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03/08/2021

Kilkenny's Older People’s Council lends an important voice

KILKENNY

Attendees at Kilkenny Older People’s Council’s 2018/19 conference

People in Kilkenny aged 55 and up, regardless of nationality, background, status, or beliefs, are being encouraged to become members of the Older People’s Council (OPC) to highlight local issues affecting them and older people now and in the coming years.

The Kilkenny Older People’s Council was formed in 2010, as part of the World Health Organisation of Age friendly cities and counties. Its role is to give a voice to one of the largest demographics of society.

The main aim of the Older People’s council is to ensure ‘Kilkenny City and county will be a great place to grow old in’. For the council to achieve its aim it requires the support and the buy-in from all citizens of the region. There is a need to have a very social inclusive society that has the services for to accommodate people. Are the terms ‘older’, ‘senior’ true and fair reflection of those in the 55 years of age-plus grouping?

With the advancement of health care, people are all living longer and healthier lives. While some public employees can aim toward a 55-year retirement age, others have to continue until their 66th year of life to qualify for the old age pension.
Unfortunately, many of seniors are now taking on part-time work to make ends meet well past 65, according to Murty Brennan, of Kilkenny Older People’s Council.

“The Older People Council is an important group for to advocate many items of interest to all,” he says.

“These include topics of interest such as the WHO’s eight strategies as key to improving seniors’ quality of Life.”

OPCs are involved in promoting these goals at county and local level by being represented on city, towns, rural, and planning/social/health/ community/housing etc groups. The OPC’s role is to influence policy at local and national level.

Noticeable outcomes in Kilkenny include for example: Thomastown Age Friendly Town, Bus Transport, Public Seating, Age Friendly Shopping Business Initiatives, Age Friendly Hospital initiative, Footpaths, lighting etc, and are assisted in their aims by many of the PPN Members including Residents Associations ,Charities and NGOs.

Current initiatives include the drive to eliminate senior isolation through the Arcon tablet role out.
The aim of the group is to ensure that the tablets are targeted at older people who are at risk of social isolation and who may have long term illnesses Kilkenny City and county communities now come from all over the world.

RESOURCE
Their cultural views are also a valuable resource to the OPC and local authority for their Integration strategy for the next few years.

“We have many people who are living here for the past 20 years or more and this is now their home, so their cultural needs are also vital for the OPC’s growth and to hit the WHO’s aim of social inclusive society,” says Mr Brennan.

“If English is not your first language and you wish to learn more contact the Twilight Community Group or 056-7813105 or info@twilight.ie.

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