Can we improve Public Housing for Seniors?
Seniors Housing is something that has been on my agenda for over twenty years. It came about when a friend was about to be homeless and managed to get into public housing.
Strangely, recently I moved into the same property in which my friend has lived all that time. It disappoints me that in all that time, very little updating has been done on the property.
I know many of us a very grateful to be given the opportunity to live long term in this type of housing and we know that properties are low cost, non-luxury places with the basics. Some are managed by a government organisation, by folk who are public servants and as I have learned they often behave like they are privileged and that the people who live in public housing did things in their earlier life, that means that they “deserve” this basic housing.
What Do Seniors Need in Housing?
The housing in this property consists of a brick place with a bedroom and lounge room, a small bathroom/laundry, and a tiny kitchen. There is some car parking – but no covering for cars.
The rooms are small. There is no space for a carer, family member or friend to stay overnight – though you’d probably be able to put a blow-up bed in the lounge room, and if the resident slept in a single bed, you could put another one in the bedroom, but not really suitable.
There are powerpoints, but a one or two are in strange places e.g. the bedroom light switch is in a strange part of the lounge room wall. Ugh?
It was built around 40 years ago, and needs some upgrading.
What do Older People Want or Need?
They need affordable, secure, suitable housing. Sadly, I have the feeling that older people are not normally considered as part of the decision making process.
Some of the things that I would like planners to consider are:
- Flat wide pathways – with ramps. (Steps/stairs are not suitable in seniors accommodation)
- Rubberised walking paths
- Consider if it is easy for an ambulance to easily move the resident from the home (width of doorways, easy route to where the ambulance would be parked)
- Suitable outdoor area for residents to sit undercover
- Windows easy to open and close – with security and screens
- Adequate power points in suitable places (older accommodation does not cater for the many pieces of technology needing power
- Remote control for air conditioner a/dor ceiling fan
- Adequate space for washing machine and clothes dryer
- Kitchen with space to have dishwasher/dishwasher drawer*
- Consideration of the needs for future technology
I am sure I have probably missed a few things, but I will endeavour to do some further research on the subject.
Community spirit would be good – but the property is not like that. There are several “blocks” of housing. In the area in which I live there are 18 small units, but little sense of community. The ladies on one side appear to be a little social, and I don’t know if it is the “shut-down” because of the Corona Virus, or just the way it is.
Of the 18 units I have met only five of the other tenants in the 2 weeks I have been here. None of the males appear to have a community spirit. Indeed two of the guys are not pleasant anyway. The one next to be clearly has no consideration for rules (neither the property rules or the rules re the virus!).
He has too many visitors at once, is loud and his conversation is full of loud expletives. I’ve not actually seen him – usually I just hear him shouting inside his unit.
Another man with a “colourful” past luckily lives a few units away from me. OMG what a mess his “front door” area is. Clearly he just throws his rubbish out the door. Not nice.
I’d like to inspire the folks here to be more friendly and help make things happier for all. A work in progress I guess.