AMs debate link between community design and older people’s wellbeing

Communities that provide facilities and services which allow older people to live life to the full came under the spotlight at the National Assembly for Wales this week.

The Cross Party Group on Older People and Ageing discussed how neighbourhoods can improve over 50s' wellbeing and quality of life.

Mike Hedges AM, Chair of the Cross Party Group on Older People and Ageing says: “We know that the majority of older people that don’t enjoy leaving their home often can suffer from poor physical health, less social contact, along with an overall reduced quality of life.

“It’s therefore important that we get it right when it comes to the design and accessibility of both the built environment and community facilities so that no older person in Wales feels like a prisoner in their own home.”

Rita Newton of the Inclusive Design for Getting Outdoors (I’DGO) project at the University of Salford addressed the group, as Mike Hedges comments “I’m delighted that the I’DGO research team are able to attend the Cross Party Group to discuss their research into how the design of the built environment can enhance the wellbeing and quality of life for older people in Wales."

Welcoming the debate, Age Cymru’s Head of Policy and Public Affairs Graeme Francis says: “Communities which meet the needs of everyone who lives within them are vital to ensure that older people across Wales can retain their independence and have a good quality of life.

“Older people need local communities with spaces and services designed with their needs in mind and in which their voices are heard. Today’s meeting of the Cross Party Group on Older People and Ageing is a valuable opportunity to highlight this.

“If lifetime communities are achieved in all areas of Wales the benefits to society and other public services could be extensive, with reduced pressure on health and social services and an older population that is actively encouraged to take part in employment, volunteering and community activities.”