Making sure our older residents remain connected to, supported by and engaged in their community is the aim of Frankston City Council’s Positive Ageing Action Plan 2021-2025.
Cr Suzette Tayler said the plan, which is currently in the draft stage, aimed to achieve improved outcomes for older adults by promoting ageing well and addressing identified gaps in the community. “It will explore areas including housing, social participation, respect and social inclusion, civic participation and employment, communication and information, community support and health services, outdoor spaces and buildings, and transportation,” Cr Tayler said.
The council’s family health support services manager, Joanne Ferrie, said almost half of those who responded to a survey last September wanted to be more involved in volunteering through clubs and groups and in their neighbourhoods, saying they did not always feel connected. The survey also found open space and supporting infrastructure was regularly used and highly regarded by older residents.
“The importance of accessible and age-friendly infrastructure was referenced when asked what would assist older people use open space more often,” Ms Ferrie said. “Similar responses were received when asked what would make it easier to get around the community, with the need for more regular and reliable transport options also referenced.”
Frankston University of the Third Age president Andrea McCall said the plan was crucial, with the city’s proportion of older residents expected to grow from the current 20 per cent to 24 per cent by 2026. “In the post-COVID-normal world, it’s essential that seniors re-engage because for so much of 2020 we lost our social skills,” Ms McCall said. “The University of the Third Age plays a vital role in providing and nurturing social engagement as well as opening minds to education.”
While the council is aiming to launch the plan in May, follow-up consultation will be held with survey respondents next month and with the broader community in March/April.