Positive Ageing Week Galway: challenging ageism and promoting well-being for older people

Positive Ageing Week Galway has begun its county-wide initiative to change the narrative on ageing across generations. 

This year, the theme of Positive Ageing Week is challenging ageism and highlighting the positives of ageing. 

When speaking with Head of Older People Services in COPE Galway, Jacquie Lynskey, said the aims of this campaign are: “for us here in Galway to change the public narrative about getting older and to try and portray a more positive image of ageing.” 

COPE Galway along with Galway Age Friendly Programme, Galway City Council and Galway County Council and many more agencies have planned a series of community events to celebrate ageing and thank older people for their contributions to the community.  

Eyre Square Exhibition

An exhibition in Eyre Square Shopping Centre led by COPE Galway is showcasing 22 older people from across the city and county “who epitomize positive, healthy and active ageing and who are contributing enormously in our local areas,” Mrs Lynskey said.  

In her view, putting faces to the stories of older people is an important part of changing the narrative on ageing.  

Elderly white woman photographed from the hips up against a background of shelving displaying cards
Ann Concagh, one of the Local Heroes featured in the Eyre Square exhibition

Events taking place this week include six to seven daily meet and greets across Galway in local parish halls and community centers. Mrs Lynskey said that it is important to see all generations getting involved in these events. As it provides an “opportunity for people to share” different stories and experiences. 

According to Mrs Lynskey, these conversations between generations are “something we’ve probably lost a little bit in terms of the way society has developed, particularly in our home unit.”

A different world for the older generation

Paul Gillen from the Health Promotion and Improvement Department in the HSE, also commented on the changes in how we interact with people in modern society.

He insists that recognising that the world we know today is different to what older generations would have grown up with is crucial to understanding and appreciating older people. “They grew up where connections were real, where they carried out conversations with people, where they met people.” 

This gap between generations has contributed to the isolation of older people from the wider community. Mr Gillen maintains that with initiatives such as Positive Ageing Week, it is important to “reach those who are hardest to reach.”  

“Often people who will participate in those new initiatives are the older people who are well, who are active, who are confident—rather than the people who are completely marginalised and isolated,” he continued. 

Continued support

Mrs Lynskey also noted that a lot of people feel isolated in their homes, not just older people. She hopes that the events will ultimately “encourage people to come out, to get involved, to meet their communities, their neighbours, their friends.” 

Aside from Positive Ageing Week, COPE Galway is continuously working to support older people in Galway and nationwide. Through the likes of their meal services and community support work. These services aim to help improve the quality of life for people in their own homes and encourage people to engage in social activities.  

For a closer look into the events running this week, see our article on Positive Ageing Week events here. 

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