Making the Hunter an age-friendly community
Inspired by the decades we can look forward to beyond the age of 70, the Hunter Ageing Alliance will lead the transformation of Newcastle and Lake Macquarie into age-friendly communities.
Age-friendly communities mean that planning takes the needs of older people into account, recognising that older people have the same desire to remain physically, intellectually, and socially active as younger people. This requires environmental adaptation, appropriate housing at all levels of affordability, easy access to information about services and facilities for older people, protection from elder abuse, health care services appropriate to the needs of older people and support for socially isolated people to ensure their physical and psychological well-being.
Ageing in the Hunter
- 25% of our community will soon be aged 65+
- Unacceptable waiting times for access to appropriate community support services
- An aged care system in crisis – underfunded, poorly regulated (as highlighted by the Aged Care Royal Commission)
- Ageism – including in the way organisations are structured
- Declining number of older homeowners and growing number of homeless older women
- The highest prevalence of suicide is men 80+
- Increasing rates of elder abuse – in institutions and by family members.
Hunter voters aged 55+ by Federal electorate
|Electorate||Voters aged 55+||% total voters|
The way forward
The way forward is for local leaders to come together to define local needs and develop an integrated plan with regard to ageing.
Key areas include:
- Defining the features of an age-friendly environment for Hunter people
- Community recognition that older people have the same needs and desires as younger people to be physically, intellectually and socially active
- Programs to reduce social isolation, loneliness and vulnerability
- Services to advise people on how to access the aged care system, particularly support at home
- More accommodation where people have their social network
- Health services to meet older peoples’ needs – targeting chronic disease, including dementia
- Residential aged care that meets differing needs including those with advanced medical and nursing needs, dementia, chronic mental illness, and intellectual disability
- Programs to minimise elder abuse
- End-of-life care that includes appropriate planning, physical care, companionship, palliative care, and assisted dying when appropriate.
Global age-friendly cities
The World Health Organization
The purpose of the guide is to engage cities to become more age-friendly so as to tap the potential that older people represent for humanity. It describes the converging trends of rapid growth of the population over 60 years of age and of urbanisation, outlines the challenge facing cities, and summarises the research process that led to identifying the core features of an age-friendly city