Positive ageing plan mapped out for future growth
A CONNECTION with the local community is "crucial" for those entering retirement, according to a Central Coast Council report.
For some, the joy of long and happy retirement days is soured by a sudden realisation they have no outside interests and no hobbies, the report has warned.
"It comes as a shock to many that after 50 or so years in the work environment, they have very few other real interests and have to search for something else to fill the void," council's community and culture spokesman Glenn Cannard said.
As a result of these findings, the council is forging ahead with its Positive Ageing Strategy, aimed at benefiting retirees of all ages.
Numerous focus group meetings have been held along with thousands of individual questionnaires to clearly define the requirements of a rapidly ageing Central Coast population.
"Certainly, the need to be engaged in the local community came through loud and strong," Mr Cannard said.
"We have found that those who have the most positive outlook are those who are connected to their community as they transition to retirement.
"It is equally clear that retirees love the physical and natural environment the Central Coast has to offer but they need to be engaged.
"Those who are or have been isolated and don't have any hobbies tend to struggle."
Mr Cannard said an important aspect of Central Coast retirement life was undertaking volunteer work.
The region had large numbers of people volunteering for a whole range of community issues and this needed to be encouraged.
Mr Cannard said the Positive Ageing Strategy looked at short-term goals, mid-term aims and long-term strategies.
Some issues had already been addressed to help improve peoples' lifestyles, such as better wheelchair access and the development of public outdoor gymnasium activities.
Other matters of concern would take longer to address, such as more aged care living and better public transport.
"Something that council is particularly keen to achieve as quickly as possible is better access to information," Mr Cannard said.
"A lot of older people still don't know how to easily access information that is important to them that can improve both their physical and mental health."
Currently a quarter of the coast's population is aged over 60, compared with the state average of 20%.
This number will grow dramatically over the next few years, particularly in the north where greenfield sites will be developed.
"Access to services will become even more crucial and the Positive Ageing Strategy is looking closely at that aspect," Mr Cannard said.
THE Central Coast Positive Ageing Strategy has been developed in response to the significant ageing of the Central Coast population.
The aim is to support older residents to lead healthy, active and independent lives.
The strategy is the culmination of extensive community engagement and has been undertaken with the NSW Office for Ageing and Local Government NSW as part of the Age Friendly Government Grants Program 2012-14.
One of the outcomes so far is the development of the Central Coast Healthy Ageing Resource booklet which provides hints and tips to enable older residents to be active and involved in the community, as well as useful links to support services.
(2000 people interviewed.)
Most important factors to live a happy and healthy life:
1. Good health (18%)
2. Being physically active (13%)
3. Interactions with friends and family (13%)
4. Access to health and support services (11%)
5. Financial security (9%)
Benefits of getting older:
1. Freedom/free time (25%)
2. Life experience (16%)
3. Family/ grandchildren (9%)
4. Retirement (8%)
5. Negative/none (6%)
Great things about the Central Coast:
1. Natural environment (35%)
2. Relaxed/peaceful (12%)
3. Leisure (12%)
4. Climate (9%)
5. Community (8%);
1. Maintaining health and fitness (20%)
2. Maintaining home and garden (11%)
3. Financial pressures (9%)
4. Concerns about safety and crime (8%) 5. Being able to live independently (8%);
Suggested solutions to challenges:
1. Financial assistance (10%)
2. Support networks and services to be able to live independently (9%)
3. More effective and accessible transport (9%)
4. Effective communication of information/ awareness of local facilities, services, activities (8%)
5. Well managed and maintained infrastructure (7%)