Positive Ageing Week Galway — what’s on

Professor Rose Anne Kenny - The New Science of Living a Longer and Healthier life

Positive Ageing Week is hosting events across Galway and nationwide to celebrate older people and their contributions to the community. 

Starting from September 25th, workshops and community activities are being rolled out to promote positive ageing in local communities across Ireland. Over 25 Galway-based Positive Ageing Week events are lined up for this week and will run until September 30th. 

Events include daily meet and greets across the city and county, practical workshops and awareness discussions which aim to change the narrative on ageing. 

Time for self-care?

In Galway city, a self-care workshop was held on Monday to promote self-care and wellbeing in old age. “We decided to focus on something that will hopefully help them to enhance their health and wellbeing from a personal point of view,” said Paul Gillen from the Health Promotion and Improvement Department in the HSE.  

Organised by the HSE’s Health Promotion and Improvement, Health and Wellbeing and Community Healthcare West departments, this workshop was aimed at promoting the physical and mental health of participants.  

Mr Gillen is adamant that “self-care is always important, no matter what age you are”, particularly in modern times. “The way society has developed and evolved, people are less active. We have less time for each other. Most of our interactions now are on social media,” he said. 

Through this workshop, Mr Gillen hopes that participants can learn “simple chair-based physical activities” and mental health tips to improve overall wellbeing.

Living longer, healthier lives

COPE Galway organised a speaking event led by geriatrician and author Professor Rose Anne Kenny. In her talk, she highlighted the importance of speaking about ageing in the modern world saying: “16.5 per cent of people in Ireland are over 65.” 

Professor Kenny also shared that, in general, 20 per cent of lifespan is spent with some disability. “The issue is that with extended lifespan is that we don’t necessarily get extended good health,” she said.  

According to her, genes contribute to between 20 to 30 per cent of one’s lifespan, leaving the rest to environmental factors. These factors include diet, exercise, stress, exposure to nature and relationships.  

Professor Kenny emphasised the particular importance of maintaining meaningful relationships, stating: “friendship is very important for slowing down biological ageing.” 

She continued: “Loneliness has a biological impact,” and it can increase the likelihood of getting dementia. 

Age-friendly business training

An age-friendly business training module was held this week to “encourage businesses to be a bit more responsive to older customers.” said Jacquie Lynskey, Head of Older Peoples Services in COPE Galway. 

Partnering with Age Friendly Ireland, COPE Galway organised this opportunity for businesses to be recognised as Age-Friendly. Through this module, Ms Lynskey hopes to see businesses making “small changes that will accommodate an older customer a little bit better, so they feel valued and welcome.”   

There are a number of initiatives across the city helping to promote and reinforce positive ageing including Galway Lions Club, Galway Contact and COPE Galway. These voluntary organisation are working toward limiting social isolation for older people and implementing a range of practical measures to support people in old age. 

Positive Ageing Week Galway is being hosted by Galway Age Friendly Programme, COPE Galway, Galway City Council and Galway County Council. For more information on upcoming events, visit the COPE Galway website. 

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