Press Release

Minister Brady launches Consultation Phase of National Positive Ageing Strategy

The Minister for Older People and Health Promotion, Áine Brady TD, will tomorrow (Thursday, 18th June, 2009) launch the consultation phase of the National Positive Ageing Strategy. The Minister said that the new Strategy will set the strategic direction for all future policies, programmes and services for older people in Ireland. She is seeking written submissions from individuals (of any age), institutions, agencies, organisations and groups by 24 September.

The preparation of the Strategy takes forward the commitment in the Programme for Government 2007–2012 to better recognise the position of older people in Irish society, and the Minister said that it will be informed by the UN Principles on Ageing: Independence, Dignity, Self-Fulfillment, Participation and Care

She indicated that issues relevant to the development of the Strategy include those relating to older people’s participation in society, the way services are organised and are used by older people; income, health and social care, housing, transport, education and employment.

The Minister emphasised that the Strategy must be developed within the constraints posed by the present fiscal situation. “It is not the intention that the Strategy will propose new service developments; rather it will set the strategic direction for future policies, programmes and services for older people,” she stressed.

Minister Brady said that she looked forward to having as many views as possible to inform the development of the new Strategy. She said that she particularly wanted to hear from older people on how they use services and how those services are organised.

The Minister pointed out that this is the first time that such a wide-ranging strategy will be prepared here. Previous plans have predominantly focussed on health and care services whereas this Strategy will ultimately lead to operational plans by a range of Government Departments. She added that as well as her own Office, ten other Government Departments and the Central Statistics Office are involved in preparing the Strategy.

Submissions should be sent (by post or e-mail) to: National Positive Ageing Strategy. Department of Health and Children, Hawkins House – Room 11.17, Dublin 2 . Tel: (01) 635 4000 ext. 3242 (e-mail: positiveageing@health.gov.ie)

Closing date for receipt of submissions: Thursday, 24 September, 2009.

Positive ageing is a concept which acknowledges that older people are a resource for their families, their communities and society as a whole. It recognizes that older people must be enabled to participate in the community in the ways chosen by older people themselves, and not marginalized by attitudes that limit their expectations or their capacity to live in dignity and independence in their own homes and communities for as long as is practicable.

Positive ageing has been defined as ‘an individual, community, public and private sector approach to ageing that aims to maintain and improve the physical, emotional and mental well-being of older people’. A ‘positive ageing strategy’ is one which is based on principles that promote positive ageing by encouraging people of all ages to think positively about ageing, to plan sensibly for their later years and to adopt the lifestyles that will ‘add years to life and life to years’.

Positive ageing extends beyond the provision of health and social services, given that the well-being of older people is affected by many different factors, including socio-economic status, family and broader social interactions, employment, housing and transport. The National Positive Ageing Strategy will therefore focus on older people’s participation in society and the ways in which programmes and services for older people are organised and utilised. It will also focus on issues relating to the determinants of quality of life for older people such as income, health and social care, housing, transport, education and employment or any other issue of relevance to older people.