Committed To Becoming More Age-Friendly
Ostrów Wielkopolski Poland
The authorities of Ostrów Wielkopolski, aware of the challenges associated with an aging population and the increasing role that seniors play in a social life, have taken a number of system policy initiatives related to older citizens. Ostrów Wielkopolski (POLAND) is one of the biggest towns in the south part of Greater Poland – it counts close to 72 thousands inhabitants. 23 % of its, close to 17 000 inhabitants, are over 60 years old.
Among age – friendly initiatives are:
1. Program “Seniors Card of Ostrów”
Introduced in 2015. The aim of the program is to enforce a social activity of older people by creating and developing a system of discounts on different products and services, culture and entertainment. Cardholders can take advantage of existing benefits prepared both by town institutions and by private companies. The program gives support to private companies too. The entities that are interested in collaborating with the local government obtain the status of “a partner of the program” and a promotional support from the Town. Before the program was introduced, the analysis concerning the expectations of the older people and their current situation was made. Currently the program consists of 6 755 seniors and 135 partners.
2. Town’s Senior Council
It is an advisory body of the authorities of the town which consists of 8 members (seniors) elected by non-governmental organizations. The Council formulates opinions on strategic and current plans of the town, and proposes its own ideas. The members of the council are available to all inhabitants once a month ( “on – call time”).
3. Day Care Centre “Senior – WIGOR”
The Centre – inaugurated in 2016 thanks to the government funding – is dedicated to inhabitants over 60 years old. It offers many services, such as: care, occupational therapy, meals, expert advice, recreational and cultural offer, physiotherapist, physical exercises, library. In 2016 there was conducted a training financed from UE sources entitled: “The Academy of @ctivity: computer training dedicated to people over 50 years old and older”. Senior – Wigor gives a chance to senior citizens for Dignified Aging. It gives a support both for the older people and to their families.
4. Tele – Care Program
Thanks to “Tele – Care Program” the older people can call for help in any circumstances, no matter if they need medical help, they are in danger or they need other kind of support. Each senior that is involved in the system received “an alert bracelet”. To call for help senior has just to press a button in the bracelet. In this way he is redirected to the twenty -four- hour Tele – Care Centre.
5. Free Flu Vaccines
Around 900 seniors can take a free flu vaccine in 2016. This is due to one of the town’s programs of Health Policy. The program is financed from the town budget.
6. University of the Third Year in Ostrów Wielkopolski
This is a space for seniors, where they gain knowledge, spend time actively and integrate. The university offers artistic, cultural and sport activities, foreign language workshops, a lot of projects and programs. It offers: “traveller club”, bike section, dance and literature workshops too. In 2015 the university had 425 students – this number is increasing every year. It is worth mentioned that in 2016 there was organized an event called ”SENIORIADA” in which participated around 300 older people.
7. Senior Clubs
They were created at the Ostrów Culture Centre, self-government cultural institution. Within the framework of clubs many initiatives were undertaken, such as, for example: Senior’s Day, screenings of films, etc.
8. Free local transport
Free local transport for citizens over 70 years old is offered in Ostrów Wielkopolski. The local buses are adapted for senior citizens. There are 48 (of total number 59) low- floor buses in the town. There is also a system of voice announcements (buttons in the electronic tables) in bus stops. Local bus routes are adapted to the needs of older citizens: buses stops are located at churches, hospital, cemeteries, etc. The benches are installed at the bus stops.
9. Senior Time Bank (we are planning to introduce it)
The offer of “Senior Time Bank” consists in mutual, free service offering between older citizens. The functioning of the Senior Time Bank is very easy. Every member of the group provides their services to other member of the group, beginning from computer use, ending with tap fixing. Apart from the benefits of the cooperation, seniors integrate, develop new skills, and, what is most important, they feel needed.