Frequently Asked Questions

What is a submission?

A submission is a statement of views, opinions or knowledge usually furnished in written form as a letter or e-mail. There is no specific submission format but the following suggestions may help you in preparing your submission on the National Positive Ageing Strategy:

Should you want to make a submission other than by letter or e-mail every effort will be made to facilitate this requirement. Please contact us at the number below.

A list of submissions on the National Positive Ageing Strategy will be published in due course and some may be included on the Department’s website. Submissions will be subject to Freedom of Information Acts 1997 and 2003.

What issues should I cover in my submission?

Any issue that you think is relevant to older people. Organisations should consult with their members prior to making a submission.

Why have a National Positive Ageing Strategy?

While Ireland currently has a younger age-profile than many EU Member States, demographic projections suggest that our population will begin to age quite rapidly in the coming decades. In that context, we must face up to the ageing of our population by identifying the provisions that must be made to create a society in which the independence and dignity of every older citizen is assured. Confronting the realities of a population with an older population profile will mean identifying the strategies that will be needed to ensure that older people can live healthy, fulfilling lives for as long as possible.

The preparation of the National Positive Ageing Strategy takes forward the commitment in the Programme for Government 2007-2012 to better recognise the position of older people in Irish society. The intention behind the Strategy is to put in place arrangements that would ensure that issues affecting older people are mainstreamed in policy-making at all levels and across all sectors. Another objective is to ensure coherence and integration in planning and implementing programmes for older people.

It is intended that the development of the National Positive Ageing Strategy will assist in the formulation and implementation of policies across all sectors that will contribute to the best quality of life for older people in the years to come. It is also envisaged that the Strategy will set out a common framework for the development of operational plans by Government departments clearly setting out their objectives relating to older people, as well as the development of ongoing mechanisms designed to monitor progress and identify challenges facing older citizens in the future.

How is the Strategy being developed?

The Strategy is being developed by a Cross-Departmental Group, chaired by the Director of the Office for Older People at the Department of Health and Children. The membership of this group is composed of officials from ten Government Departments and the Central Statistics Office. The Departments are:

It is intended that there will also be an Expert Advisory Group and also a Liaison Group composed of the key Non-Governmental Organisations representing older people.

What principles will inform the Strategy?

The Strategy is being informed by the UN Principles for Older Persons that emphasise independence, dignity, self-fulfillment, participation and care. (see United Nations Principles for Older Persons, 1991)

It is also being informed by the World Health Organisation policy framework on active ageing in which active ageing is defined as a process of optimising opportunities for health, participation and security in order to enhance quality of life as people age. (see Active Ageing: A Policy Framework, World Health Organisation, 2002)

The Strategy will also draw on the Madrid International Plan of Action on Ageing, 2002 which identified three priority directions: older persons and development; advancing health and well-being into old age and ensuring enabling and supportive environments. (see Madrid International Plan of Action on Ageing, 2002)

Why is the Strategy being termed the National Positive Ageing Strategy?

Positive ageing has been described as ‘an individual, community, public and private sector approach to ageing that aims to maintain and improve the physical, emotional and mental well-being of older people’ (Office of an Ageing Australia). It extends beyond the health and community service sectors, as the well-being of older people is affected by many different factors including socio-economic status, family and broader social interactions, employment, housing and transport. Social attitudes and perceptions of ageing can also strongly influence the well-being of older people, whether through direct discrimination or through negative attitudes and images.

What issues will be dealt with in the Strategy?

Given that the well-being of older people is affected by many different factors, the National Positive Ageing Strategy will focus on a broad range of issues, including those relating to older people’s participation in society, the ways in which programmes and services for older people are organised and utilised; and the determinants of quality of life for older people such as income, health and social care, housing, transport, education and employment, or any other issue of relevance to older people.

Will additional funding be made available as a result of the development of the Strategy?

No. The Strategy is being developed within the constraints posed by the present fiscal situation. It is not the intention that the Strategy will propose new service developments; rather it will set strategic direction for future policies, programmes and services for older people.

Is this the first Irish National Strategy for Older People?

Yes. In the past, policy relating to older people tended to deal almost exclusively with health and social care issues. However, the National Positive Ageing Strategy will have a much wider focus. This is the first time that there will be such a wide-ranging consultation between Government and older people about matters that affect older people.

The public consultation process is fundamental to the development of the Strategy and is being implemented to ensure that all interested parties can express their views. It is envisaged the consultation will inform decisions on strategic planning and investment; inform public bodies of the needs of older people and help ensure that they focus on the needs and preferences of older people; provide information about services or programmes from an older person’s point of view; recognise the diversity of older people; and bring to the fore the needs of minority or particularly vulnerable groups of older people.

It is intended that the National Positive Ageing Strategy will encourage people of all ages to think positively about their own ageing, enable them to plan sensibly for their later years and facilitate them in adopting lifestyle practices that will have the effect of ‘adding years to life and life to years’.

Do other countries have positive ageing strategies?

Yes. Positive ageing strategies have been developed in Northern Ireland, Scotland, Wales, in several other EU Member States, Canada, New Zealand and other countries. See:

Who is being consulted in relation to the Strategy?

The Minister for Older People and Health Promotion, Áine Brady TD wishes to consult as widely as possible and in that regard would like to hear from any individual (regardless of age), institution, agency, organisation, group or other body with an interest in an issue or issues relating to the lives of older people in Ireland. These may include agencies and other bodies in the public, private, voluntary or community sectors. The Minister would particularly welcome submissions from national groups or organisations that reflect the views of their memberships.

To what address should submissions be sent?

National Positive Ageing Strategy
Office for Older People
Department of Health and Children
Hawkins House - Room 11.17
Dublin 2
Tel: (01) 635 4000 ext. 3242
(e-mail: positiveageing@health.gov.ie)

What is the last date for making a submission?

The closing date for receipt of submissions is Thursday, 24 September 2009.