DkIT Supports Age Friendly Initiatives

Kathleen Lynch TD, Minister of State for Disability, Older People, Equality & Mental Health, will be in Dundalk Institute of Technology on the 2nd of May to open a conference on Ageing, Health & Environment: Partnerships for Excellence. The event will bring together many experts in the field of developing Age Friendly Environments with the aim of demonstrating the key role DkIT plays in Ageing research and education through a wide range of partnerships, including Louth Age Friendly Initiative, the Netwell and Casala research centres and the Louth Older Peoples Forum.

This is the European Year for Active Ageing and Solidarity between Generations. The year is intended to raise awareness of the contribution that older people make to society. It seeks to encourage policymakers and relevant stakeholders at all levels to take action with the aim of creating better opportunities for active ageing and strengthening solidarity between generations. The European Union's population structure is changing and becoming progressively older – at the beginning of 2010, there were 87 million people aged 65 and over in the EU, more than 17 % of the total population.

There is a lot to life after 60 and society is coming increasingly to appreciate the contribution older people can make. That's what active ageing is about, getting more out of life as you grow older, not less, whether at work, at home or in the community. Here in Ireland, DkIT are at the forefront for fostering innovation and fresh thinking in the ways that we can create more supportive conditions for older people to live more independently and remain in charge of their own lives for as long as possible.

"This conference will showcase the work that has seen Louth's Living Lab for the development of environments, products and services for older people cited as a leading age-friendly exemplar for the world to follow by the World Health Organisation," said Rodd Bond, Director of the Netwell Centre at Dundalk Institute of Technology.

"We have one of the most advanced facilities for integrated health, ageing and environmental research in Europe and our work is animated by an ethos of inclusivity that recognises increasing longevity as a wonderful opportunity to strengthen social cohesion and economic sustainability.

Dr. Edel Healy, Head of School of Health & Science at Dundalk Institute of Technology indicated that "At this conference DkIT will further confirm the strategic priority which it gives to this area by the introduction of its innovative new Masters in Ageing, Health & Environment and the launch of the commitment of DkIT to become the first Age Friendly Campus in Ireland."

The overall objective of the European Year is to facilitate the creation of an active ageing culture in Europe based on a society for all ages. If you would like to attend this conference please contact elaine.mcgarrell@dkit.ie with your name, title and organisation. Registration is free but spaces are limited.

For further information please contact Dr. Edel Healy, Head of School of Health & Science: edel.healy@dkit.ie