Population ageing is significant in rural areas of Australia and is happening at a faster rate than in our metropolitan cities.
In the Ovens Murray area of north-east Victoria, the number of older people will double in the next decade. More than one in four people will be over 65 years of age and half of these people will live outside the urban centres of Wangaratta, Benalla and Wodonga. Adapting now to population ageing is crucial for rural communities to remain thriving places for families to live, learn, work and play.
In collaboration with Northeast Health Wangaratta, Age-Friendly Rural Communities seeks to make the vision of a society for all ages a reality. To achieve this, the initiative brings together all levels of government; academic, public and private sectors; community and volunteer groups; and, most importantly, older people.
Creating an age-friendly rural community is a journey, rather than a single destination. This journey begins with a shared vision of what an age-friendly region can be, and will generate the drive needed to develop the policies, interventions and programs to make the vision a reality.
The Age-Friendly Rural Communities initiative began in March 2017 and will build on the considerable work already undertaken over the past six years. The initiative is currently funded to March 2018, with plans to extend the work beyond this time and expand the planning area to include Goulburn.
If you’d like to know more about this work in the Ovens Murray area of north-east Victoria, please contact: Stephen Carroll , Senior Program Advisor or Dr Kathleen Brasher, Principal Project Lead or visit the WHO Global Network for Age-friendly Cities and Communities for more information on how a growing number of cities and communities worldwide are striving to better meet the needs of their older residents.Submit your story!