Age Friendly Borough
Stephanie Rock, Age Friendly Officer with Armagh City, Banbridge & Craigavon Borough Council reflects on her role on developing an Age Friendly Programme for the Borough. Living longer is a huge opportunity if we adapt our neighbourhoods and communities to work for us as we age.
“As we grow older, we often spend more time in our homes and communities, so our immediate environment has a significant impact on our health, wellbeing and the quality of our lives. Age Friendly areas are essential for our ageing population. “
The population of Northern Ireland is becoming increasingly older as is the population in Armagh City, Banbridge & Craigavon Borough, with the numbers of those aged 65+ yrs. projected to grow by 65.6% and those 85+ yrs. by 125.8% in the next 23 years. There are also growing numbers of older people living with dementia, multiple long-term health conditions and in social isolation.
The Executive’s Active Ageing Strategy 2016-22 has a vision of an age friendly region in which people, as they grow older, are valued and supported to live actively to their fullest potential, with their rights respected and their dignity protected. In response to this, Council received funding from the Public Health Agency to support the development of an Age Friendly Borough.
Age Friendly is a framework developed by the World Health Organisation (WHO) to support the development of Age Friendly communities looking at the following eight themes:
- Outdoor space and buildings
- Social participation
- Respect and social inclusion
- Civic participation and employment
- Communication and information
- Community support and health services
An ABC Age Friendly Alliance was formed in March 2021 utilising a co-production approach and engaging a range of stakeholders including older people. The inaugural meeting of the Alliance took place virtually with 36 people online. This meeting was to inform Alliance members about Age Friendly practise and to encourage and inspire stakeholders embarking on the Age Friendly Journey. Speakers at the event included Mairead Cranley, Programme Manager with Age Friendly Ireland, who gave an overview of their Programme and how it links in with local government. David Hammerton, Chair of the ABC Seniors Network spoke about the role his organisation will play in helping to deliver an Age Friendly Borough and the Commissioner for Older People closed the event highlighting the importance of developing Age Friendly Communities.
The Alliance sits under the ABC Community Planning Response & Recovery Plan 2020-2021 as an action under the Target Hardship, Poverty and Inequality theme. The group will work collaboratively to meet the outcomes of the community plan in relation to Age Friendly and promote the best possible health and wellbeing, safety and quality of life outcomes for older adults living in the council area. They will oversee, promote and encourage the design and implementation of an Age Friendly Strategy and a 3-year Action Plan that will be developed in association with ABC Seniors Network and consistent with Age Friendly approaches being implemented regionally and beyond.<< Back to blogs