Housing for older people


There are some housing supports and grants that are particularly relevant to older people. For example, there is some accessible social housing and a number of grants available to adapt your home, if you have mobility problems when you get older. This page provides some information about these supports and describes how you can access them.

Social housing options

Local authority housing

Local authorities provide social housing for older people in the same way as they do for everyone else. However, they generally take age into account when prioritising applications for housing.

Some local authorities also provide specific housing for older people. This housing is usually accessible and may provide additional supports so people can continue to live independently. This type of accommodation is often called supported accommodation. Each local authority has a specific waiting list for this type of accommodation.

The local authority allocates housing in accordance with its own housing allocation scheme. Contact your local authority for information about their housing allocation scheme and any specific accommodation for older people in your area.

Housing provided by approved housing bodies

Approved housing bodies (AHBs) are voluntary, independent, not-for-profit organisations that provide housing in a similar way to local authorities. They provide affordable rented housing for people who cannot afford to rent privately or buy their own home. Some AHBs also provide housing specifically for particular groups of people, such as older people. This supported or sheltered housing is similar to the type provided by local authorities.

How do I apply for social or AHB housing?

You must meet certain criteria to qualify for social housing. Fill in the social housing support application form, which is available on your local authority’s website. You use the same application form when applying for local authority or AHB housing. To access AHB accommodation, you tick the box on the form marked approved housing body.

Housing supports for older people

If your home becomes unsuitable, perhaps because you have become sick or less mobile, you may start thinking about different housing options and supports. You may consider:

  • Adapting your home so it’s more accessible
  • Getting supports so you can stay in your home
  • Moving to a more suitable home
  • Moving to a nursing home

Adapting your home so it’s more accessible

As you get older you may need to adapt your home so you can continue to live there independently. There are many alterations that can make your home more suitable, if your mobility has become limited. For example, you can move your bathroom or bedroom downstairs or install grab rails, a stair lift or level access shower. If you want to adapt your home you should contact an occupational therapist who will assess your needs and advise you about equipment and adaptations. You may be able to get grants towards the cost of these adaptations, see ‘What grants can I get to adapt my home’ below.

Getting supports so you can stay in your home

If you are finding it difficult to live at home because you can’t complete everyday tasks, you may be able to get help with this. You may qualify for the HSE’s Home Support Service, which provides carers who will come to your home and help with everyday tasks, such as getting in and out of bed, bathing and dressing. This service is free and is available to people aged 65 or over who may need support to continue living at home or to return home following a hospital stay. If you do not qualify for the scheme you may be able to get a carer privately.

Moving to a more suitable home

If your home has become unsuitable or is now too big, you may want to move to a smaller, more accessible home. If you are a homeowner you may decide to sell your home privately and buy a more accessible home, for example, a bungalow or ground-floor apartment.

If you are a local authority tenant you should contact the local authority to let them know that your home is no longer suitable and to see what alternative options are available.

The Age-Friendly Guide to Right-Sizing has more information about moving to more suitable accommodation.

Moving into someone else's home

If your home becomes unsuitable you may consider moving in with a family member or friend.

The HSE also provides a Boarding Out Scheme. This scheme arranges accommodation for people who are dependant in private houses. If you take part in this scheme, the householder is responsible for giving you suitable care as well as nutritious and varied food.

The HSE is responsible for making arrangements for boarding out and will cover either all or part of the cost. The Boarding Out Scheme is not available in all areas.

Moving to a nursing home

The vast majority of older people are able to live in their own homes with some support from their families, neighbours and the health and community care services. But, if you can no longer manage at home even with this support, you may need to consider moving to long-term care. Long-term care includes public and private nursing homes as well geriatric hospitals and community nursing units.

You can apply for financial support to help pay for the cost of nursing home care through the Fair Deal Scheme. This is where you pay a certain amount towards the cost of your care and the HSE pays the rest.

If you are returning to Ireland

Safe Home Ireland helps find housing in Ireland for older Irish-born emigrants living abroad who want to return home, but cannot afford to pay for their own accommodation. Find out more about Safe Home Ireland.

What grants can I get to adapt my home?

You can get grants to adapt and improve your home so it is more suitable to your needs. This may mean you can continue to live there independently.

Housing Adaptation Grant for People with a Disability

If you need to adapt your home for someone in your household who has a disability, you can apply for the Housing Adaptation Grant for People with a Disability.

The grant can help you to make changes and adaptations to your home. For example, you could:

  • Make it wheelchair-accessible
  • Extend it to create more space
  • Add a ground-floor bathroom or toilet
  • Add a stair-lift.

The maximum grant available is €30,000.

This grant is available from your local authority. You can download the application form from gov.ie or from your local authority’s website.

Mobility Aids Grant Scheme

The Mobility Aids Grant Scheme helps with the cost of work needed to address mobility problems in the home. For example, it can be used to buy and install handrails. It is mainly for older people, but people with disabilities can also access it.

The grant is available from your local authority and the maximum grant is €6,000. This scheme is useful if you need minor adaptations or improvements done quickly.

You can download the application form from gov.ie or from your local authority’s website.

Housing Aid for Older Persons Grant

The Housing Aid for Older Persons Grant is for essential repairs to improve the condition of an older person's home so they can continue to live there.

The grant is provided by your local authority and the type of work covered is different depending on where you live. It may include:

  • Repairing or replacing the roof
  • Upgrading the electrical wiring
  • Repairing or replacing the windows and doors
  • Providing central heating

You can download the application form from gov.ie or from your local authority’s website.

Better Energy Warmer Homes Scheme

The Better Energy Warmer Homes Scheme provides free home energy upgrades to homeowners on low incomes. It is operated by the Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland (SEAI) and is available nationwide. It covers:

  • Attic insulation
  • Wall insulation - including cavity wall, internal wall and external wall insulation
  • Draught-proofing
  • Lagging jackets
  • Energy efficient lighting
  • Energy advice

You can download an application form from the SEAI website, or contact them to ask for it to be posted out to you

Security measures for older people

The Seniors Alert Scheme provides funding for a free personal monitored alarm. A personal monitored alarm is an alarm that connects you to a national helpline, which is open 24 hours a day. You wear the alarm around your wrist or neck and when you press the button it automatically rings the helpline where someone can send help to you.

You can get the grant if you are:

  • Aged 65 or over
  • Living alone, or only with other older people
  • Unable to buy the equipment yourself

After the first year, you need to pay an annual monitoring fee.

This scheme is managed by Pobal who provide funding to community and voluntary organisations to install the personal alarms. If you are eligible for the Seniors Alert Scheme, you should contact the group registered to operate the scheme in your area. Pobal publishes a list of registered organisations on its website.

Page edited: 14 June 2023