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National Advisory Group

National Advisory Group to Age Friendly Ireland

The Age Friendly National Advisory Group provides governance, oversight, strategic direction and advice in relation to the overall programme achieving its goals and objectives.  They provide guidance and advice where local implementation & best practices can influence national policy on a cross departmental basis and seek to integrate the Programme into existing structures and considering how best to align with other relevant national policies and plans.

The National Advisory Group ensures the Age Friendly Programme achieves its strategic objectives and ensures expenditure is in line with budget.

The members recognise that the National Advisory Group can be used as a vehicle for raising priority issues and proposed solutions that are beyond the scope of local alliances and in this context regular feedback from the National Network of OPC’s, the National Programme Managers and the National NGO Forum is presented to the National Advisory Group for strategic advice.

 

Jackie Maguire, Chief Executive, Meath County Council and Chair, Age Friendly Ireland National Advisory Group.
“Local government in Ireland has a very clear purpose and a definite direction. Empowering the citizen to participate in the development of their community, both urban and rural, is central to this model. The Age Friendly Ireland programme is proving to be a very effective model for bringing together diverse organisations, service providers and businesses to streamline their work with the interests and needs of older people at their core. Considerable effort and resources have been invested by many of the Age Friendly Programme partners across the last ten years. Ensuring this investment is sustained across the long term will require further engagement on the part of key programme stakeholders across the coming years. As we prepare our strategy for the next five years, we will look forward to working with you to make Ireland a great country in which to grow older.”
 
Pat Dowling, Chief Executive, Clare County Council and Chair of the National Age Friendly Chairs of Alliances
“The Age Friendly Programme is underpinned by an approach where the plans are developed and agreed locally and where the agencies involved agree to be accountable to each other and to older people at local level. As such it has proved to be successful in achieving its aim of improving the lives of older people. This approach represents local government at its best and is a prime example of how we give effect to the need for integrated services, ‘joined up’ thinking and planning at local level. The leadership provided by the local authority Chief Executives, independent Chairs and the appointment of experienced Administrative Officers has ensured that Age Friendly Programmes are driven and championed effectively. The national network now provides a means of learning from each other, strengthening what can be done to improve the quality of life for all of us as we age. Through the Age Friendly Programme, we will work together to ensure we meet the challenges that lie ahead in a positive way that will improve the lives of our older citizens in the future.”
 
Dr. Stephanie O’Keeffe, National Director, Strategic Planning & Transformation, Health Service Executive
“Ageing societies present one of the greatest challenges and opportunities facing governments around the world today. The number of people aged 65 and over is now higher than at any time before in history. This remarkable demographic shift is, of course, to be welcomed. The ageing of our population in Ireland offers great opportunities to develop and benefit our society from the experiences and knowledge of older persons. However, ageing can also negatively affect people’s health and wellbeing and present new challenges for society, health services and families.
In response to the changing profile of Irish society, there have been a number of policy and programme related initiatives both nationally and locally. The Age Friendly Ireland programme has a long-standing track record in developing practical and pragmatic solutions – and in bringing to the fore initiatives that make a real difference to the quality of life experienced by older people. The Age Friendly Ireland Strategy continues to be ambitious. We, in the HSE, are fully committed to the kind of collaborative working that is required to improve the health and wellbeing of older people and make Ireland a great place to grow old.”
 
Ian Talbot, Chief Executive Chambers Ireland
“The Action Plan for Jobs identified Smart Ageing as a significant sectoral opportunity for economic growth and jobs for Ireland. Ireland is well placed to take advantage of the fast-growing global market for products and services for older people, creating jobs and economic opportunities for Ireland as well as helping to improve the lives and living conditions of older people. We know that older people want to stay in their own homes and communities for as long as possible. Technologies can play a key role in enabling this to happen. The potential role for technologies that remotely monitor and deliver care to older people allowing them to live with greater comfort and safety is considerable. It is important that this potential be explored not just for economic reasons but because of the benefits that they can bring to people as they get older. Age Friendly Ireland is very well placed to support this important work.”
Brendan Kenny, Deputy Chief Executive, Dublin City Council
“Over the last few decades Ireland has changed significantly. We now have a multinational, cosmopolitan and globalised society with an increasing population. Our population aged 65 years and over is growing by approximately 20,000 each year while our population aged 85 years and over is growing by 4% each year. How we respond to these changes will determine the health and wellbeing outcomes and quality of life of people as they age in Ireland. In Dublin, we are continuing to work hard to make the city a better place in which to grow old. For the city and other communities across Ireland to become truly age-friendly a range of stakeholders must be involved. The Age Friendly Ireland Programme provides a means to bring those partners together to make Ireland a great country in which to grow older.”
 
Dr. Kathleen Mac Lellan, Assistant Secretary, Department of Health
“The National Positive Ageing Strategy (2013) sets out a vision for an age-friendly society and includes four National Goals around participation, health, security, and research to promote positive ageing. The Strategy is a key element of the broader Healthy Ireland framework, which aims to improve the health and wellbeing of everyone living in Ireland.
The Department of Health in partnership with key sectors leads and shapes Ireland’s health and social care system. The successful implementation of our National Strategy must be the responsibility of all sectors of society including government, health service providers, local authorities, businesses, voluntary groups, families and individuals.
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 multi-agency Age Friendly programme provides a very supportive infrastructure 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. Together, the programme provides a valuable and effective opportunity for older people, local agencies and civic society to engage with and shape policy and programme implementation for older people so we can improve the health and wellbeing of all people into the future.”
 
Bairbre Nic Aongusa, Assistant Secretary, Department of Rural and Community Development
“People are at the heart of vibrant and sustainable communities, whether in rural or urban areas. We are investing in local and community development across the country to empower communities to become more resilient and to meet emerging challenges. The Age Friendly Programme has long demonstrated its capacity to contribute to communities and foster innovation, creativity and wellbeing. Very practical initiatives such as the Age Friendly Towns and Age Friendly Business Recognition Programmes together with the myriad of community bus and car schemes supported by the Age Friendly Ireland programme are contributing significantly to the vibrancy and wellbeing of so many of our local communities – and, importantly, making a big difference to the lives of older people in these
communities.”
 
Paul Lemass, Assistant Secretary, Department of Housing, Planning and Local Government
“Many of us, as we age, want to stay in our own homes and neighbourhoods and to have independence, choice and the ability to maintain friendships and family contacts. But, for some, our general housing stock is not always suitable, due to its layout, size, location or physical condition.
Consultation with older people, facilitated through the Age Friendly Ireland programme, has identified a gap in the provision of housing for older people that allows older people to live independently, but possibly with some level of additional support. The Age Friendly Ireland programme has, over the years, developed an impressive network of demonstrator age friendly housing programmes with varying scales of support services – ranging from homes that have been designed or modified to enable people to live fully independent lives, to various forms of sheltered supported housing with varying scales of support care – all though designed so that older people can age comfortably in their communities they belong to. The challenge, now, is to scale up these proven initiatives in a sustainable way across a broader geographic network.”
 
Kevin Doyle, Principal Officer, Department of Transport, Tourism and Sport
“A strong transport system sustains economic progress, promotes balanced regional development and contributes to social cohesion. We know that good access to transport makes it easier to participate in community life. Social inclusion is a key element of our approach to transport policy and appropriate provision for older people will be a key component of our transport programmes for the foreseeable future. The Age Friendly Ireland programme has helped to not only create but sustain a number of innovative, older person friendly transport services which have resulted in cost-effective and timely connectivity for everyone. Those age friendly transport services which support older people to undertake essential outings such as grocery shopping and medical appointments are continuing to play a key role in supporting older people to live independently for as long as they wish to.”
 
Orla McPartlin, Assistant Commissioner, An Garda Síochána
“While An Garda Síochána works to meet the policing needs of all citizens, we also recognise the need to develop targeted strategies to address the particular policing needs of different demographic groups. Although older people are less likely to become victims of crime than younger people, their fear of crime can be higher. The perception of poor personal safety has as much effect on the wellbeing of older people as the experience of crime itself – at times resulting in older people restricting their activities or withdrawing from social life altogether.
The Age Friendly Ireland programme ensures that older persons remain high on the agenda of An Garda Síochána. The fact that Chief Superintendents sit on the Age Friendly Alliances ensures that concerns and problems facing the older person are fully considered. An Garda Síochána acknowledges and appreciates the very significant contribution given by older people to their communities through voluntary and other activity. By supporting and sustaining an extensive range of collaborative age friendly programmes across our cities and counties we want to ensure that older members of society feel both safe and valued.

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