Information in the community – Age Friendly Skerries

by Fingal Libraries
by Fingal Libraries on October 1, 2015 in Libraries

On Tuesday 25th August 2015, Skerries Age Friendly Town Working Group launched an information pack for people over 65 years. The Age Friendly Information pack was produced to address the information needs of older people in the town. The pack includes a Fridge Magnet of Emergency Services numbers, Contact details on Clubs and Leisure Activities […]

On Tuesday 25th August 2015, Skerries Age Friendly Town Working Group launched an information pack for people over 65 years. The Age Friendly Information pack was produced to address the information needs of older people in the town. The pack includes a Fridge Magnet of Emergency Services numbers, Contact details on Clubs and Leisure Activities together with an Action Plan for the town. Cllr David O’Connor, Mayor of Fingal launched the Information pack in The Skerries Harps GAA Club to an audience 200 people. In attendance were Paul Reid(Chief Executive of Fingal County Council), Nora Owen (Chair of Fingal Age Friendly Alliance), Asling Costello (Age Friendly Ireland), Oonagh Ryan (National Coordinator of Older People Remaining at Home – OPRAH), Jane Landy (Skerries Community Council AssociationSCA) and Yvonne O’Brien Senior Executive Librarian of Fingal Libraries.

Paul Reid welcomed the initiative and praised the the Information Pack and it’s value to older people, especially the most vulnerable older people. He sees a valuable support to this age group’s quality of life. Mayor David O’Connor spoke of it as response, to this age group and their need of information. He went on to acknowledge, how it was created by consultation with varying Age related groups and individuals. He describes an Age Friendly Town, as a place where the community understands and responds to needs of older people . The input of individual people in the age group, gives people a say in the future they hope achieve for themselves. The speakers also highlighted the work done by Age Friendly Town Inititiative in Skerries. Jane Landy spoke of the valuable contribution that older people make to society and of how the lives of older people will be enhanced by having information more readily available. She stressed the importance of striving to make life easier for them. Each speaker commended Eithne Mallin’s work as coordinator and manager of the project. Eithne is a Community Development Officer at Fingal Development Board, which works in partnership with communities in Fingal. Eithne highlighted the work still to be done, particulary in the area of transport within the town or for taking older people to events outside of town to hospital appointments. Going to collect prescriptions, messages and going to Sunday Services proves very difficult. She also described other ventures now in operation (see below), in areas of Health and Safety.

Caller Card: To guard against bogus callers a caller card is attached to the mail box so that the caller leaves details of services’ and contact information. This allows individuals to make contact with callers if they need their services.

The Message In A Bottle venture is another service available to older people at home. The bottle contains a blank form that details the person’s nearest contacts. Health information is also recorded and it assists ambulances, police and others who may be concerned about the individual. A sticker on the window indicates that the person has agreed to let emergency services to gain access to the details in the bottle and call the nearest named contact. The venture is sponsored by Lions Club and supported by Gardai, Hse, Fire Brigade and other Emergency Services. The bottle is generally placed in the fridge. It saves the person having to explain the details. Bottles are available at the local library,pharmacies and Citizen’ Information Centres

Personal Pendants can be made available to older people, which will enable instant contact to Emergency Services. Information is available about the pendant at Skerries Health Care Centre. A grant is also available to help acquire one of these.

The Skerries project used the various methodologies of The Age Friendly County programme. Skerries was selected as the pilot for this plan, in December 2013, having completed THE Age Friendly Town Process Certificate of recognition as a town that is aiming to be Age Friendly. The pack is intended as a quick reference to Services & Recreation/ Activities available to older people in the town. The Information Working group, who helped produce the pack is a sub group of Skerries Community Association. They hope to produce an Online Directory of the Services in Skerries in the future.

Skerries inititative won an award in January 2015 for the work done and showcasing the town as a good place to live in, as one moves in all stages of life.

The Age Friendly Strategy is is world wide Plan by World Health Organisation’s for age stages of all citizens.

The following areas are stressed as being the most vital areas covered in WHO’s recommendations.

  • Age-Friendly Environment that can maximize and support and enable older people to continue those things they already do.
  • Elder Abuse. is typically unreported. In the last month, the reports of elderly abuse, world wide, is put at 6%. The extent and negative impact of this abuse, makes it an important health priority.
  • Emergency and the older person. Emergency situations are increasing world wide and older people remain one of the most affected groups. The policy makers must make use of the evidence and be planned for by humanitarian organizations.
  • Knowledge Translation. Whether it is is maintaining active aging societies, or dealing with growing chronic diseases, housing and other community and social elements of ageing, must make use of evidence to develop a national approach to the ageing agenda.

Ireland became the first EU country to make a commitment to The Age Friendly Strategy. The Dublin Declaration was signed in Dublin in 2013, with all counties of Ireland been represented. Dublin was first Age friendly City in Europe.

Representatives from all counties in Ireland attended.

Enda Kenny was present and stated that the nation must show it’s commitment by taking on the project. This will show Ireland’s committment, to making Ireland an equitable and an inclusive society.

Thus, the rolling out of the strategy in Skerries and other counties and cities forms part of this commitment. Eventually it will be rolled out in all counties cities in Ireland. Among those who have already taken it on are Kilkenny, Kildare, Monaghan, Ardee, Co Louth, Donegal.

For further info., see below

Fingal Libraries( ) have a representative on the information group, indicating the role that libraries have as a conduit of Information in the community and forming networks with varying groups. Fingal libraries are involved in many more ventures and projects for older people. The Fingal Library Service is listed on the Skerries Age Friendly Information brochure as an important service to all age groups in Fingal. [email protected]

The Information Packs For Skerries Age Friendly Town Initiative are available at Skerries Library and Skerries Citizen’s Imformation Centre.

Email [email protected] or visit your local Citizen’s Information Service or Public Library for more information about The Skerries Age Friendly Working Group.

By Josephine Knight, Skerries Library