By David Gledhill, Marketing and Communications Officer
Ageing Well continues to help change attitudes to older people across the bay – but there is a way to go yet.
Torbay already has a higher than average number of over 50s and that number is set to rise, topping 50% of the population in the not too distant future. Public service providers need to adapt to the needs of the over 50s and it will mean a change in thinking for some as the views of older people are taken into account.
Early in the New Year Torbay will begin that journey towards age friendly status. That mean fostering healthy and active ageing, making it possible for people to continue to stay in their homes, participate in the activities they value and contribute to their communities for as long as possible. It will mean the involvement of older people in the decision-making of all statutory bodies including local government, transport and health.
You can’t have more than half the population left out of the decision-making process and that is why Ageing Well is also helping set up that Torbay Over 50s assembly which is due to launch next March. It is through the assembly the views of the over 50s will help shape key decision-making across the bay, something that is already being done in towns and cities across the world.
Age-friendly cities and communities number 705 cities and communities in 39 countries, some 210 million people worldwide.
There are eight key features of age friendly cities, all of them viewed from an older person’s perspective and with older people consulted about them wherever possible.
- Are outdoor spaces and public buildings that are pleasant, clean, secure, and physically accessible. The roads and pavements need to be well maintained and there should be toilet facilities as well as outdoor seating.
- Public transport must be accessible and affordable with specialised services for the disabled. It also takes into account a good taxi service and affordable parking for private cars
- Housing must be affordable, in the right places close to services and facilities. It must be well built, well designed, secure and allow people to stay in place as they grow older.
- There must be opportunities for older people to take part in leisure, social, cultural and spiritual activities with people of all ages and cultures.
- Older people must be treated with respect and be included in civic life.
- There are opportunities for older people to be able to be employed if they choose to and to be able to volunteer
- Age friendly communication and information is accessible, jargon free and available
- Community support and health services are tailored to older people’s needs.
A great many of our services are, accidentally, tailored with younger and able-bodied people in mind – not for any sinister reason, but because people do not always stop to think what small changes are needed to make those same services accessible to all.
If you want to know more about Torbay over 50s assembly and how to get involved please contact Jess Slade on 01803 212638 or email Jessslade@torbaycdt.org.uk