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International Older People’s Day

September 30, 2013

The 1st of October is already an important day in my calendar and I want it to be in yours too. International Older People’s Day gives us all a chance to celebrate the valuable contribution older people have made to our city – and continue to make; in families, in workplaces and time given to communit groups.

This year’s theme, from Newcastle Elders’ Council, is ‘Deeds not Words’ – providing a great way for people, across the generations and different parts of the city, to come together, have fun, chat and learn from each other’s stories.

We all have plenty in common you know; maybe a love of sport, the soaps or just who’s moved in at number 9! As chair of the Newcastle Age-Friendly Group I would like to see neighbours getting to know each other better by meeting up, sharing a coffee, walking in the park or perhaps even going to the cinema together as part of International Older Peoples’ Day.

Newcastle has an aging population, like much of the UK, with people living longer and healthier lives than ever before. 23% of the UK will be aged 65 and over by 2035. By that time, the number of Newcastle residents aged over 90 will have more than doubled.

The City Council has a big responsibility to make sure that older people don’t find themselves excluded or even worse isolated from their communities. We can achieve this by working with families and organisations to create a genuine age-friendly city that can respond to this change in population, despite huge reductions in ours and our partner’s budgets.

We know it won’t be easy but we are determined to work co-operatively with local people to maintain the best of local services, with older residents in mind, and by making sure that residents have a voice at the heart of decision-making.

Old age is in everybody’s future, so please, make October 1 the day you start your conversation about the future of your community. I know that many local people will be making the most of International Older People’s Day and the Elders’ Council would love you to send them photographs of the day.

A free event aimed at introducing older residents to the latest technology is taking place at Newcastle Civic Centre tomorrow.

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