This blog promotes the various initiatives that celebrate the achievements and contributions that older people make to society including UK Older People’s Day
Days of the year that highlight a particular cause are helpful but there is a whole lot more going on to ensure that Leeds is a city for all ages everyday.
Age Friendly Leeds (also #AgeFriendlyLeeds) is an initiative that is looking to do just that.
Backed by the World Health Organisation, the Age Friendly Cities Programme is an international effort to help cities prepare for two global demographic trends: the rapid ageing of populations and increasing urbanisation. The programme targets the environmental, social and economic factors that influence the health and wellbeing of older adults. Things like;
- outdoor spaces and buildings;
- social participation;
- respect and social inclusion;
- civic participation and employment;
- communication and information; and
- community support and health services.
There’s more info available here
By 2020 it is predicted there will be roughly 9,000 men and 22,000 women over the age of 75 living in Leeds. It becomes really significant when you add the last two words of the sentence; ‘living alone’.
There will be more over 75s not living alone but Age UK suggest nationally around 1 million older people regularly go an entire month without speaking to anyone. On their own. Forgotten. That’s sad.
The real issue is about what being an older person means for those 75+ year olds – specifically being alone. It is well documented with the national campaign against loneliness stating being lonely or socially isolated can have the same effect on a person’s health and wellbeing as smoking 15 cigarettes a day does on physical health. Not good. And people of any age can be lonely or socially isolated too.
So can Leeds really be Age Friendly when there are this many lonely people?
In thinking about it, talking and asking what these things mean to different folk, we get a better understanding so we can combat loneliness and the other things that Leeds can be better at.
Combatting loneliness doesn’t solely lie at the door of a department or organisation just because it has the name Adults or Children’s in the title. Some of these things are shared responsibilities.
And that’s just one example of a story behind just one of the bullet points above. There is more here about what is being done to tackle it.
So various organisations contributing to Age Friendly Leeds are asking people to explain what living in Leeds is like for them and what might make it age friendly.
Please let us know by commenting below or emailing firstname.lastname@example.org and look out for more updates on the blog.