Lack of housing forces older residents into aged care early
A FIRST-of-its-kind report into the housing supply in Roma has shed light on the lack of appropriate homes for older residents.
The My Home, My Place report, researched by Horizon Housing, confirmed what locals have known for years: Living independently as a senior citizen in Roma is more challenging than it needs to be.
Not only did it find that 73 per cent of older rural residents had received no advice about ageing in place, but that most (65 per cent) live in detached homes or on more than five acres, exposing them to unique liveability challenges when compared to their metropolitan counterparts.
"Anecdotally, we hear there's lots of seniors living on larger properties or on farms, or in older-style houses in the towns and, as they're ageing, they are having to move out of the region or straight into nursing homes,” Horizon Housing CEO Jason Cubit said.
"That is really what brought the issue to our attention: There was no research to back this up but also no real options for them to move out of those larger properties or even stay at home and age in place.
"There are not a lot of places for seniors to live in Roma as an interim; they can go from their own home to aged care but there isn't a lot of purpose-built, adaptable, small homes for seniors, without going in to an aged-care environment.”
Considering the lack of homes accessible to older residents, the finding that 64 per cent wanted to modify their owns homes and stay put was unsurprising.
However, the gap in information about ageing at home was found to be widening and half of the ageing population in Roma did not know how to arrange an assessment for home modifications.
"A big finding of the report was that a lot of older people are ill-informed about what the options are, where to find the information, or who to go to,” Mr Cubit said.
"There is a range of services, government agencies, organisations, the council and aged care providers who are all well informed on what is out there and the support available.”
Findings from the My Home, My Place report are set to pave the way for better housing options in Roma.
"There is a real need for a new type of housing in the region and we are about to start a pilot project building units for seniors, which are purpose-designed from the findings in the report,” Mr Cubit said.
"We've consulted with seniors in Roma and have taken that back to put in to the project.
"The units will be adaptable, easily accessible, and close to the town centre, with all of the things people are used to having in their larger house but in a smaller unit designed specifically for their needs.”