Age Friendly Roscrea Consultation Feedback
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Recently more than 40 people gathered at the Muintir na Tire Hall in Roscrea to hear the feedback from the recent Age Friendly Roscrea Consultation Process that has been taking place over the last few months, led by Anne Keevey, Chairperson of Age Friendly Roscrea
Recently more than 40 people gathered at the Muintir na Tire Hall in Roscrea to hear the feedback from the recent Age Friendly Roscrea Consultation Process that has been taking place over the last few months, led by Anne Keevey, Chairperson of Age Friendly Roscrea. Anne explains “When we think about the type of Roscrea we want to age in, most people agree that we want it to be a place where we engage and participate fully in everything going on in our community and where we can easily get to where we want to go. We want it to be a place where we can access good quality healthcare services easily, where older people are heard, respected and can have their say, where we feel safe and secure and live a healthy and active life. We want a Roscrea where young and old engage positively. That’s what Age Friendly is all about, trying to make sure we have a plan in place to make Roscrea a good place to grow old in”.
A comprehensive consultation commenced in February and since then 11 walkability audits of the town have taken place and more than 108 people have attended focus groups or interviews about what is good and what can be improved about Roscrea with regard to: (1) Outdoor Spaces and Buildings; (2) Transportation; (3) Housing; (4) Social participation; (5) Respect and social inclusion; (6) Civic participation and employment; (7) Communication and information and (8) Community support and health services.
Dr Kathy McLoughlin who is supporting Anne to conduct the work said “The consultation has told us what people think is really good about Roscrea, this includes the fact that we have a low level of homelessness in the town; an excellent Active Retirement Group; support of the Citizen Information Service; Trojan work by Roscrea Tidy towns, Residents Groups and the Men’s Shed; safety talks provided on request by Roscrea Gardai, a real sense of community in buildings like the Post Office; opportunities to play golf, bridge, bingo, GAA and sing in the choir, to name but a few.. People also spoke very highly of Dean Maxwell Community Nursing Unit and the need to preserve the unit so that people can age in place. But as well as celebrating what is good, we also need to look at what can be improved”.
The Consultation Feedback meeting demonstrated how the environment could be improved for older people and wheelchair users to make roads safer and public spaces more sociable. The need for improved access to buildings, footpaths and safe places to cross roads was highlighted as critical. Photographs, including some drone photographs, taken Noel O’Meara. PJ Wright and Barry Fitzachary(drone) were shared to show the issues arising around the town. A major theme emerging from the consultation is the need for more public toilets, seating and appropriately placed parking spaces that are accessible to older people and wheelchair users. From a retail perspective, a number of premises were named in the hope that they might consider an age friendly agenda in their planning.
Transportation was discussed at length during the meeting and the need for a range of transport options, including a shuttle bus was discussed. Those who use bus services requested that a bus stop with both seating and shelter is provided for use by those waiting and an awareness campaign is required to prevent people parking on pavements.
Community safety was also a concern due to perceived increases in rural crime. The need for Gardai to communicate the opening hours of the barracks was noted . Street-lights in some areas are not working and this is a cause of concern for those walking at night.
People talked about loneliness and isolation, particularly in the evening, noting that more activities could be available in the town e.g. music sessions or tea dances. It was suggested that a telephone line could be set up, manned by volunteers to give people a morning phone-call to see if they were ok or for people to call if they needed information. A central community information hub would also be useful to signpost people to services available.
The need for local, 24-hour healthcare was a major theme arising in the consultation and the preference for people who require long-term care to receive that care locally, in Roscrea, where they are socially connected was discussed. It was noted that costs of some health services e.g. dentures, hearing aids, physio, chiropody can inhibit use and not everyone is aware of the services available through Primary Care. The representative from the HSE responded to these issues indicating a willingness to establish a subgroup to explore the points raised further.
Shane Winters, Age Friendly Ireland commended Anne, the committee and all those who participated on all their work to date, noting that many of the themes emerging from the Consultation were similar to those that have been tackled in other areas. A draft action plan was developed and consultation will now take place with stakeholders indicated in that plan to rally their support and action. Anne and Kathy are working on the finalisation of the consultation report and this will be available in July 2016. If you would like more information or would like to get involved please contact Anne on 0831133987