Thomastown begins its journey to become an Age-Friendly Town

Sean Keane

Reporter:

Sean Keane

Email:

sean.keane@kilkennypeople.ie

Brilliant initiative in Thomastown, Kilkenny

Thomastown Men’s Shed, An Garda Síochána accompanied by Lianne Kelly, Municipal District Staff Officer assembling before they embarked on the walk ability audits.

Did you know that the town of Thomastown is developing a plan to make their community more age friendly?
Very often simple things will improve everyone’s quality of life. Secure neighbourhoods are safe for children, youth and older adults.
Barrier free buildings and streets enhance the mobility and independence of both younger and older persons with disabilities.
The whole community benefits from the participation of older persons in volunteer work and civic activities.
It is the vision of the Kilkenny Age Friendly programme and the ambition is to make Kilkenny a great county in which to grow old.
“If we all work together across our towns, villages and neighbourhoods we can do it. In Thomastown we have formed the Age Friendly Town Committee comprising of representatives from the Kilkenny Seniors Forum, Thomastown Community Network, An Garda Síochána, Health Services Executive, County Kilkenny Leader Partnership and Kilkenny County Council,” Michael Delahunty of Kilkenny County council said.
To date the committee has identified all of the key services available to older persons in the town, mapped the key walking routes in the town and with the enthusiastic assistance of the Thomastown Men’s Shed and the Thomastown Senior Citizens it has undertaken Walk ability Audits of all the key routes in the town to see how accessible they are for all pedestrians including older and disabled people.
The audit report has been presented to the Kilkenny Co Council District Engineer.
The next steps will see the completion of an on-street survey of older persons to obtain their views as to the key issues for them in the town.
That on-street survey is currently underway and when complete the information obtained will inform the development of the Action Plan.
Populations are getting older all over the world. The same is true for Ireland.
Average Life expectancy 100 years ago was 50 years- now its 76.8 years for men and 81.6 years for women. Life expectancy for over 65s is higher than it has even been.
Ireland will experience an unprecedented aging in the first half of the 21st century and by 2041 there will be 1.4 million people aged over 65 years, representing 20-25% of the total Irish population.