2013-12-10 15:42:35 - Details of a new strategy aimed at establishing a more age friendly community in Limerick have been announced.
More than 140 people gathered in Adare today for the launch of the Limerick Age Friendly Programme which will be driven by a newly formed Alliance, comprising representatives of Limerick’s key statutory and community not-for-profit organisations.
A countywide series of public consultations will commence in early 2014 when members of the community, especially older people, will be asked to submit their suggestions as to how Limerick can be made a more age friendly place to live in, to work in and to visit. The end result, an Age Friendly Action Plan and Strategy for Limerick is expected to be finalised by the middle of next year.
Figures from the Central Statistic Office show that while the population of Limerick grew by 3.4%
(3,187 people) between 2006 and 2011, the number of people aged between 55 and 85 years increased by 13.4%. Furthermore, the average age of a person living in Limerick in 2006 was 35.6 years of age in 2006 compared to 36.5 years of age just five years later.
“It is clear that the roll out of the Limerick Age Friendly Programme is both urgent and timely,” explained Mayor of Limerick Cllr. Kathleen Leddin, who attended today’s launch event in the Woodlands House Hotel.
Mayor Leddin continued: “The launch of this Programme represents the beginning of a journey that will provide everyone involved with a greater awareness of the needs of older people in our communities. It is also critically important that we identify how the local community can benefit from the strengths, knowledge and life experience of our elderly citizens In the meantime, the ability of our elderly citizens to access basic services needs to be assessed while their thoughts on a range of other issues that may be affecting them need to be heard.”
Cathaoirleach of Limerick County Council, Cllr. John Sheahan explained that the development of an Age Friendly Strategy and Action Plan must be reflective of the “positive contribution that a healthier and more active ageing population can make to our community and our society in general”.
“As life expectancy increases the onus is on society to adapt in a manner that provides older people with the physical, economic and cultural opportunities to ensure they enjoy the best quality of life. By signing up to Ireland’s national Age-friendly Cities and Counties programme (AFCC), Limerick is committing itself to establishing a City and County where older people can live full, active and healthy lives. By having the key statutory, and community not-for-profit organisations working together over the coming years, we can achieve our objectives,” added Cllr. Sheahan.
The Alliance overseeing the rollout of the Age Friendly Programme includes representatives from Limerick City and County Council, An Garda Síochána, the HSE, local academic institutions and voluntary organisations from across Limerick. The group is chaired by Conn Murray, Manager of Limerick City & County Council.
Mr. Murray explained that the Limerick Age Friendly Programme forms part of a national programme, which aims to make Ireland the world’s first age friendly country.
According to Mr. Murray: “By signing up to Ireland’s national Age-friendly Cities and Counties programme (AFCC), a scheme that promotes inclusiveness and partnership - Limerick is committing itself to establishing a City and County where older people can live full, active and healthy lives. At the end of this public consultation process, we will be well placed to draft an Action Plan and Strategy that outlines how Limerick can set about declaring itself as an Age Friendly Community.”
“As part of the plan preparation process, a number of public consultation sessions are being organised in order to ensure that the Plan is informed by the views and priorities of older people living in Limerick. It is important that no section of the local community is left behind in the future delivery of services across Limerick. Collaboration amongst key agencies and communities is also key to delivering a comprehensive and effective strategy,” added Mr. Murray.
Dates and venues for the public consultation sessions will be announced in January 2014. For more information contact Dara McGuigan, Home and Community, Limerick City and County Council on 061 407308 / 087 667 51 37.