Committed To Becoming More Age-Friendly
Age Friendly Ireland Ireland
Age Friendly Ireland is the organisation responsible for the national Age Friendly Programme, affiliated to the World Health Organization’s [WHO] Global Network of Age Friendly Cities and Communities. The programme involves a multiagency, multi-sectoral approach to age-related planning and service provision. Age Friendly Ireland supports cities and counties to be more inclusive of older people by addressing their expressed concerns and interests under the eight domains of liveability of the World Health Organization’s global programme.
Age Friendly Ireland operates as a shared service centre of local government hosted by Meath County Council. The shared service centre supports a network of 31 local Age Friendly Programmes which are led by local authorities and which involve many stakeholders from other public bodies, universities, community/voluntary and private sector partners. The shared service supports a number of strategic national structures and provides technical guidance to its networks.
Within the framework of the WHO’s Age Friendly Cities and Communities model, city and county based stakeholders are making commitments to shared action plans addressing pillars spanning housing, our health services, built environment, transport and employment. Under the leadership of the local authority, governance is anchored in the multi-agency Age-Friendly Alliances, supported by broadly representative Older People’s Councils actively engaged as co-design partners.
Successful Age Friendly Programmes are working to create the kinds of communities in which older people live autonomous, independent and valued lives. To date, the local government led Age Friendly Programmes across Ireland have implemented real change in imaginative and cost-effective ways. Access to outdoor spaces and buildings is fundamental to the vision.
The programme has a strong focus on creating walkable, attractive and accessible communities and age-friendly spaces. By introducing actions to address participation and inequality it is intended that people of all ages will be supported to enjoy healthier, more active and connected lives.
In December 2019 after a decade of work, Ireland was formally recognised by the World Health Organisation as an international leader and the first Age Friendly country in the world.
Age Friendly Ireland has developed the Age Friendly Towns Toolkit. This forms part of the suite of resources that the Age Friendly shared service makes available to support Irish society to prepare for population ageing. We hope that this will inform other stadia across the world through the network of Global Affiliates to the Age Friendly Cities and Communities Programme.
Healthy Age Friendly Homes
The Healthy Age Friendly Homes Programme sets out to support older people to live in their own home with dignity and independence for as long as possible. The Programme’s ambition is to enable people to live longer healthier lives in their own home, being and feeling part of their community, by ensuring they are in a suitable living environment, for accessibility, size, safety, and environment, including warmth.
Research shows that the majority of people wan to remain in their own home as they age. However, sometimes their home is not suitable as their needs change, their financial means decrease or their mobility declines. With the right assessment and intervention, the living environment can be changed from being one of a health risk to one of health support.
Click here for more information on the Healthy Age Friendly Homes Programme
Older People’s Councils
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. The Programme for Government (2011-2016) committed to the establishment of Older People’s Councils by Local Authorities so that older people can raise concerns or issues of importance at a local level. This short guide will explain how Older People’s Councils have been set up in Ireland.
The principal aim of the Age Friendly Programme is to give older people a strong voice in decision-making on housing, health, spatial planning and all aspects of everyday living so that policies will be inclusive of the needs and choices of older people in urban and rural areas. The approach also gives older people a joint platform as senior managers of voluntary and state agencies in the development, implementation and monitoring of Age Friendly strategies in each local authority.
You can read Age Friendly Ireland’s “Older People’s Council Guidelines” by clicking here
Age Friendly Business
“If you design for the young, you exclude the old. But if you design for the old you include everyone” – Glenn Millar, Director of Education and Research, Canadian Urban Development Institute.
Older people account for up to 50% of all consumer spending in the EU. They have the time to shop, they like to shop and they are loyal customers. They will come back to you again and again if you make the consumer experience comfortable and pleasant for them. The Age Friendly Business Recognition Programme sets out to make sure your business values the older consumer and is prepared to put a few simple low-costs or no-cost changes in place to make the business more accessible and welcoming to the older customer. With the large volume of consumer spending older people account for, it makes complete sense to put a little time and thought into becoming Age Friendly.
Businesses that take part will be joining top brands, such as Bank of Ireland, Vodaphone, Specsavers etc. Make your business Age Friendly and watch it grow! Click here to read more about the Age Friendly Business Recognition Programme or click here to view our searchable database of current business recognised by us as an Age Friendly Business.
Age Friendly Towns
An Age Friendly Town is one in which older people are actively involved in social, economic and cultural life and in creating a better local environment, to everybody’s benefit. Age Friendly Towns respond to what the older community needs. They come about when older people get together and work with other groups in the community, such as local authorities, health services, transport companies and/or local businesses, to transform where they live to benefit both themselves and the wider community.
The World Health Organisation (WHO) identifies eight Age Friendly themes which define the quality of everyday life for older people. Age Friendly Ireland has added to these by showing what can be achieved, in practical terms, across each of these thematic areas. In this way they can be used in consultations to judge how Age Friendly a town is.
By prioritising the participation of older people, Age Friendly Towns improve life for everyone in the community. Many of the key determinants of quality of life are decided at local level, and quite often it is the smaller things that make the difference. The list below includes some simple changes that have come about as part of the Age Friendly Towns Programme and which are really helping to improve everyone’s quality of life. The national Age Friendly Towns Programme supports local, community-driven projects. The local focus means that everyone can experience real change and impact on their lives.
You can read more on Age Friendly Towns by clicking here
Age Friendly Stadium
Ireland is one of a few countries that has a total territorial coverage in age-friendly initiatives, something recognised by the World Health Organisation. At the heart of this comprehensive coverage is a range of partnership arrangements between the Country’s local authorities and local and national bodies, including sporting organisations.
In April this year, Croke Park achieved a world first in becoming recognised as an Age-Friendly stadium by the World Health Organization and Age Friendly Ireland. Dublin City Council and its Age-Friendly Programme supported the development of the stadium as part of their wider efforts to ensure the capital city of Ireland is a great place in which to grow old.
This recognition marks a journey for the stadium that involved consulting with older people and putting actions in place to make the facility more accessible and accommodating of older people’s diverse needs.
This work is aligned to the World Health Organization’s domain of Outdoor Spaces and Buildings, an essential element of how they define an age-friendly community.
You can read more on the Age Friendly Stadium initiative by clicking here.
Age Friendly Tourist Destination
Age Friendly destinations try to predict and address potential barriers to older people visiting, whether this is through information provision, design of the built environment, or ensuring transport options are provided. They have special offerings for older customers and listen more to what their older customers want.
A first of its kind in Ireland, Beyond the Trees Avondale features an elevated 700 metre Treetop Walk with a 12-storey high Viewing Tower made from locally sourced Douglas fir and larch wood, where visitors can experience the beauty of Avondale’s tree canopy and enjoy incredible views of Wicklow’s countryside.
The Treetop Walk and Viewing Tower visitor experience is fully accessible, and the visitor centre has been designed to ensure universal access, featuring entry ramps and an accessible lift in the building. There are also generously appointed accessible toilets and baby changing facilities provided, including a fully equipped Changing Place room. Wheelchairs are available to loan on site. A sensory garden located in the courtyard area is designed to be a welcoming space to both children and adults especially those who have sensory processing challenges, including autism, physical disabilities, and dementia.
You can read more on Age Friendly Tourist Destination’s by clicking here.