Minister Brady consults with older people in Dublin
The Minister for Older People and Health Promotion Áine Brady TD today met with over 200 older people, service providers and personnel from voluntary and community bodies working with older people. The public consultation, held at Clontarf Castle Hotel, was the latest in a series of meetings held throughout the country over the past three months on the National Positive Ageing Strategy, a detailed plan that will set the direction for future policies, programmes and services for older people.
Noting that this is the first time that there has been such a wide-ranging consultation between Government and older people in Ireland on issues that impinge on their lives, the Minister emphasised that she is very much aware of the need to ensure that every voice is heard, that every issue is raised and that all viewpoints are given ample consideration.
“These meetings are immensely helpful to me in the work to develop a Positive Ageing Strategy that will enhance the health, well-being and autonomy of older people in Ireland,” Minister Brady said. “The new Strategy will be a detailed plan that will set the direction for policies, programmes and services for older people in Ireland in the years ahead. Not only will it be of great importance for those already in the older age group, the Strategy will also be of importance for people who are now middle-aged and even younger. In developing our new Positive Ageing Strategy we are planning for an Ireland in which there will be more older people than ever before in our history,” she noted.
Reviewing a wide variety of issues which older people have been raising since the series of consultation meetings commenced in early March, the Minister said that these had ranged from better presentation of information on services and entitlements, to the need for transport to enable people to continue to get out and about, to the importance of an adequate income in later life. The Minister also noted that older people are concerned about the ageist attitudes which they encounter day-to-day; the attitudes of people who provide services of all kinds, attitudes that put across the idea that older people are less valued as service users or as customers.
“We are committed to helping people maintain a positive quality of life as they grow older, encouraging them to think positively about the ageing process, enabling them to plan sensibly for their later years and promoting the kind of lifestyle practices that will have the effect of “adding years to life and life to years”, Minister Brady said.
In her concluding remarks, the Minister said that she was convinced that services can be organised and delivered in much better ways than they are at present.
“Given the very real constraints on the public finances, we are not in a position to propose immediate new services, at this point,” the Minister said. “Nevertheless, we can make existing services work better and we can plan ahead to set the direction for future services that will be of benefit to people as they grow older,” she suggested.
The meeting was also addressed by Brian Merriman, Communications Manager of the Equality Authority, who spoke on ageism and was chaired by Ms Eihblin Byrne, former Lord Mayor of Dublin.