Project Description

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3. Housing

26.3% of adults aged 65+ in Carlow County are living in private housing alone2. 94 % of older people reported their homes were in good condition and only 22% of older people in Carlow had problems with the upkeep of their homes versus 31% in other counties surveyed.

27% of the over 70s group reported difficulties with maintaining their home but this is still considerably lower than many other counties. Only 5% reported difficulties keeping their home adequately warm because of damp or leaking walls or roof and 13% reported having no downstairs toilet, which is considerably higher than some counties where this figure is as low as 2%. 2% of the over 70s group have no access to an indoor flushing toilet.

Providing alternative accommodation as we age is not considered a very positive alternative by older people surveyed in Carlow. Adults over 70 want to stay at home and only 2% were positive about moving to residential care, this figure is 13% in Kilkenny. The least attractive options for this group is moving in with relatives (3%), followed by moving in with adults children (5%) or living with other older adults (6%).

When asked about security at home 43% of the over 70+ group felt very safe at home during the day but this figure drops to 27% at night. The 50-69 age groups appeared to be less concerned about their safety especially at night with 34% saying that they felt very safe at home at night.

Issues raised by older adults

“We need age appropriate secure accommodation in the town centre”
“Adaptation grants should be made available and easier to access by older people, more money needed in this area”.
“More opportunity should be available to swap / downsize accommodation if older people want”.
“Expense in making a home more age friendly is a challenge as it does not qualify for a grant”

Short Term Actions ( 2017 )

Dog fouling on public pathways was identified as an area of major concern for older people. The Environment Department of Carlow County Council will try to tackle /improve this situation through the provision of an awareness campaign in Carlow Town. Older people will be invited to participate as well as the Carlow Older Persons Forum.

Carlow Older Persons Forum aim to increase the number of age-friendly parking spaces in the centre of Carlow town and investigate the possibility of having free Age Friendly parking spaces for a number of hours on Thursday/Friday mornings to allow older people to collect their pensions.  Carlow Older Persons Forum aim to identify and increase awareness of all public toilets, and encourage local businesses to provide free and welcoming toilet facilities to the older people of County Carlow, with the aim of creating a ‘toilet trail’ which will be readily available.

The Transport section of the Carlow Local Authority will consult, prepare and adopt a street furniture policy to ensure consistency and suitability of all street furniture including seating, bins, and signage.

Carlow Volunteer Centre will work with other agencies to support older adults use of Outdoor Spaces and Buildings. Currently, Carlow Volunteer Centre refers volunteers to a variety of organisations that are working towards the improvement or utilisation of outdoor spaces. These include but are not limited to An Gáirdín Beo, Carlow Sports Partnership, Delta Garden Centre and Environmental Clean Up Days.

Carlow Library Services will ensure all four branches are accessible, user-friendly and welcoming. This will be achieved by:-
 Conducting age-friendly audits and risk assessments of each library building.
 Providing age-friendly areas in each library with appropriate seating, signage and materials.
 Ensuring all libraries are clean, pleasant and well maintained.
They will also ensure all libraries allow freedom of movement with non-slip floors and unobstructed passageways

Carlow County Development Partnership will aim to ensure that all of their events and training for older persons are held in accessible, security conscious buildings and community centres over the lifetime of this strategy.

Local Authority Engineers and Planners will ensure, when assessing planning applications that all new residential and commercial developments have adequate lighting to ensure public safety. They will also ensure when assessing applications for signage that being age-friendly is a consideration.

County Carlow Museum will continue to provide their services in an age-friendly way as outlined in their Age Friendly Charter including providing visitor chairs with fixed arms in each of the four display galleries and ensuring that staff will accompany visitors in the Museum lift for ease of movement between galleries.

The Community Section of Carlow County Council will ensure that Carlow County Council embeds Carlow Age Friendly principles in all its strategic plans, services and programme of works

The Corporate Service section of the Local Authority will aim to mainstream consciousness of age-friendly design into all urban planning and design, including the public realm, transportation, open spaces, housing and other elements of Local Authority services. The section will deliver these changes through training of staff and ensuring that age-friendliness remains foremost in designers mind working in conjunction with the Age-Friendly Committee.

Short-Term Actions ( 2017 )

Medium Term Actions ( 2017 )

Medium Term Actions ( 2017 )

Carlow Older Persons Forum, (supported by Carlow County Council) will carry out Age Friendly Walkability audits and continue to identify issues with uneven footpaths, signage, unsafe public spaces and environments.

Local Authority Engineers and Planners will incorporate relevant policies and objectives into Development and Local Area Plans to ensure future public amenities are age-friendly. They will also ensure that the relevant policies and objectives are imported to ensure public spaces and buildings, lighting and signage is more age-friendly.

The Health Service Executive at St. Luke’s General Hospital will continue with its Age-Friendly development plan and aim to conduct a dementia-friendly audit.

The Health Service Executive will continue to work with the Carlow Hospice Group in 2017 to complete the refurbishment of the Palliative Care Suites at the Carlow District Hospital.

Long Term Actions ( 2017 )

Carlow Older Persons Forum will endeavour to work closely with planners and Carlow County Council to ensure that new builds and schemes are ‘age proofed’.

Area Engineers, Transport and Planning sections of the Local Authority will also review policies during the lifetime of each Local Area Development Plan to ensure that age-friendly spaces, buildings and public amenities are being imposed.

Carlow Older Persons Forum in partnership with Bank of Ireland Carlow aim to collaborate through its county-wide branches to make them more age-friendly and inclusive by providing ‘go-slow’ lanes, access to machine training for older customers, and age-friendly days with the particular focus on customer service, more seating facilities inside and parking facilities outside etc.

Long Term Actions ( 2017 )