Press Release

Minister Lynch welcomes 25th Anniversary of UN International Day of Older Persons and National Positive Ageing Week in Ireland

Thursday 1st October 2015 marks the 25th Anniversary of UN International Day of Older Persons, which also coincides with National Positive Ageing Week in Ireland.

The world is undergoing significant demographic changes – people are living longer now than ever before.  Improved healthcare, better nutrition, and greater awareness of how we are managing our own health have all contributed to this, and it is something to be celebrated.

As well as the many opportunities that an ageing population brings in terms of the huge contribution older people make to society, it will no doubt also pose challenges. This Government believe that these challenges can be met and opportunities developed by planning now to ensure that Irish society is an ‘age-friendly’ one in the years ahead.  In the past, policy relating to older people tended to deal almost exclusively with health and social care issues. The Positive Ageing Strategy highlights that ageing is not just a health issue and it requires a whole of Government response to address the wide range of social, economic and environmental factors that can positively affect the wellbeing of all our older citizens, and is a strong political commitment of the priority attached to older persons’ issues.

The health reforms which the Government is working to implement are intended to ensure that everyone who needs care, including older people receive safe, timely and efficient care and treatment at the lowest level of complexity and as close to home as possible.

Older people have consistently said that they want to remain in their homes and communities for as long as possible.  In Ireland our policy will continue to prioritise allowing them to do so, and ensuring that appropriate residential care is available when it is needed.

In 2013 the Department of Health published the Healthy Ireland framework, which sets out a vision to improve the health and wellbeing of the entire population of Ireland. Its main focus is on prevention and keeping people healthier for longer.

Kathleen Lynch, T.D,  Minister of State at the Department of Health with special responsibility for Primary Care, Social Care and Mental Health said  “Ageing is not something that is exclusive to older people- everyone is ageing all the time and older people are just a bit further down that road. Older people are not any different than others, and are most certainly never to be seen as a burden. The fact that people are living longer is one of the great achievements of our time, and should be celebrated. Of course there are challenges, but there are challenges in meeting the needs of those at every stage of life, whether it is education for children and young people, childcare for young families or supports in old age. Older people have contributed enormously to our society throughout their lives and must be valued and cherished as full members of society”.