NEW STRATEGY FOR OLDER PEOPLE IN COUNTY WICKLOW LAUNCHED
A new five-year Age Friendly Strategy for County Wicklow was launched today (Monday) by Minister for Mental Health and Older People, Mary Butler TD, at an event in County Buildings.
The Wicklow Age Friendly Strategy 2023 - 2027 was developed by the Wicklow Age Friendly County Alliance following an extensive consultation with older people throughout the county.
This is the second Wicklow Age Friendly Strategy and the new strategy was informed by the views of more than 300 people across county Wicklow, aged over 55, from a wide range of ages, with diverse interests and circumstances. Their views were collected through a series of public consultations to ensure that older people’s needs were considered and addressed.
In developing the Strategy, the Alliance adopted the Age Friendly Ireland model and World Health Organisation’s (WHO) Age-friendly Cities and Communities framework. This proposes eight interconnected domains that can help to identify and address barriers to the well-being and participation of older people.
The new five-year Strategy includes an action plan which details 72 actions, across eight thematic areas or domains:
Outdoor Spaces & Buildings
Respect & Social Inclusion
Civic Participation & Employment
Communication & Information
Community Support & Health Services
The Strategy aims to enhance the quality of life of older people in County Wicklow, using a multi-agency approach (statutory, voluntary and community sectors) to implement a range of objectives and action designed to significantly enhance the quality of life of older people living in Wicklow.
The Wicklow Age Friendly County Alliance is a high-level cross-sector group, chaired by Mr Brian Gleeson, Chief Executive, Wicklow County Council. Members include representatives from the County Wicklow Older People’s Council, Wicklow County Council, Health Service Executive, An Garda Síochána, Local Link, Bray Area Partnership, County Wicklow Partnership, Citizens Information Service, Kildare & Wicklow Education & Training Board, Wicklow Town & District Chamber of Commerce.
Speaking at the launch event, Mr Gleeson outlined the commitment of Wicklow County Council to incorporating age friendly principles into its services, to ensure that Wicklow is a great place in which to grow older adding: “The vision of County Wicklow Age Friendly Strategy is to make County Wicklow a great place to grow old, where older people are respected and valued, living full lives, ageing in place within their communities.”
Minister Mary Butler said: “The Government is firmly committed to the Programme for Government goal of creating an Age Friendly Ireland and making Ireland a great place to live as we age. I am delighted to support the Wicklow Age Friendly County Alliance in its work to make ‘age friendly’ an ongoing way of being and seeing in County Wicklow, guided by the WHO principles and the county’s commitment to creating an Age Friendly Ireland. I had the pleasure of recently visiting the fully accessible Beyond the Trees Avondale in Rathdrum and awarding its designation as the first Age Friendly tourist destination in Ireland.”
Ms Mai Quaid, Chair of the Wicklow Older People’s Council, welcomed the new Strategy and its benefits to older people, saying: “People are living longer lives, and in many cases, older people are living more active and healthier lives than in the past. Older people today want to continue doing the things they always enjoyed doing.”
Leas Cathaoirleach of Wicklow County Council, Cllr Aoife Flynn Kennedy, thanked Minister Butler for her ongoing support for older people and people with mental health challenges, stating: “As local elected representatives, these two issues are very much to the fore in our constituencies, and having such strong support in Minister Butler and her team in the department is very much appreciated.”
At the launch event Minister Butler was shown some highlights of the Older People’s Council Seminar and Open Day which was held on 25th November 2022. Normally an annual event, this was the first time the event had been held live in two years, due to the pandemic restrictions which had a heavy impact on our older people.
Age Friendly Ambassador for County Wicklow, Senator Pat Casey, said: “The Older People’s Councils are representative groups of older people who work together and with key state and voluntary agencies to make Ireland a better place in which to grow old. I would encourage older people in Wicklow to engage with the County Wicklow Older People’s Council and join the OPC to have their voice heard at the next AGM, in May. The OPC represents the voice of older people on the Wicklow Age Friendly County Alliance, which will be responsible for delivering on the actions in the new Wicklow Age Friendly County Strategy.”
For more information about Age Friendly Ireland model and the World Health Organisation (WHO) Age-friendly Cities and Communities framework click on this link http://agefriendlyireland.ie.
(Press release by Wicklow County Council. Photos by Aoife)