Committed To Becoming More Age-Friendly
The city of Ourense is one of the four provincial capitals of the region of Galicia, in northwestern Spain. Being a former Roman settlement at the confluence of the Miño and Barbaña rivers, one of its riches since ancient times has been the abundance and quality of its thermal waters. Thus, Ourense has become one of the six founding members of the European Historic Thermal Towns Association.
With a highly growing aging population, the entry of Ourense in the WHO’s Global Network of Age-Friendly Cities and Communities in 2013 set the priority objective of creating mechanisms for involving older people. To that end, the Consello de Maiores (Council of Elders), which has scheduled specific meetings during this time, has worked in order to collect the opinions of older people on the city’s physical, cultural, social and service fields. The meetings have been attended by associations, foundations, companies and political representatives. This is therefore a first approach in order to assess the strengths and weaknesses of the city and its degree of adaptation, in all respects, to the needs of the elders. For further study and identifying goals and objectives that will improve their quality of life, a Plan for the Elderly is under development. After a diagnosis is made, an improvement in those areas where problems have been identified will be determined. During the next three years, the actions to be developed, the monitoring and the periodic assessment of results will be established, in which seniors will participate actively.
The Active Aging Programme, which begun years ago, has continued with great success. The various courses and workshops are looking for a positive use of leisure time, while also increasing the degree of personal autonomy and improving the elder people’s physical, mental and social health. The proposals have been varied over the years: physical activities like pilates, gymnastics, tai-chi, newcomball and swimming; arts and crafts activities like painting, theatre and music; cognitive stimulation activities like memory, social skills, laughter therapy and encouraging reading; computer skill and use of mobile phones.