HEALTHY & POSITIVE AGEING INITIATIVE PRELIMINARY REPORT
Positive and healthy ageing are in everyone’s interest
In the past, policy relating to older people tended to deal almost exclusively with health and social care issues, focusing on burden and costs. With the launch of the National Positive Ageing Strategy, this Government sought to change that view of ageing, to highlight the positives and to create the conditions to allow all older people to flourish.
Over the next 30 years, the number of people in Ireland over the age of 65 will double and the number over 80 will quadruple.
This population ageing poses challenges for our health, care and pension systems as well as our capacity to create environments which will allow us lead healthy, active and engaged lives.
The National Positive Ageing Strategy sets out a vision for an age-friendly society and includes four National Goals around participation, health, security, and research to provide direction on the issues that need to be addressed to promote positive ageing. The Strategy is to be implemented under the broader Healthy Ireland framework, which sets out a vision to improve the health and wellbeing of the entire population of Ireland. Both the Minister for Health and I have reiterated our commitment
to implementing the National Positive Ageing Strategy in our statement of health priorities for 2015.
To be successful, implementation of this Strategy must be the responsibility of all sectors of society: government, health
service providers, local authorities, businesses, voluntary groups, families and we as individuals all have our part to play. Many
of the factors that contribute to a good quality of life for older people and to the creation of communities in which ageing can be a positive experience are influenced at local level. The local authority led, multi-agency Age Friendly Cities and Counties programme provides an excellent example of cooperation
for positive ageing by bringing together all the key players in local service provision to improve the lives of older people. The establishment of Older People’s Councils in each participating local authority area also gives older people a strong voice to influence local development.
We know that in order to plan for an ageing population, policy makers have to be able to make projections of future need across all policy areas. We also need access to valid, reliable and timely evidence about the determinants of health, wellbeing and quality of life and the relationships between them. The Healthy and Positive Ageing Initiative (HaPAI) aims to provide this evidence. It is a national three-year programme of research, data translation, health promotion and dissemination led by the Department of Health with the HSE and Age Friendly Ireland as key partners. It has benefited, like so many other initiatives in the ageing field, from a significant financial contribution from the Atlantic Philanthropies, as well as the Department of Health and the HSE.
This report, the first for the Healthy and Positive Ageing Initiative, provides an overview of current evidence on the lives of older people. It will establish a baseline against which we can measure progress on positive ageing and allow us to identify areas of potential need.
Kathleen Lynch TD
Minister of State at the Department of Health