Wellbeingforlife.org.uk is the website of Newcastle Wellbeing and Health partnership - Organisations and people working together to improve the wellbeing and health of everyone in Newcastle. We are proud to be part of the World Health Organisation's European Healthy City Movement.
On 12 October 2011, the Elders Council co-hosted an event with Newcastle City Council as part of the Let’s Talk programme to find out what older people think would help to make Newcastle an age-friendly city.
Forty five older people from different parts of the city contributed from their different experiences, cultures and perspectives. Many of them were participating in an event of this kind for the first time.
Mary Nicholls, Chair of the Elders Council and Cllr Ann Schofield from Newcastle City Council opened the event. Mary emphasized the importance of celebrating the fact that we all live longer and healthier lives, but that this achievement should be enjoyed equally by more people in the city. Cllr Schofield welcomed the opportunity to engage with older people to discuss the wealth of issues which need to be addressed to make Newcastle an age-friendly city.
The event was designed to enable older people to have conversations in small groups, with the support of a facilitator.
On arrival, participants were given a workbook, which gave details of the programme.
To get started, we tested our knowledge of older people in the city by participating in a short quiz. The key surprises were that older people did not anticipate that people aged 50+ are most likely to own a top of the range car, and that older people estimated that a much higher percentage of people aged over 65 provide care and support to a relative or friend than is shown by the statistics.
Participants were asked to consider six themes and to comment on whether they felt that the issues that are important to them were covered by the themes. They were also asked to consider the themes from the perspectives of five different characters, which were created to capture different experiences of ageing. Participants confirmed that the themes presented captured the issues which are important to older people.
Participants then considered what we can do to make a difference by focusing on one of the themes, but considering it from the perspectives of all the characters. Participants thought about what people can do for themselves, as well as what support they need from others. A number of suggestions were made in the discussions which will inform future planning.
At the end of the event, participants were asked to complete a postcard giving us their ideas about what would make an age-friendly city. Read their replies here.
The information gathered at this event helped to inform a Briefing Paper which was presented at a thinkabout – policy cabinet on ‘Promoting Active Ageing’ which was held on 9th November 2011. A copy of the paper and a report on the event are available here.