Minister for Health speaks at National Convention of Older Person’s Councils
Minister for Health Simon Harris TD spoke today at the National Convention of Older Person’s Councils in Co Wicklow.
The event brings together a diverse group of older people and Age Friendly practitioners from across the country to discuss the various challenges they face and significantly the progress made over the last year.
The ageing of our population will represent one of the most significant societal developments that Ireland has encountered.
In Ireland it is predicted that there will be 1.4 million people aged 65 and over by 2041, with this age group making up 22 per cent of the total population. Age Friendly Ireland are at the forefront of building Age Friendly societies across Ireland in response to this demographic development.
Speaking at the event, Minister Harris said: “Ageing, just like the need for good health, is not something that only happens when we get old. However, the challenges that we face can be magnified as we get older. This is where the Age Friendly Programme has found its home and older people have found their voice.”
“But we’re not just here because of challenges. An ageing population also presents us with significant opportunities. It promotes the need for well-developed local governments capable of engaging with everyone across our society. Through this we can implement the changes needed to ensure that Ireland continues to be a great place in which to grow old.”
The Minister concluded “It is important the views and voices of older people are heard when bringing about the changes that will have a direct impact on their quality of life”
Notes to the Editor
Age Friendly Ireland, hosted by Meath County Council on behalf of the local government sector, coordinates the now national Age Friendly Programme.
Within the framework of the WHO’s model the 31 city and county programmes are making commitments to shared action plans addressing pillars spanning built environment, housing and health services, transport, and employment. Health and wellbeing is fundamental to the vision set out. A great deal of it is due also to actions and developments in other areas; in creating walkable, attractive communities and age-friendly spaces and by introducing actions to address participation and inequality people of all ages will be supported to enjoy healthier, more active and connected lives.
Under the leadership of the local authority Chief Executive’s, governance is anchored in the multi-agency Age-Friendly Alliances, supported by broadly representative Older Peoples’ Councils actively engaged as co-design partners. The challenge now involves scaling up local models of good practice into the consistent application of proven age friendly initiatives across the wider network. These initiatives have included, among many others;
- Outreach, befriending and intergenerational skills exchange programmes to provide opportunities for older people to play an active part in social and civic networks.
- Age Friendly Business Programmes which support local businesses in adopting positive ageing practices.
- Age Friendly Workplace Programmes which support businesses in enabling older workers to work comfortably for longer, retire gradually etc.
- Age Friendly ‘Start Your Own Business’, Senior Enterprise Programmes and Senior Mentors Panels which support the transfer of skills and experience.