The City of Unley is proud to be recognised by the World Health Organisation as an Age Friendly City and Community.
In 2012 Council signed the Dublin Declaration of Age Friendly Cities and Communities and became SA’s first member of the WHO’s Global Network of Age Friendly Cities & Communities. Over 2012/13, the City of Unley acted as the pilot council, working with State Government to develop their Ageing Plan, in particular, in the development of the Age Friendly Neighbourhood Toolkit for Local Government.
Also in late 2013 Council commenced our formal partnership with the University of SA to develop our Active Ageing Strategy, which was launched in March 2016. Since this launch, the City of Unley has been delivering on the strategic objectives.
The Strategy provides a strong vision, aims and guiding principles, along with an overview of nine Key Focus Areas. The goal of developing an Age Friendly City is a responsibility we share with our community: we will collaborate with government agencies, industry providers, service clubs and community groups to deliver actions.
The environment in which we live - the physical and social infrastructure, neighbourhoods, buildings, services, facilities and opportunities to be involved – impacts on all of us. The social and built environment affects our health and wellbeing and this becomes more significant as we age.
An Age Friendly City and Community is one where people of all ages can live healthy and independent lives for as long as possible, and remain in a secure and supportive environment that enables them to participate in the community as they grow older.
The Age Friendly City initiative was launched by the World Health Organisation (WHO) in 2005. It was created in response to the rapid ageing of the world’s population and the increasing numbers of people living in cities. The WHO initially partnered with 33 cities around the world which collaborated with older people, their carers and service providers to determine the features of the urban environment that help, or hinder, active ageing. There are currently over 287 cities and communities who have partnered with the WHO to become age friendly – and this number is growing.
The City of Unley became the first South Australian council to join the WHO Global Network of Age Friendly Cities and Communities in 2012.
The World Health Organisation defines ‘active ageing’ as “the process of optimizing opportunities for health, participation and security in order to enhance quality of life as people age”. Active ageing starts when we are very young. The circumstances we encounter and the choices that we make during our lives will impact on our quality of life when we are older. The healthier we are we reach old age, the better our quality of life. An age friendly city helps people to maintain their health throughout their life course by providing the physical and social infrastructure that supports active ageing.
An Age Friendly City benefits everyone, not just older people. Neighbourhoods that are safe for older people are also safe for children. Footpaths that are free from obstructions help parents with prams, or younger people with disabilities, as well as older people, to move around freely. The entire community benefits from the participation of older people in paid or voluntary work. Housing that can be adapted to people with all levels of ability will ensure our neighbourhoods are sustainable for future generations. By viewing a community through an age friendly lens, city planners, residents, businesses, service providers and visitors can help create a city that is friendly for all ages.
Both globally and locally we are experiencing great social change - people are living longer and in better health. By 2013, the number of South Australians aged 65 and over will double and, for the City of Unley, over 30% of these people are likely to live in lone person households. Currently over 2,000 Australians turn 65 each week and, over the next 40 years, the number of people in Australia aged 65-84 is estimated to double and those aged over 85 will quadruple in number.
Additionally there is a transformational shift in the way our people wish to grow older - we are reinventing “ageing” and what it means to grow older.
This will have increasing impacts on our City - our people will expect improved infrastructure and urban design to increase mobility and accessibility, more reliable and comfortable transport, adaptable housing options that enable them to continue to be a part of their community, activities and programs to support social connection, enjoyment and lifelong learning, improved health care and social support services, increased choice and options and seek more opportunities to participate, contribute and be heard. This requires a new approach to all that we do, ensuring our policies, programs, services and facilities are best positioned to meet this demand.
The Unley Legends video series is a partnership project between the City of Unley and Resthaven. Now in its second season, the project was a finalist in the LG Professionals SA Award for Community Partnership and Collaboration and also contributed to the City of Unley winning the Active Ageing Australia Celebrate Age Award.
The project explores and shares the perspectives of older people as they age and the benefits of staying active mentally, physically and spiritually.
Unley Legends showcase inspiring legends of the Unley community who shatter the stereotypes of ageing.
Zara, Marie and Matthew
Classroom group study
Zara, Iris, Pat and Aachan
Classroom work books
Nature craft sessions
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