“I know before the night is out I shall ask myself, as I have done many and many a night since I came back to live in this empty house: “Would I have lived otherwise?” and though I may think long over it, I know exactly how my ponderings will end. I shall rise and lower the wick, and blow out the light, saying: “No! Not one single thing would I change!” Sean O Faolain: Bird Alone, p287
Older People - Policy
The World Health Organisation (WHO) is the driving force behind the global movement for age friendliness. The WHO defines an “age-friendly” community as one in which all stakeholders recognise the diversity among older people, promote the inclusion of older people, value their contribution to community life, respect their decisions and anticipate and respond flexibly to age related needs.
Age Friendly Ireland (formerly the Ageing Well Network) established the Age Friendly Cities and Counties Programme (AFCC) in 2007, based on Louth’s participation in the World Health Organisation’s Age Friendly City initiative and research. The programme adopts a common process and structure, but it is intended to be highly tailored to reflect the priorities of older people and service providers in each city and county. Under the programme every local authority has its own Age Friendly programme involving an alliance of senior decision makers and influencers across the public, private and voluntary sector. The Older Persons Forum, which is open to all older people and their organisations, developed through a series of public consultations. It exists in order to represent the views of older people within the Alliance.
The Cork City Healthy City Steering Group proved to be the catalyst for Cork setting out on the journey to become an Age Friendly City. In March 2013, this steering group agreed to seek Age Friendly City Status for Cork, forming a multi-agency working group to drive the process.
A meeting of interagency contacts formed a steering group (now the working group) to look into achieving the Age Friendly City status. This meeting was attended by representatives of An Garda Síochána, Cork City Council, HSE Community Health Services, HSE Health Promotion, Cork City Partnership, Ballyphehane Togher Community Development Project (BTCDB), COLLAGE (UCC) and older people. The first meeting received a presentation by Hugh O’Connor of the Ageing Well Network (now called Age Friendly Ireland) which was tasked to roll out Age Friendly Cities and Counties throughout Ireland.
Following on from a city wide Older People’s Conference in late 2013, the Cork Age Friendly City Alliance was formed and has recently developed the first Cork Age Friendly City Strategy 2016-2020. This strategy is based on the outcomes of consultations with older people in the City and will drive the actions needed for Cork City to become an Age Friendly City.
Older People - Stats and Facts
Cork City has an ageing population, with the number of persons aged 65+ yrs projected to be one in four of the total resident population in 2050
At 21%, the Old Age Dependency Ratio of Cork City is significantly higher than the national average (17%), reflecting the ageing nature of Cork City, where the amount of older people in proportion to the working age population is high. The average age of persons in Cork City is 38.7, which represents an increase of over one year since 2006. This compares with an average age of 36.1 State-wide. Cork City is third of all administrative counties in relation to the pace at which it is ageing. Reflective of the ageing nature of the city as a whole, 15% of those aged 15 or older have their principal economic status classified as Retired from the workforce. In 2010, the life expectancy for persons living in the city was 73.9 for males and 79.8 for females. This compares unfavourably to the State averages of 76.9 for males and 81.7 for females.
Cork City has an ageing population, with the number of persons aged 65+ expected to be one in four of the total population by 2050. There were 17,950 persons age 65+ living in Cork City in 2011, being an increase of 6.5% from 2006. Nearly 30% of those aged 65+ in Cork City live alone. Over 9% of those aged 15 or older are ‘Looking after the Home/Family’ in the city. This category is highly gendered, with 16% of the total female population occupying this group and 1% are males. Cork City has a significantly higher portion of persons aged 65+ (15% of the total pop) compared to the State (12%), with the south west of the city having even higher levels (21% of total pop).