Longford's Positive Ageing Week proves a huge success

Jessica Thompson

Reporter:

Jessica Thompson

Email:

jessica.thompson@longfordleader.ie

Longford's Positive Ageing Week proves a huge success

Felicia Loughrey (LCRL), Terry Doherty (Volunteer Centre Coordinator), Mary Mulvey (LCRL), Mary Hughes, Frank and Phyllis Meally in the Longford Arms to mark Positive Ageing Week

Longford was celebrating its older people recently as Positive Ageing Week kicked off in the town.

A number of events were held between September 26 and October 2 and, according to County Librarian, Mary Carleton Reynolds, the whole week was “a great success”.

A free information day was held in the Longford Arms on Thursday, September 28, which was very well attended.

“Over 125 people from across the county came to our information day and 19 service providers exhibited their services,” said Ms Carleton Reynolds.

“It was a fantastic opportunity for older people to learn what services are available to them.

“We've had great feedback too. Information is key to everything - information and communication.”
Service providers in attendance on the day included the County Council Housing section, the HSE, Citizens Information, Longford/Westmeath ETB, Longford Warmer Homes, the Arhtritis Association and many more.

And, to top it off, local country star Mick Flavin dropped in to sing a few songs and mingle with the crowds.

“We're so grateful to all the groups and agencies who provide services for older people,” said Ms Carleton Reynolds.

“We had attendance from individuals and from active retirement groups. They really engaged with the service providers.

“It was a very positive day for Longford and really highlighted the services available to older people in the county.”

Ms Carleton Reynolds also pointed out that anyone who would like to join the older person's council is welcome to do so by contacting the Longford Library on 043 33 41124 or emailing the library at library@longfordcoco.ie.

Also worth noting is the lengths the town is going to to ensure ease of access for its older people.

In fact, during Positive Ageing Week, a mobility audit was carried out by the Longford Public Participation Network (PPN), Longford County Council and the Older Persons Council (OPC).

The audit started from the main Council building up Great Water Street down towards the Army Barracks back up Main Street and finished at the Market Square, Ballymahon Street.

“The PPN is what links community groups to the council,” explained PPN Development Worker, Siobhán Cronogue.

“This was our first mobility audit and we'll be doing a few more each week through different streets.

“We want to put a plan in place to ensure that our 41 reps are included.”

The main aim of this audit was to capture access issues older persons and people living with disabilities face every day so a plan can be put in place and budget secured by Longford County Council to commence work on rectifying some of these issues.

Some of the issues highlighted were kerbs too high for those on mobility scooters, rotarys and wheelchairs, loose and broken pavements that are a trip hazard to all, audio boxes not loud enough, the timing of traffic lights not at the correct setting and pedestrian crossings needed in certain areas.
There were also disability parking bays in need of a re- paint.

“There's an awful lot of work to be done, but we're all in agreement that we're off to a good start,” said Ms Cronogue.

“We're striving to make Longford a disability-friendly town.”