The event allowed representatives from Councils who are affiliated with the WHO Global Network of Age Friendly Cities and Communities to share and discuss ideas for how to continue to be more ‘age friendly’ or inclusive to all ages.
Clarence was named as the first Tasmanian council to join the World Health Organisation Global Network of Age Friendly Cities and Communities Network in 2014, recognising the work of Council and its Clarence Positive Ageing Advisory Committee (CPAAC).
CPAAC hosted the two day event, with support from the Clarence City Council, at the Bellerive Yacht Club.
Chair of the event, Alderman Sharyn von Bertouch, said one of the key themes raised during the forum was the language we use around growing older and how this can contribute to ageism.
“Being more positive and inclusive as to how we think about our own ageing, and the words we use to describe ourselves and other people as we age, can make such a difference,” said Ald von Bertouch.
“Being more inclusive works both ways. As one of the presenters from Council’s Youth Network Advisory Group YNAG indicated ‘young people can be extremely selective about our interactions with other age groups’, and of course this works both ways.”
The first National Forum for Age Friendly Cities was held last year in Adelaide. Following the success of the event it was decided it should be an annual event to be held in cities which are members of the WHO network.
One of the event’s keynote speakers was University of Tasmania Social Sciences Senior Lecturer, Peta Cook, who said the event displayed admiral cohesion between the CPAAC group and the Council.
“Older people are seen here as active participants who are appreciated and allowed to contribute to their communities- but often in society they can be made to feel invisible,” said Dr Cook.
“The Clarence City Council should be looked to as a role model for other councils for how to acknowledge and embrace the valuable contributions older people can make.”
Dr Cook hopes to secure funding to continue further work with her ‘Reclaim Self Project’ with the Clarence City Council, looking at how older people perceive and experience ageing.
A founding member of CPAAC, 83 year-old Lauderdale resident, Joan Carr gave a presentation to the forum on the last 10 years in Clarence.
“We want a community that is friendly for all ages and in Clarence we are doing that pretty well,” said Mrs Carr.
“We are working toward addressing the important issues like good housing, transport access, and social interaction for all. Already we meet the required criteria which allowed us to join the WHO Age Friendly Cities and Communities Network in 2014.”