Action on Ageing Strategy

Procedure 2.2.2 Version 1
Adopted 9 June 2009

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Executive summary

In February 2006, the NSW Department of Local Government reported its findings as part of investigations into Kempsey Shire Council as part of the Local Government Reform Program – Promoting Better Practice. This review process acted as a "health check" on Council's performance, giving confidence about what was being done and helping to focus attention on key priority areas.

The Promoting Better Practice report into Council indicated that:

“Given Council’s ageing population is increasing at a significant rate, Council needs to consider ways to raise the awareness of this issue across all sections of Council. Building upon strategies in its Social Plan and using the Ageing and Place Framework developed by the Associations, Council should prepare long term strategies to meet current and future needs for older people.”

In November 2006, Council commenced investigations about the impacts an ageing population may have on the Kempsey Shire. This resulted in the development of the “Action on Ageing Background Paper”. This background paper identified the impacts of an ageing population on the Shire and on Council which is a major service provider for the community. The background paper also identified how the Ageing 2022 – Action on Ageing Strategy and accompanying Action plan should be developed.

To gain a holistic view of the challenges and opportunities that the Shire was facing, in July 2007 representation was sought from community members for participation in the following focus groups.

  • Frail Aged and Carers – this group was open to those people who are frail aged and /or carers of the frail aged,
  • Healthy Ageing – this group was open to those people 55+ years who lead a healthy and active lifestyle,
  • Children of Ageing parents – this group was open to persons between 40–55 years whose parents are ageing and who would like to see what services could be available to them as their parents grow older.

In calling for interested persons to be involved in focus groups, only one response was received from a person interested in participating in the Children of Ageing Parents focus group. This inability to attend may be attributed to the pressures on people in meeting their family and work based commitments and therefore this focus group was not conducted at this time.

The needs of People with Disabilities were not included as a focus group, it should be noted that their needs would also be enhanced by the outcomes identified within this document.

Following the success of these focus groups additional focus group sessions were held for Aged Care Service Industry Providers and key Council planning and service delivery staff.

The focus group sessions were held over a period of months. These sessions identified a number of desired goals for an ageing population. These desired goals provided information on what focus groups members would like to achieve by affecting changes now which would impact on the future. These changes which may only be small steps, are identified in the strategies Action plan for 2008/09 – 2012.

These desired goals were then prioritised under four (4) main themes relating to ageing. The theme and its corresponding desired goals are as follows:

Social Participation and Inclusion – being able to actively participate in the community and feel part of the community.
Priority 1 – Physical, Emotional and Intellectual Wellbeing
Priority 2 – A Diverse and Inclusive Society

Community support and Health Services – support for the provision of aged care, health and accommodation services within the community.
Priority 1 – Future viability of Health and Accommodation Services
Priority 2 – Coordination of Aged Care Services

Ageing in Place of Choice – Supporting those individuals that wish to live in their preferred place of residence as long as they can or so wish.
Priority 1 – Living Happily
Priority 2 – Informed Choices on Aged Care Services

Age Friendly Communities – providing supportive built, natural and social environments for an ageing community.
Priority 1 – All Services are easily accessible
Priority 2 – Age Friendly Shire

Each priority has a number of recommendations that take into consideration the ability to affect change within the Shire. These range from coordinated aged care service provision and associated information in user friendly formats, through to making changes to the built environment such as increased number of walkways and/or seating. Central to this is the need to undertake more overall planning of strategic land uses with an ageing population in mind.

If the actions identified within the plan are implemented it will greatly assist the Shire and its residents in meeting the challenges that lie ahead as our population ages.

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