Concern expressed at survey that encourages older people to downsize

by Padraig Conlon

A local advocacy group say they are very concerned about a survey encouraging older people to move out of their homes.

Older Voices for Change (OVC), made up of older people from the areas of Dublin Mid West – Clondalkin, Lucan, Palmerstown and Newcastle, aim to identify issues affecting the lives of older people in the community and advocate for change by bringing these issues to the attention of policy makers, service providers and the media.

OVC say they are “most concerned and aggrieved” at news of the development of a Department of Housing survey aimed at discovering the current status and use patterns of older people’s dwellings with a view to incentivising people to move out of their homes.

A spokesperson for the Department has pointed out that the results of the survey may have a bearing on the upcoming Government budget.

OVC also say they have found a significant amount of recent media commentary relating to issues of downsizing populist and ageist in tone and takes issue with the underlying implication often apparent in media discourse that seeks to blame older people for the current housing malaise in the country.

Eithne Rankin, a member of OVC, told Dublin Gazette that OVC recently hosted a conference on mental health and ageing at which there were over 80 local older people present.

“One of the strongest views expressed by participants on the day was that keeping older people in their own homes and involved and participating in their local communities was key to maintaining their mental health and general well being,” she said.

“We at OVC vigorously oppose the current survey being distributed to older people by the Department of Housing which we see as a means of putting in place policies that will end up forcing older people out of their homes by stealth.

“We see this action as a violation of older people’s human rights and it needs to be resisted.”

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