“Aging is not lost youth but a new stage of opportunity and strength.” Betty Friedan (American writer and feminist)
This is a fitting way to describe what the prospect of getting older should be – an opportunity to relax, to enjoy life and to try new things.
As a council, our ambition is to aide this transition by ensuring that people’s care and support needs are met and by ensuring that there are the means for older people to enjoy the city’s broad offer along with every other age group.
This is what making Leeds the Best City to Grow Old In should be all about.
Ensuring Leeds is an age friendly city has long been identified as a priority by older people. Ill health is also a worry for our ageing population and unfortunately, disproportionately affects the poorest in our city. ‘Making Leeds the Best City to Grow Old In’ is our shared initiative to do something about it.
It aims to promote and support social networks within our neighbourhoods and across the city; improve and increase participation; age-proof and develop universal services; reduce social isolation and loneliness and work to change social structure and negative attitudes towards ageing.
Since the launch event in March 2015, work has progressed to develop an action plan to ensure the right things are prioritised and resourced accordingly. The plan acknowledges what we have already achieved and uses the eight World Health Organisation Age Friendly City domains to provide context to the outcomes which are outlined below.
Outdoor Spaces and Buildings
Leeds is a welcoming city, accessible to all where older people feel, and are, safe
Older people are able to access a broad range of affordable and accessible transport options to get about the city easily
Leeds actively involves older people to deliver housing that meets the needs of an ageing population
No-one is lonely; there are a range of opportunities for people to live healthy, active and fulfilling lives in Leeds
Respect and social inclusion
Ageing is promoted positively and older people feel worthwhile and valued as citizens of Leeds
Civic Participation and Employment
Older people in Leeds actively participate in the city through education, employment training and volunteering
Communication and information
All older people, their friends, family and support networks have easy access to information (in a format they are comfortable with) which makes their lives better
Community Support and Health Services
Older people have an increased healthy life expectancy supported by integrated health and social care services
The plan includes actions to help achieve the above outcomes and measures by which progress will be shown.
To coincide with International Day of Older People, we are again asking people to come together (Thursday October 1st at Leeds City Museum) to consider what they might do as individuals or what organisations can do, to contribute to the actions to make Leeds the Best City to Grow Old in. There will also be the opportunity to find out more about some of our recent projects and have your say on the refresh of our Age Friendly Leeds Charter.
However, you don’t need to attend the event to make a pledge on behalf of your organisation, service, or as an individual. If you want to help, please tell us;
WHAT DO YOU PLEDGE TO DO TO HELP MAKE LEEDS THE BEST CITY TO GROW OLD IN?
WHEN WILL YOU DO IT?
WHERE WILL YOU DO IT?
HOW WILL IT CONTRIBUTE TO MAKING LEEDS THE BEST CITY TO GROW OLD IN?
Please return your pledge information with your name, organisation (if relevant) to firstname.lastname@example.org or post to Leeds City Council, PO Box 848, Older People and Long Term Conditions Team, LEEDS, LS1 9PQ
Pledges might be something small and practical or something bigger and more strategic. If you want to, you can make more than one pledge. Your individual pledge can be something you can do at home, or as a volunteer, or at work.
We look forward to hearing from you in whatever way you would like to contribute to making Leeds the Best City to Grow Old In, and hope that you will take part in one of the many activities on the day across our city to celebrate the International Day of Older People.
A programme of events and activities in Leeds for International Day for Older People can be accessed via the Leeds Older People’s Forum website.