Wednesday 22 May 2019 10:32:03 AM

Ards Launches Age Friendly Strategy
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Age Friendly Strategy and Action Plan Launched

Ards and North Down Borough Council has launched its Age Friendly Strategy and Action Plan, which will enable the Council and its age friendly partners to make the Borough a better place to live and grow older.

Ards and North Down’s Community Planning Partnership is working towards the World Health Organisation’s (WHO) Age Friendly Status and part of this process includes a comprehensive strategy and action plan to help cater for the ageing population.

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Age Friendly Strategy Launched: Marcus Potts (Head of Environmental Health, Protection and Development), Jennifer Parkinson (Principal Environmental Health Officer), Gareth McCausland, Ards and North Down Mayor Councillor Richard Smart, Naomi Laughlin and Desi Mackey. Picture: Amanda Ewart.

The Borough’s demographic profile will change significantly over the next 10-20 years. The number of older people aged 65+ is projected to rise from around 31,000 in 2014 to around 50,000 by 2030, while the number of older people aged 85+ is anticipated to more than double from just under 4,000 in 2014 to about 10,000 by 2039.

“These changes pose significant challenges,” said Ards and North Down Mayor, Councillor Richard Smart. “As more people live for longer, this shift in age structure means that retirement, pensions and other social benefits, along with healthcare requirements, tend to extend over longer periods of time.”

“We need the capacity to create environments in which all of us can flourish as we age, allowing us to lead healthy, active and engaged lives.”

Society needs to plan for the needs of a much larger older population and it’s important that organisations designing and delivering public services take account of these changes to ensure that future services are fit for purpose.

The creation of the Strategy and Action Plan marks the beginning of a process to create a more age friendly society. It provides a framework to help make Ards and North Down a great place to grow older and an area in which everyone, regardless of age, is valued and respected.