Frankston City Council plays a critical role in supporting, improving and promoting the wellbeing of older residents to enable positive and healthier ageing.
That’s why Council officers are currently drafting the Positive Ageing Action Plan 2021 – 2025 with the focus on guiding delivery of programs, services and infrastructure to ensure that older people living in Frankston City remain connected, supported and engaged.
North-East Ward Cr Suzette Tayler said the Plan aims to achieve improved outcomes for older adults, by promoting ageing well and addressing identified gaps in the community.
“It will explore areas including housing, social participation, respect and social inclusion, civic participation and employment, communication and information, community support and health services, outdoor spaces and buildings and transportation.”
Council Manager Family Health Support Services, Joanne Ferrie, said community consultation held during September included an online survey, mailed survey and telephone interviews.
“The survey generated a total 316 responses, which included around 236 written responses and 80 telephone surveys (conducted as interviews),” she said.
Ms Ferrie said highlights from the community engagement included:
- Almost half of those who responded to the survey would like to be more involved in volunteering via local clubs and groups, and in their local neighbourhoods. Those surveyed indicated they don’t always feel connected to their neighbourhood, however, indicated that connection was important for our older population.
- Open space and supporting infrastructure is regularly used and highly regarded by our older residents. The importance of accessible and age-friendly infrastructure was referenced when asked what would assist older people use open space more often.
- Similar responses were received when asked what would make it easier to get around the community with the need for more regular and reliable transport options also referenced.
Council officers are now finalising the draft Plan with actions to be established based on the community feedback and consultation with stakeholders.
While Council is aiming to launch the Plan in May 2021, follow up consultation prior to this will be held in February 2021 including targeted engagement with survey respondents and broader community consultation in March/April 2021. This will focus on the draft plan and actions that have been developed.
Cr Tayler added: “This Plan is important as the municipality is expecting an increase of older adults residing in the area, which highlights the need to ensure they are well supported and well connected in the community.
“This Plan will ensure that Council can contribute to our older residents ageing well and thriving where they live. Listening to our community and responding to their ideas and aspirations through the Positive Ageing Action Plan is one of the best ways we can do that,” Cr Tayler said.
Frankston University of the Third Age President Andrea McCall said the Plan was crucial, particularly as data indicated older adults represent the fastest growing cohort in Frankston City.
Older adults currently represent 20 per cent of Frankston City’s total population and forecasts predict that by 2026, this will increase to 24 per cent.
Ms McCall added: “In the post COVID-normal world, it’s essential that seniors re-engage because for so much of 2020 we lost our social skills. The University of the Third Age plays a vital role in providing and nurturing social engagement, as well as opening minds to education.”
Frankston U3A is a not for profit organisation, drawing on the wealth of knowledge and experience of its almost 700 members to offer study groups and recreational activities for seniors.
Frankston City includes many senior clubs and groups promoting health and wellbeing, and offering social activities for community members over 55 years of age.
For a list of the local clubs and other activities on offer, please visit https://www.frankston.vic.gov.au/Our_Community/Active_Ageing/Positive_Ageing_Activities_and_Advisory