"The expected increase in the numbers of older people in the population in the years ahead will present great opportunities for Irish society", the Minister for Older People and Health Promotion, Aine Brady TD said yesterday in Sligo (Thursday, 11th March 2010). "There will be more older people in Ireland in the future and we must take a much more positive view and grasp the many opportunities that the increase in the numbers of people aged 65 and over will present to us as a society," the Minister said.

The Minister was speaking in the Sligo Park Hotel at a consultation meeting on the National Positive Ageing Strategy, the second in a series of meetings to be held at different venues throughout the country as part of the preparation for the new Strategy for older people. The meeting was organised by the Office for Older People in cooperation with HSE West and Sligo Leader Partnership and was attended by some 130 older people, representatives of older people's organisations, and service providers from the statutory, voluntary and community sectors in the Northwest. Other consultation meetings will be held in Galway on 25 March. Further meetings will be held in Limerick, Wexford, Kildare, Louth and Dublin between now and May.

Noting that the preparation of the new Strategy is the first time that there will be such a wide-ranging consultation between Government and older people in Ireland, the Minister said that the new Strategy would deal with all the issues that impact on the lives of older people.

"We want to have the best possible arrangements in place for older people," the Minister said. "the challenge is to find ways of organising and delivering programmes and services that make them more accessible to people. But I also believe that attitudes towards older people and perceptions of ageing are also of importance. Ageism is an issue for all older people and we must work to tackle ageism as a priority," she stressed.

The Minister said that she is committed to encouraging people to think positively about the ageing process, enabling them to plan sensibly for their later years and promoting the kind of lifestyle practices that will have the effect of adding years to life and life to years.

Department of Health and Children, Ireland

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