Home support services must be considered a fundamental right for older Traveller and older homeless people a new study by NUI Galway’s Irish Centre for Social Gerontology’s (ICSG) concludes.

The study aimed to centralise the lived experiences of these older populations in the development of flexible and equitable care for positive health and ageing. Highlighting a range of barriers in accessing home support services, the study shows the potential for these groups to fall through the cracks in Ireland’s long-term and community care system.

Professor Kieran Walsh, Director of the Irish Centre for Social Gerontology and lead investigator in the research study, said: “It is difficult to talk about the situation of older Travellers and older homeless adults without acknowledging the massive deprivation of rights with respect to adequate housing, health, and equality of treatment that has been experienced by these populations.

A concerted effort is required to ensure that future provisions of care help to address these deprivations, and not compound existing challenges to positive health and ageing for these growing sections of our ageing society.”

Report Recommendations

The study goes on to make recommendations in seven key areas to secure more equitable care provision and home support services for older Travellers and older adults who have experienced homelessness.

Pavee Point has been involved with this research project since it began in 2018. We were a key stakeholder during the consultative forums and Traveller staff participated in interviews during the data collection phase.

This study was conducted by NUI Galway in collaboration with the HSE National Social Inclusion Office, Safety-Net Primary Care, Galway Traveller Movement, Age and Opportunity, Community Healthcare Organisation 8 and Pavee Point. It was funded by the HSE, Department of Health and Atlantic Philanthropies through the Healthy and Positive Ageing Initiative partnership.

All three briefing papers can be accessed and read here: https://icsg.ie/our-projects/otoh/