Forum plays vital role
The Louth Older People's Forum has played a vital role in making Louth the premier age friendly county in Ireland, its AGM has heard.
From restructuring the county's bus service to combatting loneliness and improving age friendly business services, the forum has established the needs of the county's older people and delivered real and lasting change.
Ann Ward has been elected chair of the forum for the second time, after receiving glowing praise at its recent AGM for the stellar progress made over the past two years.
'Louth has led the way in Ireland because it puts the older person at the centre of decision-making and service delivery – and the Louth Older People's Forum has been one of the main driving forces behind that,' said Mary Deery, Louth Age Friendly County Co-Ordinator.
The forum consists of older people's groups, advocacy groups, nursing homes, day care centres, community stakeholders and individuals and meets on a monthly basis.
Vice-Chairperson Kath Briggs and Secretary Michael McCoy will join Ann on the new committee, which will serve a two-year term.
On a local level, one of the great triumphs of the Forum over the past two years has been the dawning of a new era for bus commuters looking to use Our Lady of Lourdes Hospital.
After consultation with the Forum's transport group, Bus Éireann recently announced the revision of a number of bus routes meaning people don't have to cross the town to get a second bus to the hospital.
The forum recently also carried out a comprehensive age-friendly survey of the needs of older people in Louth.
'The Louth Older People's Forum has earned respect and trust because its constitution and services were designed by the members,' said Ann.
'The Forum has led to person-centred services such as the Cultacha older people's advocacy service, the Nestling Project, the Parlour, Men's Sheds in Dundalk, Drogheda and Cooley and Good Morning Call Services in Dundalk and Drogheda.
'We have also established a GAA social initiative, a volunteer day centre, care and repair programmes, befriending services and much more.'