Celebrating the contributions of older residents

8 October 2020

The Age-friendly Cheshire West partnership, hosted by Cheshire West and Chester Council, is celebrating the immense contributions of older residents.
This year marks the 30th Anniversary of the United Nations International Day of Older Persons (IDOP). This year has also seen an emergence of the COVID-19 pandemic across the world.
IDOP 2020 focuses on the global upheaval of the coronavirus pandemic.  It considers the challenges faced by older people as well as recognising their contribution to the coronavirus response.
This October also highlights the Decade of Healthy Ageing 2020-2030, part of the World Health Organisation’s Global Strategy on Ageing and Health. The decade sets out a vision for 2030 for ‘a world in which everyone can live a long and healthy life’ and aims to improve the lives of older people and the communities in which they live. 
194 countries have signed up - including the UK – and, in addition to tackling ageism and improving access to long-term care, the decade will see more age-friendly communities.
IDOP 2019 saw members of the UK Network of Age-friendly Communities call for an end to outdated, ageist attitudes and language, to mark the UN International Day of Older Persons (IDOP) - ‘The Journey to Age Equality’. 
Councillor Val Armstrong, Cabinet Member for Adult Social Care and Public Health, joined 40 community leaders from across the country in signing an open letter calling for a commitment to stamp out prejudice and change the way we talk about ageing.
Since the signing of the letter, the world has changed and a spotlight has been shone on the lives of older people. 
Anna Dixon, chief executive for the Centre for Ageing Better said: “Over the past year the world has changed. A spotlight shone on the lives of older people. The pandemic has revealed incredible community spirit and resilience, demonstrated in the heart-felt response in communities, post lockdown, that sought to help those who were shielding. However, we are also seeing a widening of inequalities and an ageist narrative that continues to equate later life with vulnerability. As we recover from the pandemic, we need to ensure no one misses out on a good later life.”

During October and throughout the year, Age-friendly Cheshire West and its partners will be celebrating the immense contribution older residents make to local communities across the borough. We will also be highlighting the vital role of older residents have played during the pandemic. 
Together we will be sharing photographs and stories recognising the valuable contribution of older residents to the community, workplaces and to the local economy. We will also be sharing details of activities taking place including Get Online Week (19-25 October).
Age-friendly Cheshire West partners and Cheshire West Voluntary Action (CWVA) are celebrating the contribution of older volunteers as part of the Year of Volunteering campaign. 
Clare Harrison, deputy chief executive of CWVA, said: “There are many older volunteers across west Cheshire who make a significant contribution to their local communities.
“With the COVID-19 restrictions that have been in place, many older people have been microvolunteering and supporting others from their own homes.  
“It’s important we recognise older volunteers for the fantastic work they do all year round and highlight the many benefits of volunteering.”
October also sees the launch of ‘We are Age Proud’, part of Age-friendly Cheshire West’s ‘Age Proud’ campaign to change the conversation around ageing.
‘We are Age Proud’ celebrates the diversity of older residents and reinforces the message that, whatever our age, we should be seen as unique individuals and valued for everything we bring to our communities.
On 29 October, older representatives from Age-friendly Cheshire West and Chester will join representatives from across the country at the Network Older People’s Decade of Healthy Ageing event. 
Representatives will help the UK Age-friendly Network build a picture of what success by 2030 looks like. At the same time, the UK Network will be holding a social media event, a day of dedicated activity around IDOP, the Decade and age-friendly communities.
Councillor Armstrong, Cabinet Member for Adult Social Care and Public Health, said: “Together with the UK Age-friendly Community Network and its members, we are helping to develop national and local programmes that create age-friendly and inclusive environments. 
“Now more than ever, we need everyone in the public, private and third sector to come together and join us in highlighting the voices and contribution of older residents. 
“We need everyone to help change attitudes to ageing and create age-friendly communities that enable us all to live better lives as we grow older and enjoy later life.”
Join us by sharing your stories, supporting our campaign and helping make your community age-friendly by emailing: InclusiveCommunities@cheshirewestandchester.gov.uk

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