How friendly is your town or city? Do you think that large cities can be more unfriendly than the countryside? What about being age-friendly – do they help older people to live independently and feel safe within their own communities?
Did you know that Dublin City now has a strategy in place to make it a more age-friendly city, it is a 5 year strategy, starting in 2014 and lasting until 2019. More than one in five people in Dublin are aged 55 or more. Currently, there are 113,700 people aged over 55 in Dublin. The Age Friendly Strategy aims to improve the quality of lives of people over the age of 55. The full details are available in this PDF but in summary, the main points are:
- There will be five administration area throughout Dublin to ensure that all local communities get a good grounding in the concepts.
- It will concentrate on these main areas: Outdoor space, buildings, transport, home and community, information, safety, learning, working, social and economic life, healthy and active living, and value and respect.
- It recognises that people perceive old age very differently, often depending on their own health, education and background, and often on how it is perceived and treated within their own community.
- It is recognised that good transport, housing, health and community services all contribute to more people living independently in their own homes and communities as long as they wish.
- It is intended that older people can have their say in decisions on issues that affect their lives – they will be heard.
- There will be supports in place to enable elderly people to lead full and active lives.
- That older people can participate equally in the life of the city.
- To ensure older people have access to age-friendly arts, leisure, sports and recreational activities as well as health services.
- To ensure public transport is appropriate for older people.
- Some older people that they have found some information agencies to be patronising towards them because of their age – a ‘no wrong door’ policy is being created to ensure that all are treated with respect, and that the information they require is supplied.
- There will be an emphasis on safer roads and safer footpaths.
- Programmes such as Age-Friendly Libraries will be implemented.
- Volunteer trainers will provide ten week courses basic computer training for older people.
- Conferences are being held – DCU will host an Age Friendly Universities conference in 2015 and Trinity is hosting a conference on Combating Ageism in 2015.
- There will be outdoor gym equipment in parks around the city where people of all ages can stop off and include some other exercise in their walking activity.
All in all, they want Dublin to be a wonderful city, that it “becomes a great place to grow old”. An Age Friendly City is a city where older people can live their lives to the full. A city for everyone.
Do you think this will work? Should it be implemented in all cities and towns across Ireland? Will it help people to stay living independently in their own homes for as long as they wish? As always at Comfort Keepers, we work to provide care for older people, to help them to enjoy living independently for as long as possible.