The “New Agenda on Ageing Report - To Make Ireland the Best Country to Grow Old In” was presented at a national conference organised by The Ageing Well Network and the Irish Office for Older People on June 14th in Dublin.
The report looks at how policies and services can be adapted to prepare for the challenges of an ageing world. It identifies key issues and presents options for change, based on Irish and international evidence as well as from many stakeholders working in the area of ageing.
The “New Agenda on Ageing Report" seeks to recognise the diversity of older people, from those who are younger, healthier and more active to those who are frail and in need of a wide range of supports and services; from those living in densely populated areas to those in more remote rural areas; from those seeking to be actively engaged in shaping their communities to those who do not.
Sinead Shannon, Research Manager at the Ageing Well Network and main author of the report, says that “making Ireland a great place to grow old in will require a major shift in the way old age and older people are conceptualised”. “What is needed is new thinking, backed by evidence, that focuses on the ‘demographic bounty’ by promoting quality of life and well-being, valuing the contribution older people make in their communities, promoting their independence, and removing the barriers, whether legal, attitudinal or income related which limit or inhibit the capacity of older people to live life to the full”, she declares.
The result of extensive research, as well as the collaborative effort and exchange of ideas by the members of the Ageing Well Network, the report sets out the options for addressing the high-level critical issues and strategic challenges identified in several areas, and the likely implications of pursuing different strategies. It does not advocate for particular positions, but is intended to support government and other high-level decision-making by providing evidence on the nature and extent of those issues, clarifying and exploring the range of options available, and the likely outcomes of each.
David Bloom, Professor of Economics and Demography at the Harvard School of Public Health, who participated in the conference in Dublin, welcomed the report and stated it “will be a tremendous resource, because it distills and synthesizes findings from across the many disciplines that underpin the emerging field of ageing. It's truly a tour de force and will be a terrific resource for both aspiring specialists and established professionals throughout the world”.
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