As towns across the county prepare to reopen, the Cork County Older People’s Council is asking communities and businesses to be alert to the needs of older people.
Project ACT, Cork County Council’s initiative to help activate the county’s towns during the Covid-19 crisis, has put support for the older population at the centre of its roll-out plans.
Each Town Team is to consider the Council’s new CARE guidelines, which have been prepared through consultation with the Cork County Older People’s Council, in any decision made to ensure all members of society are treated equally with equal access to services.
The CARE guidelines, which have been drafted as part of the Cork Age-Friendly County Programme, asks people to: Consider older and vulnerable people’s needs as they rejoin communities after weeks of cocooning; assist older and vulnerable people by respecting age-friendly parking spaces and accessible parking spaces for people with disabilities; respect physical distancing for older and vulnerable people and give them space on streets, parks and walkways; and empathise with older and vulnerable people and understand that they may feel especially anxious..
Chairperson of the Cork County Older People’s Council, Liz Maddox, said that cocooning elderly people are “as eager as anybody” to get back into their towns after weeks of isolation but that there will be a “natural anxiety” amongst them.
“What we are asking is that people be considerate, assist where they can, respect social distancing and empathise with those who feel vulnerable,” she said.
Details are currently being finalised in 23 towns for the temporary redistribution of road space for motorists and pedestrians, usage of outdoor space, the need for temporary pedestrianisation measures, street furniture, repainting of pedestrian crossings, and parking management.
Chief Executive of Cork County Council, Tim Lucey, said that “everyone should feel as safe as possible” upon the reopening of towns and that people “have to be conscious of all those who will use them”.
“We have all rallied to support older people since the start of this crisis, and I am very confident that people will embrace the spirit of the CARE guidelines as normal activity returns in the weeks and months ahead,” he said.
Mayor of the County of Cork, Cllr Ian Doyle highlighted how the CARE guidelines will see “such valued members” of society “enjoy the very best quality of life”.
“Following weeks of cocooning it is vital to ensure that when our older population venture into our towns, they feel supported and safe in doing so.”