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Minister Brady Welcomes Response To Consultations About Positive Ageing Strategy, Ireland

November 01, 2017

Minister for Older People and Health Promotion, Aine Brady TD, said she is delighted with the response to her Consultation Meetings about the Positive Ageing Strategy.

Noting that this is the first time that there has been such a wide-ranging consultation between Government and older people in Ireland, Minister Brady said that the Strategy will deal with a broad range of policies that impact on the lives of older people, unlike past policy documents for older people which tended to focus almost exclusively on health and social care issues.

"We want to have the best possible arrangements in place for older people," the Minister said. "Given the present fiscal constraints it is important that all services are organised and delivered in ways that make them much more accessible to people. This is the challenge. But I also believe that attitudes towards older people and perceptions of ageing are also important. Ageism is an issue for all older people and we must work to tackle ageism as a priority," she stressed.

The series of Consultation Meetings continues with a meeting in the Riverside Park Hotel, Wexford this afternoon, Monday 26 April. "So far we have been in Cork, Sligo, Galway and Kildare," the Minister said. "What I am hearing suggests that people are concerned about what they need in terms of services and supports at key transition times - such as when they first encounter an acute illness or disability, or when they find themselves living alone for the first time, when making decisions about their living arrangements or perhaps residential care. I am hearing a great deal about the importance of transport in people's lives so that they continue to get out and about. It is very clear that there is a need for better presentation of information on a broad range of services and entitlements, as well as for information on different issues relating to later life. The information is there; just not that accessible for many older people. People are also very conscious of the importance of encouraging saving and to begin planning ahead for retirement at an earlier age than people do at present. This is a lesson for everyone.

"I am hearing too, of the ageist attitudes which older people encounter on a day-to-day basis; attitudes that put across the idea that older people are less valued as service users or as customers", the Minister said.

The Minister emphasised the positive nature of the meetings. "People are putting their views across about what works for them and where there are gaps or difficulties in a constructive and factual way" she said.

Minister Brady said that she was delighted with numbers of people coming to the meetings and with the high level of engagement. "At all our meetings to date, people have been exceptionally positive in their suggestions as to how services and programmes can be improved," the Minister noted. "They are giving us their views on what works well already as well as on what could be done in a different or better way. We are listening carefully to all suggestions in that regard," the Minister said. "We are certainly getting an immense amount of valuable feedback from both service users and service providers on how we can improve service provision in the light of current resource constraints," the Minister noted.

Minister Brady pointed out that the new Positive Ageing Strategy will be of great importance, not only for those who are currently in the older age groups but also for those who are middle-aged and even younger. "The Strategy will be a detailed plan to set the strategic direction for policies, programmes and services for older people in the coming decades. We must do everything possible to ensure that we have the best arrangements in place to ensure that Ireland is an age-friendly society in the years ahead," the Minister concluded.

The next meetings will be in Newcastle West, Co Limerick on Tuesday 4 May; in the Gresham Hotel, Dublin on Monday 17 May; in Dundalk, Co Louth on 24 May (venue to be confirmed).

Source
Department of Health and Children, Ireland