AN alliance has been established to make Limerick a more ‘age friendly’ place, with an action plan to be finalised by the middle of next year.
Upwards of 140 people gathered in the Woodlands Hotel in Adare this Tuesday afternoon for the launch of the Limerick Age Friendly Programme, which will seek suggestions from the public as to how Limerick can be made a more age friendly place to live in, to work in and to visit.
The alliance comprises members of Limerick’s key statutory and community not-for-profit organisations, including the joint local authority, An Garda Síochána, the HSE, local academic institutions and voluntary organisations from across Limerick.
It is chaired by Conn Murray, Limerick manager.
Speaking at the launch, Mayor of Limerick Cllr Katheleen Leddin said that roll-out taking place locally - part of a wider national programme happening at the same time - was “both urgent and timely”.
“The launch of this programme represents the beginning of a journey that will provide everyone involved with a greater awareness of the needs of older people in our communities,” she said.
“It is also critically important that we identify how the local community can benefit from the strengths, knowledge and life experience of our elderly citizens.
“In the meantime, the ability of our elderly citizens to access basic services needs to be assessed, while their thoughts on a range of other issues that may be affecting them need to be heard.”
A series of public consultations will take place next year, with an Age Friendly Action Plan and Strategy for Limerick to be finalised after these take place.
The allicance pointed to CSO figures that show that while Limerick’s population grew slightly by 3.4% between 2006 and 2011, the number of people aged between 55 and 85 years actually increased by 13.4%. The average age incresed slightly in the same period.
“As life expectancy increases the onus is on society to adapt in a manner that provides older people with the physical, economic and cultural opportunities to ensure they enjoy the best quality of life,” said Cathaoirleach Cllr John Sheahan.
“Limerick is committing itself to establishing a city and county where older people can live full, active and healthy lives.
“By having the key statutory, and community not-for-profit organisations working together over the coming years, we can achieve our objectives,” he added.
Mr Murray explained that the over-arching national programme aims to make Ireland the world’s first age friendly country.
“At the end of this public consultation process, we will be well placed to draft an Action Plan and Strategy that outlines how Limerick can set about declaring itself as an age friendly community,” he said.
“As part of the preparation process, a number of public consultation sessions are being organised in order to ensure that the plan is informed by the views and priorities of older people living in Limerick.
“It is important that no section of the local community is left behind in the future delivery of services across Limerick. Collaboration amongst key agencies and communities is also key to delivering a comprehensive and effective strategy,” he added.
Dates and venues for the public consultation sessions will be announced in the new year.