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Age Friendly ABC

Age Friendly ABC

What does Age Friendly mean?

An Age Friendly programme is an opportunity to make our Council area a place where older people can live full, active, valued and healthy lives.

It is a place that enables people to age well and live a good later life. Somewhere that people can stay living in their homes, participate in the activities they value, and contribute to their communities, for as long as possible.

Older man and woman using laptop computer

So why do we need an Age Friendly Programme?

We have all heard about our Ageing Population and 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. They are communities where age is not a barrier to living well and where the environment, activities and services support and enable older people to:

  • Have opportunities to enjoy life and feel well.
  • Participate in society and be valued for their contribution.
  • Have enough money to live well.
  • Feel safe, comfortable and secure at home.
  • Be able to access quality health and care.

The Public Health Agency recognise that Age Friendly is one of the most effective local policy approaches for responding to demographic ageing and the vision contained in the Northern Ireland Active Ageing Strategy 2016 – 2021 is that councils will lead the development and implementation of age friendly plans within their local area. To date PHA have commissioned all 11 Councils to deliver the approach. Age Friendly  ABC sits as an action on the ABC Community Planning Response & Recovery Plan 2020-2021 under the theme: Target Hardship, Poverty and Inequality.

So why the need now?

In Armagh, Banbridge and Craigavon by 2033 there will be more people aged 65+ (20.7%) than those aged under 16 (19.9%)

In our Borough there are 34,993 people aged 65+ and this number will grow by 58.7% in the next 23 years and the number of residents aged 85+ is set to rise by a staggering 111.9% by 2043. We also recognise that growing numbers of older people are living with dementia, multiple long term health conditions and in social isolation. Developing an Age Friendly Borough is one of the most effective local policy approaches for responding to demographic ageing.

At the time of Census 2021, the total population in the borough was 218,656 of which 76,616 (35%) were aged 50+.

Age 2021 Population Estimates 2041 Projections* % Change from 2021 2043 Projections* % Change from 2023
0-64 183,667 193,835 5.5% 195,338 6.4%
65+ 34,993 54,427 55.5% 55,532 58.7%
65-84 30,888 46,329 50.0% 46,833 51.6%
85+ 4,105 8,098 97.3% 8,699 111.9%
Total 218,660 248,262 13.5% 250,870 14.7%

The Age Friendly Officer sits within the Environmental Health Department in ABC Council and follows the framework as set out by the WHO Global Network for Age-friendly Cities and Communities.

The officer will develop and oversee implementation and evaluation of an Age Friendly Strategy and three year Action Plan for the Borough that complements the WHO eight interconnected domains that help to identify and address barriers to the well-being and participation of older people.

Age Friendly Officer ABC
Lord Mayor of Armagh City, Banbridge and Craigavon Borough Council Alderman Margaret Tinsley (centre) is pictured with Elizabeth Reaney, Head of environmental Health ABC (left) and Stephanie Rock, Age Friendly Officer ABC (right).

These include:

  • Outdoor Space and Buildings
  • Transportation
  • Housing
  • Social Participation
  • Respect and Social Inclusion
  • Civic Participation and Employment
  • Communication and Information
  • Community and Health Care

The WHO Global Network for Age-friendly Cities and Communities was developed in 2010 to connect cities, communities and organisations worldwide with the common vision of making their community a great place to grow old in.

As a response to global population ageing and rapid urbanisation, it focuses on action at the local level that fosters the full participation of older people in community life and promotes healthy and active ageing.

ABC Seniors Network takes on the role of the Age Friendly Older Persons Council. The group was developed in 2010 and is the only umbrella group that represents the views of older people living within the Armagh, Banbridge and Craigavon Council areas.

Their aim is to improve the quality of life for older people, provide leadership, and connect older people to their community and to influence Public Authorities. At present, they sit on a wide number of platforms as a voice of older people in this area. There are currently 21 committee members within the Network who voluntarily give up their time and effort to represent the older community within the Borough. They are supported by four support organisations and five community and voluntary members.

ABC Age Friendly Alliance is a partnership approach made up of 56 partners representing 27 organisations. The Alliance meet quarterly and 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 Borough.