Hospital providers welcomed a lower minister's call for care for the elderly to be revised over the next two decades, and retirement villages are unfolding.
Elderly Minister Jim Daly said that substantial sums of estimated € 2bn that go into caring for the elderly could be redirected towards the construction of more retirement villages.
His comments came as a conference in Dublin and looked at the best way for the elderly to be accommodated, whether they are homes, new communities or hospitals.
Research in the industry, the public sector and health experts at the conference showed that the overwhelming majority of people over 65 have their own homes. In addition, elderly people live in their communities. However, housekeeping needs and maintenance requirements in properties are increasing for those aged 70 and over.
Lower House Secretary Damien English said the plan was to let people stay in their communities, either in their own home or in other properties. But the government may also consider the possibility of land abandonment for the construction of villages for retirement.
"We want to develop an action plan for this March," he told the conference.
Other investigations submitted by the Health Ministry have shown that some properties of the elderly had degraded infrastructure, were too large for them, while for others it was difficult to keep a home warm.
The conditions at home were worse in the cities of Galway and Cork, while owners also reported the cost of maintenance, lack of bath down and leaks as other problems were encountered.
Asked about their attitude to housing choices, about 30% said they would move to customized housing, while 70% and more said they would adjust their property. Only 11% preferred a nursing home.
Mr Daly, speaking to the Irish Examiner, said he preferred to change the housing model for the elderly from hospitals to retirement nodes for the next 20 years.
"There are about 2 billion euros, from the private and public sectors, a good amount that could reach these villages."
Mr Daly pointed to the Kilmaley retirement village in Clare, which has been operating for 20 years. The village has a primary care center, a day center and a wheel-food facility.
Responding to alternative housing models, Tadhg Daly, Managing Director of Nursing Home Ireland, said the industry was open to proposals.
"Public policy must be ahead of the curve, and if it does, it would help the private sector."
The head of the hospital industry said people here wanted to stay in their communities, but there was also a need for high care care provided in a nursing home.
Mr Angus said public territories could be used to support private businesses such as retirement homes. The cost is very different, the two ministers said, noting that it is 1,000 € per week in a nursing home and 100 € per week in a retirement village.
Michelle Moore and Dermot Bannon, with the Abhaile project, described how the elderly can adapt their homes at a small cost to create independent accommodation units for rent.
Mr Bannon said he could cost € 45,000 to € 50,000 to match and customize a standard semi-detached house in Dublin.