The Irish Age Friendly Counties Programme is a national initiative aimed at developing an 'age friendly county programme' in all Local Authority areas in the country. To date there are 11 such programmes fully operational, with a further ten on the starting blocks and the ambition is to have the remaining 13 areas operational by the end of 2013.
The programme now involves a clear three stage process:
The different Alliances have now built up a strong track record of imaginative changes at local level - from Men's Sheds and Bogus Caller Cards to Age Friendly Business Recognition Schemes, lengthened traffic light crossing times and 'age-friendly town' initiatives. The programme is supported at national level by a National Implementation Group, comprising Assistant Secretaries from four government departments, Assistant Police Commissioner, Head of Older People's Services in the Health Service, county managers and the Director of Ageing Well Network, the national promotion body for the programme.
The overarching goal of Ireland’s Age Friendly Counties Programme is that every county in Ireland will be a great place in which to grow old. The Age Friendly Counties Programme works from the premise that older people are a valuable resource to their communities and to our society in general. The voice of the older person is at the heart of the Age Friendly Counties Programme.
Age Friendly – Beneficial for All
An Age Friendly community benefits people of all ages. Secure neighbourhoods are safe for children and young people, women and older adults. Families worry less when their older relations have the services and supports they need. Accessible buildings and streets enhance the mobility and independence of both younger and older people with disabilities. The whole community benefits from the participation of older people in volunteering or paid work and activities. By working together to make our towns, villages and counties age friendly, we can address the needs of not just our older citizens but of all age groups.
WHO Global Network of Age-friendly Cities
The Age Friendly Counties Programme is affiliated to the WHO Global Network of Age-friendly Cities. The Network is a part of an international effort by the WHO to address the twin global challenges of demographic ageing and urbanisation by focusing on the environmental, economic and social factors that contribute to active and healthy ageing in societies. The WHO has developed a set of guidelines for cities interested in becoming age friendly and has also developed a framework for assessing and developing age friendly communities, comprising eight interrelated elements. The AFC Programme in Ireland has adopted this framework.
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