MORNINGTON Peninsula Shire Council last week adopted a draft five-year positive ageing strategy while acknowledging the “growing body of evidence… [that] the social and economic contributions of the older population outweigh the cost of pensions and healthcare”.
A report to the 11 August council meeting by officers Michelle Wright, Vicki Bishop and Tanya Gilbert, pointed out that age-friendly communities make “good sense economically and socially”.
Their report said the draft strategy provided a “road map to strengthen the shire’s commitment to positive ageing”.
The ageing strategy with the theme: “Our Wellbeing” and seeking “A healthy, happy, inclusive and active community” aims to make older people feel valued and supported through the implementation of programs and services helping them remain healthy, active and independent.
The officers said the policy was committed to creating a community that enabled all residents to participate, belong and contribute.
“An age-friendly community benefits all community members, not just older residents. Council is well placed to influence the domains that contribute to an age friendly community, enabling positive ageing for all.”
The mayor Cr Sam Hearn said the shire in 2001 had been one of the first local governments to develop a strategy dedicated to supporting older residents.
“This [latest] strategy builds on the work done over the past 19 years and benefits from input and direction from the Peninsula Advisory Committee for Elders (PACE),” he said.
About 500 residents contributed to the community consultation process and the shire received 31 public submissions during its exhibition period in June.
Amendments were made to the original draft strategy to include the impact of COVID-19 on older people. The draft action plan prioritises areas that have been most affected by the pandemic, the officers said.
It is also mindful of the budget implications of the pandemic and does not require finance beyond what is allocated in 2020/21 budget or available through government grants, they said, adding that key actions supporting the goals of the strategy complement existing plans and strategies, such as communication, transport, and housing.
Shire CEO John Baker said the strategy was based on the World Health Organisation’s Age-Friendly Cities’ Framework, which highlights eight areas to creating an age-friendly community.
They are transport, social participation, respect and social inclusion, housing, communication and information, community support and health services, civic participation and employment, and outdoor spaces and buildings.
He said the shire’s strategy included a ninth domain: Quality of life, which identifies challenges, including obesity, dementia, climate change and – topically – our recovery from COVID-19.
“The strategy will play a key role in … ensuring our community is one where older people can continue to thrive, contribute and be appreciated.”