Auckland City Council's demographic advisory panels had their inaugural meeting via zoom during the recent lockdown, so the opportunity for the Seniors Advisory Panel to finally meet face to face was a great moment for the panel.
Auckland Mayor Phil Goff said, “Given the challenges we face with COVID-19, it is more important than ever that we work together with our communities and partner organisations to improve the age-friendliness of our city and create great outcomes for our older communities.”
David Wong-Hop, interim co-chair of the Seniors Advisory Panel said that joining the Age-Friendly Cities network was a major area of focus for the panel last term and will be of ongoing interest during the coming term.
“The previous Seniors Advisory Panel were instrumental in the council’s commitment to join the global network of age-friendly cities in 2018 which is used to foster information sharing between cities worldwide so that communities become more age-friendly.”
Councillor Tracy Mulholland, Seniors Advisory Panel Liaison Councillor, said that membership of the age-friendly global network requires a commitment to a continuous improvement process for creating age-friendly environments with the expectation that an age-friendly city is more inclusive and beneficial for everyone, regardless of their age.
“Last year, over 3000 people shared their ideas on what could be done to improve the age-friendliness of Auckland through community workshops, hui, interviews and via ‘Have your Say’ and People’s Panel surveys,” explained Councillor Mulholland.
“And now we are developing a region-wide cross-sector age-friendly action plan which will be followed by an application to join the World Health Organisation Global Network of Age-friendly Cities and Communities.”
“We look forward to having an active role in the plan’s development,” said Wong-Hop.
“The Seniors Advisory Panel is committed to progressing this work alongside council staff. Older Aucklanders have so much to offer Tāmaki Makaurau and we look forward to working with the council to help them engage more with us all.”
Councillor Cathy Casey, Chief Liaison Councillor for the panels is pleased the council is working with a range of organisations and communities who are active in advancing the wellbeing of older Aucklanders. According to Casey these stakeholders will help develop and deliver a plan to demonstrate our collective commitment to Auckland being age-friendly and inclusive.
“The council has already implemented a number of actions to make Tāmaki Makaurau an age-friendly city,” said Councillor Casey.
These actions include:
- Developing local board age-friendly action plan in Howick
- Support for older residents in Manurewa to study
- More inclusive and age-friendly events in Puketapapa
- Providing a range of programmes and activities across our network of community venues that engage our 65+ population and support their physical and mental health and wellbeing, enable community participation and reduce isolation. Examples include:
- ‘Caffeine and Craft’ a weekly programme at Te Atatu Peninsula Community Centre. People meet to share and socialise and produce crafts that are donated to local charities. The group has also begun creating masks, that are sold at a low cost or given away to locals that may not have access to reusable masks.
- In Avondale, the Whau Walking Samoans use the community centre every Friday morning. Members support and encourage each other to adopt walking and practice low-impact exercises, suitable for older people, to maintain good health. This is an activity designed to encourage seniors to take responsibility for their own health.