A NEW five year strategy which commits for the first time to improve the lives of older people in Limerick was unveiled yesterday.
Age Friendly Limerick 2015-2020 officially declaring Limerick as an ‘Age Friendly’ location was launched by Minister of State for Primary and Social Care, Kathleen Lynch TD at an event in the South Court Hotel.
The strategy, led by Limerick City and County Council, was developed by Limerick Age Friendly Alliance in consultation and co-operation with older people living locally.
Speaking about the plan, Limerick City and County Council chief executive Conn Murray said the delivery and implementation of the strategy was both “urgent and timely”.
“It is clear that the percentage of Limerick’s population aged 65 years or over will continue to increase over time and therefore we must be ready to face the challenges that this brings,” Mr Murray said.
“This strategy is the culmination of a detailed consultation process that has brought together the older persons of Limerick and the key service providers from the statutory, voluntary, community and private sectors to identify how we can make Limerick an excellent place in which to live, work, enjoy life and grow older.
“We’ve identified what the issues are and Limerick City and County Council together with its partners is committed to ensuring that this strategy is implemented and that no section of the local community is left behind when it comes to the delivery of these services.”
Bernard Gloster, chief officer, HSE Mid-West Community Care, said: “We know from evidence that we have seen a major change in life expectancy and the remaining challenge is to improve the quality lived in those years.
“What is most encouraging about this strategy is that we don’t see attention to our older citizens as simply a health issue. It is everyone’s business. Today is an important day for Limerick and I would ask people to reflect on the fact that the preparation of this strategy has been a timely reminder on one key factor, not only can we do and give a lot to older people but we can still learn a lot from them – by listening to them.”
Garda Chief Superintendent David Sheahan said that the Limerick Garda Division is committed to ensure the needs and priorities of older people living in Limerick are met to the highest possible standard.
“The Limerick Garda Division Older Person’s Strategy has been developed to feed into the larger multi-agency strategy to enable us to engage with older people so that we can focus on what really matters to them,” he explained.
“We want our older population to have confidence in the services we offer and for them to feel safe and secure in their homes. We want our older people to be able to access our services easily and encourage them to communicate with us without hesitation through a variety of mediums.
“To do this we need to ensure we engage and respond to their needs and reach out to those who may not be easily accessible.
“We will continue to work in partnership with other agencies and support groups towards identifying who our older people are and how we can deliver a responsive and visual policing service to them which will hopefully have a positive impact on their quality of life,” he added.