housing crisis. ‘The Supporting Home Ownership: A National Housing Roadmap’ policy document sets out a ‘Social Contract for the Elderly’ that will guarantee over 65’s can stay in their own home if they so choose.

Deputy Cowen commented, “ALONE has an impressive track record of community activism and supporting older people in communities across Ireland. The launch of its Home First Campaign, which we fully support, highlights the need for much more to be done by the Government to support older people to continue living in their own homes.

“As it stands one in three people in Irish nursing homes could live at home if they had the necessary support to do so. Fianna Fáil is committed to providing these supports to allow older people to continue living in their own home. It is the very least that we can do for older people in their time of need.

“At the core of Fianna Fáil’s proposals is a commitment to introduce a ‘Social Contract for our elderly’. This contract will guarantee that over 65’s can continue to live in their own home if possible. If this cannot be realistically achieved then they will be accommodated in a safe, secure and suitable home in their own community.

“Fianna Fáil is committed to fully restoring the housing adaptation grant to allow older people and people with disabilities to live independently. We will also overhaul the operation of the grant to ensure that delays in processing applications are kept to minimum.

“Another key aspect of our proposal is to build on the initiatives that have been introduced to facilitate older people in downsizing their home. We will promote specialised elderly accommodation, which will be at the heart of communities, to help enable older people to live independently and actively. Fianna Fáil will also amend the Planning and Development Act 2000 to make it a requirement for specialist accommodation for older people in new development plans.

“There is a growing awareness that more needs to be done to support the growing elderly population in Ireland. Sons and daughters want to ensure that their parents are able to live a happy and dignified life in their own communities. However this requires a commitment by the Government to provide greater support for older people” said Deputy Cowen.