Cheshire West and Chester is taking steps to become a better place to grow older in.
The borough has signed up to a worldwide network of communities committed to becoming better places for people of all ages to spend their advancing years.
The World Health Organisation (WHO) has confirmed Cheshire West and Chester as a member of the WHO Global Network for Age-Friendly Cities and Communities.
The network promotes age-friendliness around the globe and has 600 members across 38 countries worldwide, representing over 190m people.
The borough has also become a member of the UK Network of Age-Friendly Communities, a network committed to promoting healthy and active ageing and creating attractive places to live across the UK.
Council leader Samantha Dixon (Lab) said: “Ensuring that older people and adults requiring additional support are able to lead fulfilled and independent lives is a council priority.
“The age-friendly movement provides a positive focus for working together with older people to develop an age-friendly culture.
“We want to unite people across the borough with a common aim, creating a borough that is more compassionate and inclusive for people of all ages.
“I would encourage all our residents to get involved to help make our borough more age-friendly and inclusive for everyone.”
Across the borough the number of over 65s is expected to increase to more than 100,000 by 2035, a rise of more than 45%. The number of people aged over 85 will more than double to almost 20,000.
Many people are said to be living with complex health conditions with over 1.2m chronically lonely older people across the country.
The aim of the initiative is to ensure living longer is matched by living more fulfilling lives and staying connected to the community.
It is explained the approach to becoming age-friendly is being developed with residents and communities. Participating organisations include Cheshire West and Chester Council, the Older Peoples Network, Brightlife, Brightlife’s Older People’s Alliance, the Alzheimer’s Society, NHS West Cheshire and Vale Royal Clinical Commissioning Groups, Age UK Cheshire, the University of Chester and Centre for Ageing and Mental Health, Cheshire Community Action and the Dementia Action Alliance.
Dr Jonathan Griffiths, deputy chairman of the health and wellbeing board, said: “Taking a positive approach to ageing is so important. As an ageing society there are implications for us all in terms of workforce, education, housing, health and care.
“The health and wellbeing board is pleased to have been recognised by the World Health Organisation for the work we are doing together to embrace these issues and make Cheshire West and Chester a better place to grow older.”
Cllr Louise Gittins (Lab), cabinet member for communities and wellbeing, commented: “Becoming part of the global and UK networks is supported by the council’s health and wellbeing board and supports our aim to improve everyone’s quality of life.
“The networks are an opportunity to work together to change attitudes and value the unique contribution everyone has to make regardless of age.”
Residents wishing to play their part in making their local community and the borough a good place to grow older and to become part of the ‘Age Friendly West Cheshire Network’ can get in touch through InclusiveCommunities@cheshirewestandchester.gov.uk.
Anna Dixon, chief executive of the Centre for Ageing Better, which leads the network in the UK, said: “Communities must be inclusive of people of all ages and abilities. We’re delighted Cheshire West and Chester has joined a growing movement of communities working to ensure everyone has an enjoyable later life.”