Innovative methods of delivering care and support are being developed by local housing providers to meet the changing needs of people. That was the message at the most recent meeting of the NI Assembly All Party Group on Housing.
MLAs heard from some of the leading housing providers on how they are developing new programmes that support people to live independently as they grow older or face ill-health. The group also heard from individuals who have benefited from these new programmes and have been able to continue to live in their own home.
Among those who have benefited from this support is Douglas Addison who lives in Carrick and is registered blind. Douglas uses floating support, provided by Radius Housing, which means he can live independently and avail of necessary support services as and when he needs them.
Speaking at the meeting, Nichola Mallon MLA, Chair, said: “We are seeing a change in our demographics, where people are living longer and to meet those needs it is important that we ensure our housing services are adapting. Most people will want to live as independently as possible, and it is encouraging to hear that our local housing providers have innovative, person centred programmes which are significantly improving the quality of life for many people.”
Eileen Patterson, Director of Communities at Radius Housing, who addressed the All Party Group, added: “As housing providers, we always aim to go much further than simply providing houses. Supporting people to live independently is now an essential part of our work. It helps individuals by supporting them to continue live on in their own home or in another specially designed home that gives them freedoms that other traditional housing facilities would not be able to provide.
“Nowadays, getting older or facing ill health does not immediately mean that you must sacrifice your independence and programmes such as our Floating Service are in place to ensure that this is the case. This is a low cost, high prevention service and with the right support it can bring great benefits.”