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Council adopts ‘age-friendly approach’ for Kāpiti

9 Oct 2023, 11:30 AM

The needs, aspirations, and contributions of older people in Kāpiti will be better supported and recognised with Kāpiti Coast District Council’s adoption of an ‘age-friendly approach’, says Mayor Janet Holborow.

Council spent two years working with a reference group of aged-sector representatives led by chair John Hayes to understand the specific physical and social needs of people aged 65 years and over in the district. The result is an agreed approach to helping older people live their best lives and meeting their needs for current and future generations, Mayor Holborow said.

“Being an age-friendly district means ensuring our residents can continue to be part of our community and that their physical and social needs are catered for as they get older,” she said.

“This benefits the wider community because the things that older people need, like improved accessibility, housing, safety, and health care, is also good for the rest of us, especially young families and those with mobility challenges,” she said.

Kāpiti has more than 15,400 residents aged over 65. That’s 26 percent of its population, compared to 16 percent nationally, and is expected to grow to 30 percent in the next 25 years. About 3.8 percent of Kāpiti residents are over 85 years old, compared to 1.8 percent nationally.

John Hayes said older people have a lot to contribute, and an age-friendly community is better for everybody.

“Many older people enjoy good health, have a strong political voice, and live active, healthy lifestyles. Older people have a lot to offer in terms of time, experience, and wisdom. In our Māori communities, older people hold signficant value as leaders and kaitiaki (guardians).

“But we also need to accept that as we age we face greater vulnerabilities, disabilities and hardship so we need to work together to create a society that values and cares for our older folk,” Mr Hayes said.

Mayor Holborow said older people had several important asks of Council that shaped the focus areas for the age-friendly approach: integration, access, and connection.

“Older people told us they want to be seen as valued and an integral part of society. That means having communities designed with their needs in mind. They want places and spaces that contibute to their wellbeing. And they want to be able to get around to access services and information, and opportunities to connect with others and keep learning.

“Council has a pivotal role as a funder and facilitator locally, creating opportunities for physical activity and social connection in our parks, pools and libraries. We can also advocate to central government on national policies which cater to the needs of older people,” Mayor Holborow said.

The first actions under the age-friendly approach will be to establish a cross-sector working group to identify and progress opportunities; a detailed action plan to enable collaboration between Council, aged-sector organisations and communities; and a framework for measuring how we’re tracking in our focus areas, she said.

Read more on the age-friendly approach under ‘General strategies’ at www.kapiticoast.govt.nz/council-strategies

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