Inquiry urges action in remote communities

25 Nov 2015

It’s time to address issues required for a successful ‘ageing-in-place’ community

It’s time to address issues required for a successful ‘ageing-in-place’ community

Active ageing is defined by the World Health Organisation as, “the process of optimizing opportunities for health, participation and security in order to enhance quality life as people age.  Policy, infrastructure and services that support active ageing, must be adapted to fit the Territory’s local context to support ‘ageing-in-place’, especially in remote communities that currently have few or no aged care services.

A strong emphasis on providing bus transport, reliable communications and social and health care services in rural and remote communities is needed, as less attention has been paid to these ‘ageing-in-place’ requirements.

The concept of age-friendliness provides a community development and policy approach to addressing gaps in supports for older adults living in rural and remote communities. Rural communities provide unique advantages to older adults because of strong community connections and family-friendly networks.

Strong local leaders, such as mayors, are needed to gain a better understanding of age-friendliness to effectively address issues required for a successful ‘ageing-in-place’ community. Of noteworthy interest here is that older people are becoming more and more involved in advocacy roles and are now being viewed as a political force.

Local voluntary leadership, can yield outcomes of community sustainability, resilience and development. An example of this is the tireless volunteer services of retired people who help seniors remain in their communities as long as possible.

A community that has grown up or grown older together, is usually a very cohesive rural or remote community. Rural older people are resistant to external professional assessments of their needs that do not sufficiently accommodate their own views. These assessments often result in ‘over servicing’ with resources that are considered inappropriate. Rural seniors do not want a suite of services to be provided that are likely to dissolve the sense of community energy that results from mutual self-reliance.

A completely new perspective is now coming to the fore in that older people can not only be the source of, but also the solution to current challenges of supporting ‘ageing-in-place’.


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