The Mayor of the County of Cork, Cllr Gillian Coughlan is encouraging everyone to celebrate the much-valued contribution to community life made by older people and also how the voices of experience are key to the future.
Positive Ageing Week takes place from September 27th to October 1st. The theme this year is ‘Reconnecting Communities by Reframing Ageing.’ There are eight Age Friendly Towns across the county, Bandon, Bantry, Charleville, Cobh, Kinsale, Passage West Monkstown, Millstreet and Mitchelstown with this year’s campaign especially timely as plans are made for the phased return of much missed activities.
Mayor Coughlan, launching Positive Ageing Week from her hometown of Bandon, highlighted how important it is to challenge stereotypes around ageing, “Ageing is inevitable, but it does not equate to a cessation of activity. The contribution our older people make to society, to our families, workplaces and the wider community is immeasurable. We need to listen and value the voice of our older community and to learn from their experiences. Bandon achieved its Age Friendly Status in 2017 and was one of the first towns in County Cork to do so. Since then, volunteers and the business community have dedicated both time and effort in making Bandon a great town to grow older in. Bandon, and the seven other towns, continue to add to their age-friendly initiatives including promoting age-friendly businesses, developing age-friendly parking, age and wheelchair friendly seating as well as organising a host of fun, inclusive activities.”
As part of Positive Ageing Week, Cork County’s Age Friendly Towns will receive funding through the Council’s Age Friendly Programme to roll out ‘Singing for the Brain’, upon its safe return. ‘Singing for the Brain’ is an initiative run by Cork Kerry Community Healthcare which sees trained tutors run weekly singing sessions which aims to recall and improve memory through vocal exercises and music engagement.
Chair of Cork County’s Older People’s Council Liz Maddox, warmly welcomed ‘Singing for the Brain’ saying, “Singing for the Brain is one of the most rewarding experiences for both patients and loved ones' family carers. It's a huge benefit not only to communities but to all who join these wonderful sessions around the County of Cork. On behalf of our members, we thank all who spend their time making this a joyful occasion.”
As part of Positive Ageing Week, Cork County Council will also release a special podcast, ‘Voices of Experience ‘featuring climate stories from older people telling their everyday, personal experiences of a changing climate over the decades. These personal stories provide a very clear context to the complex issue that is climate change. The podcast available below and on the following link: Voices of Experience Cork County Council.
Chief Executive of Cork County Council Tim Lucey explains, “Earlier this year we invited people over the age of 55 to share their stories of climate change with us. Older people from towns and villages across the county gave Cork County Council their own story with unique insights, wisdom and knowledge about climate change. This inter-generational climate action forms part of a wider awareness campaign being undertaken in our Climate Adaptation Strategy.”
Chair of the Cork County Age Friendly Alliance and Director of Service with Cork County Council Niall Healy is confident that initiatives such as Positive Ageing Week not only benefit older persons but also serve to promote the valued role of older people in our communities. “The pandemic was particularly challenging for older people; many were vulnerable and in need of care. Older people also experienced disproportionately higher levels of social isolation and loneliness. Now is the time to recognise their strengths and their wealth of knowledge and experience.”