As in all other countries in the world, the population of Ireland is ageing. To plan for this, in 2013 the Department of Health published the National Positive Ageing Strategy. The Strategy sets out a vision for an age-friendly society through the achievement of four national goals (participation, health, security and research).
It recognises that all sectors of society – government, businesses, voluntary groups, service providers, local authorities and the general public – have a part to play in creating an age-friendly society.
The Strategy allocates lead responsibility for its Priority Action Areas to various Government Departments and agencies.
It also sets out the need for local joint working structures to complement this national-level activity, since many of the factors that contribute to a good quality of life for older people are community-based
Age Friendliness is an Evolving Process, and won’t be achieved all at once.
Role of Age Friendly Ireland
Established in January 2014 as an intermediary organisation, Age Friendly Ireland coordinates the national Age Friendly Cities and Counties Programme. The Programme brings together, supports and provides technical guidance to the 31 local authority-led, multi-agency Age Friendly City and County Programmes in every local authority area.
Age Friendly Ireland provides the links between the National Positive Ageing Strategy and the Global Age-friendly Cities Guide, published by the World Health Organisation (WHO) in 2007. The Age Friendly Cities and Counties Programme represents the formal localisation of this defined global programme in Ireland.
The WHO programme involves a multi-agency, multi-sectoral approach to age-related planning and service provision. Applying this methodology consistently throughout the country, Age Friendly Ireland helps cities and counties to be more inclusive of older people by addressing their expressed concerns under eight headings:
Outdoor Spaces & Buildings, Transportation, Housing, Respect & Social Inclusion, Social Participation, Communication & Information, Civic Participation & Employment, Community Support & Health Services.