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Age Friendly Alliance

The Age Friendly Alliance is a high-level cross-sector group, often chaired by the local authority Chief Executive, whose member agencies form an overarching strategic partnership.

Age Friendly Ireland actively promotes partnerships and collaborations. Age Friendly Programmes are run by effective city and county-based Alliances, involving senior decision-makers from public, commercial and not-for-profit organisations. They would typically include members from Local Authority, An Garda Siochana (Irish Police), Health Service Executive, Transport, Education, Business and the Chair of the local Older People’s Council. Age Friendly Ireland assists Alliances aim to streamline the work of all key players at local level, putting the views, interests and needs of older people at their core. Through an Older People’s Council in each participating local authority area older people exercise a strong, guiding influence on age-friendly local development.

Age Friendly Ireland provides guidance to the Alliances as they engage and consult widely with older people. The Age Friendly City and County Strategies which the Alliances draw up are based squarely on the expressed views, needs and interests of older people. Through an Alliance’s Age Friendly Strategy, participating service providers and businesses become accountable to each other, and to older people, for the age-friendly actions they take.

Older People’s Council

Members of Cavan OPC Executive Committee June 2023

A key strength of the Age Friendly Programme is its reliance on the voice of older people. This is achieved through the active management of formal Older People’s Councils in each local authority area. These representative structures are a crucial vehicle for listening to older people and engaging them in decision-making processes. All infrastructural developments and social support initiatives can benefit from these structures in having a pathway to hear about older people’s needs and consult with them on proposed developments. They provide a citizen or service user perspective in monitoring the implementation of strategies.

Older People’s Councils are two tier structures that have a wide membership base representing all older people in the community, and an elected Executive Committee. The membership is made up of individual older people and older people’s groups.

Members can include individual older people and older people’s groups, for example, active retirement groups, people with dementia, people living in residential care, and people of different ethnicities.

Older People Council using an Age Friendly Bench in Cork City

Age Friendly Programme Managers

Each Local Authority Age Friendly Programme is coordinated by the Age Friendly Programme Manager who plays a fundamental role in the implementation of the age friendly programme across Ireland. They work with their local Alliance to develop and implement an Age Friendly Strategy and Action Plans.

The Programme Manager adopts initiatives that respond to priorities raised at local level and supports the scaling up and replication of good practices across all participating age friendly programme areas. They support the local Older People’s Council and are the primary contact for same. Technical guidance is given to Programme Managers on a day to day basis through the shared service programme office and onsite visits by the National Programme Manager to support specific objectives where required.

Across the network of 31 Age Friendly Programmes a strong cohesive network has developed underpinned by the role & functions of the Programme Managers. This network ensures that there is consistency in application and critical success factors are preserved in implementation.

Age Friendly Housing Technical Advisor

There is an Age Friendly Housing Technical Advisor in every local authority providing specialist housing advice to members of the public and organisations.

A key principle underpinning the Government housing policy is to support older people to live in their own home with dignity and independence for as long as possible. The aim is to ensure that older people will have greater choice by developing a range of housing options that are suited to their needs, so they can plan ahead and, insofar as possible, choose the right home for themselves.

Each local authority has an assigned staff member as the local authority Age Friendly Housing Technical Advisor. They provide specialist advice to the authority itself, to private sector organisations interested in providing age friendly housing and to the general public.

St. Joseph Age Friendly Housing Development

The role of the Age Friendly Housing Technical Advisor is to:

  • Act as the key point of contact for matters relating to age friendly housing technical queries specifically around designing for life and universal design principles
  • Respond to and progress referrals and queries from a range of sectors including in house staff (particularly across Planning & Housing), external stakeholders & agencies, private sector developers, Approved Housing Bodies and individuals
  • Provide clients with information on key contacts within their local authority who can discuss issues and solutions around age friendly housing and public realm works
  • Refer to models of good/best practice in other areas and sharing technical plans and development specification
  • Provide contacts, as appropriate, of people outside the local authority who might be able to provide technical guidance and assistance particularly in relation to universal design principles and crime prevention through environmental design principles

Healthy Age Friendly Homes Coordinator

Tenants standing in front of a house

There is a Healthy Age Friendly Homes Coordinator in every Local Authority in the country.

The local coordinators undertake home visits to older people living in the community and carry out assessments aligned to the four domains of housing, health, community/social supports and technology to assist ageing in place. The coordinators agree a personal plan with each individual older participant and support them to access a range of services which include housing adaptation grants, home energy improvements, health appointments, befriending or other community services, or technology supports. The programme collaborates with a broad spectrum of agencies and services, including personnel in local Government, health services, transport, community and voluntary groups, Gardaí, elected members and others.

Age Friendly Interdepartmental Group

The Inter-departmental team is made up of representatives from across each of the Local Authority departments, including Housing, Operations, Communications, Transport, Planning, Architects, Community and Economic Development. Working collaboratively to ensure that the age friendly agenda is incorporated into all local government work.

Community Information Event - Manorhamilton, Leitrim. March 2023