Committed To Becoming More Age-Friendly
Fingal County Council and Fingal County Development Board launched the Fingal Age Friendly County Initiative on September 9th 2011. The initiative was endorsed by the County Manager David O’Connor who appointed a Project Manager, Eithne Mallin, from the staff of the Fingal County Development Board. Following ratification by the Council members and the CDB a Strategic Alliance was formed and the voice of older people sought. The process passed an historical milestone with the signing of the Dublin Declaration in September 2011 by the County Mayor. The initiative engaged in a broad consultation phase and since September 2011 several consultation days/group development days have been held throughout the county with older people including Senior Citizens/Active Retirement Groups. Additionally, an Age Friendly County baseline questionnaire was rolled out around the County. 622 responses were submitted by older people who wanted to have a say on what makes a county Age Friendly. The strategy was officially launched on Tuesday 26thJune 2012 by the then Minister for Health James Reilly.
What did Older People tell us:
Across all of the eight strategic themes (as outlined by the World Health Organization) Transport has emerged as the most pressing issue. Specifically older people had difficulties attending medical & health appointments.
How has the County responded:
Based on the feedback from the consultation process and the fact that Transport was the key issue for older people in Fingal, the Council in association with the Charity ‘Vantastic’ and the Fingal Older People’s Forum rolled out a pilot transport initiative which has subsequently been evaluated. Based on the cost effectiveness this route/service is now funded by mainstream HSE funding through the PTS strand. In addition Fingal have reconvened the Fingal Development Board’s Transport Working Group to consider transport issues with a view to exploring opportunities to resolving them.
Computer Training/Digitise the Nation: Consultation for the Fingal Age Friendly County Strategy revealed that many older people in Fingal had access to or owned a computer but were unsure how to use it for anything other than solitaire. While children of older people had bought them laptops to help them keep in touch, many were not being used for this purpose, and some older people were too nervous to even turn them on. Other older people could already use computers but were keen to expand their knowledge, and learn how to carry out banking transactions, upload photographs and keep in touch online with friends and family living abroad. Computer training courses tailored to the needs of older people were rolled out by Fingal County Council and Fingal Senior Citizen’s Forum in association with Digitise the Nation. Digitise the Nation provided a mobile classroom with a tutor and 10 computers on board, while community centres and GAA clubs provided their car parks and electricity.
Over 120 older people availed of the computer training over a three week period. Participants learned how to get started with email and the internet, making it easier for them to stay in touch with family and friends. They learned how to use the internet to search for jobs, news and other information, and even to save money.
Health, Fitness and Well Being Initiative: Older people in the Fingal area made it clear when consulted that they want to stay fit and healthy for as long as they can, using local facilities to do so. As a result the Health, Fitness and Well Being Initiative was developed. Under the banner of the Fingal Age Friendly Strategy, the Sports Development Department in the Institute of Technology, Blanchardstown worked in partnership with Fingal County Council and the members of the Fingal Senior Citizen’s Forum to develop this initiative. The first phase of the initiative saw 50 older people from Dublin attend a 10-week course on health, fitness & well-being. The course was designed by 4th Year sports students in consultation with older people, and as part of the course, each participant was challenged to follow an exercise regime tailored to their own needs. For the second phase of the initiative, the 4th Year students developed a two-day course for 45 older people from around the county. This “taster day” course offered sessions on nutrition, horticulture and computers, as well as instruction on how to use gym equipment safely and demonstrations on using the Tone Zone equipment in local parks.
For more detailed information on these and the other commitments / actions please refer to the Fingal Age Friendly County Strategy 2012-2017