Longford Older People’s Council (OPC) help launch National Positive Ageing Indicators Report in Cavan Crystal Hotel

Alan Walsh

Reporter:

Alan Walsh

Longford Older People’s Council (OPC) help launch National Positive Ageing Indicators Report in Cavan Crystal Hotel

L to r; Janine Bartley (Longford County Council), Carmel Ward (Longford OPC), Des Skelly (Longford OPC), Minister Helen McEntee TD, Maureen Mulryan (Longford OPC) & Madeline Bennett (Longford OPC).

Members of the Longford Older People’s Council (OPC) were on hand to help launch the National Positive Ageing Indicators Report in Cavan Crystal Hotel along with Minister for Mental Health and Older People Helen McEntee TD.

The National Positive Ageing Indicators Report  is part of the Healthy and Positive Ageing Initiative, a joint programme between the Department of Health, The Atlantic Philanthropies, the HSE and Age Friendly Ireland.

According to the report:

* Most people aged 50+ feel very positive about later life – almost three quarters agreed that ageing was a time of personal growth (73%) but on the other hand almost one in five (19%) said that a shortage of money stopped them from doing the things they want to do.  

* Many in the 50+ age group contribute to their families and communities by providing care to a child or grandchild (32%) or through volunteer work (26%) but 45% of them reported that they felt discriminated against because of their age.

* Over nine out of ten (93%) people aged 50+ have at least one supportive relative or friend but 7.1% of people aged 50+ often feel lonely.

* Eight out of 10 people (80%) aged 50+ rates their health as good or very good but six out of 10 people (61%) aged 50+ have a chronic disease.

* Almost half (48%) of people aged 50+ used the internet other than for work.

* Over two thirds (67%) people aged 50+ report low levels of physical activity.

* Eight out of 10 (82%) people aged 50+ report high life satisfaction but almost one in 10 (9%) people aged 50+ report severe depressive symptoms.

The number of people in Ireland over 65 years is expected to double, reaching 1.4 million by 2040 and those aged over 80 years will quadruple in that same time period.

Launching the report Minister McEntee said “As Minister for Older People I am very aware that planning for positive ageing goes well beyond the extension of average lifespan, where much progress has already been made and is continuing.  A good quality of life and maximising independence is what we must work to achieve. We need to develop strong devolved local government capable of engaging all in bringing about changes in planning, health, housing, transport, safety and public space management.”

Welcoming this report, Bob Gilbert Chair of Cavan’s Older People’s Council and Chair of the National Network of Older People’s Councils said “It’s fitting that such a heavyweight report is launched here today at our National Convention of Older People’s Councils where the voice of older people is loud and clear and that voice is echoed throughout this report.  These findings can really inform and improve our age friendly cities and counties programme into 2017 and beyond, and such an investment will be of benefit to all Irish citizens into the future, because ageing isn’t a choice or an achievement, it is a fact and it comes to us all.”

The Healthy and Positive Ageing in Ireland (HaPAI) team worked with older people and other stakeholders locally and nationally to agree the indicators that were most relevant and important for Positive Ageing. Further information on www.hapai.net 

This report presents lots of positive messages but also highlights areas that we need to improve on for an ageing population in Ireland that presents both a challenge and an opportunity for all of Government and society at large.  It contains 56 indicators spanning the whole range of areas identified by the National Positive Ageing Strategy, under its three pillars of Participation, Health and Security.