Dénia has experienced in recent years a considerable increase in the population over 65 years of age, which today represents 19,20% of the total number of registered inhabitants. In response to this reality, the municipal government has implemented policies in recent years "to promote more active aging and the participation of all people in municipal life, regardless of age", in the words of the mayor Vicent Grimalt, who today presented the last of these initiatives, the Action Plan "Dénia, friendly city with the elderly" 2022-2024 that will be approved in plenary next Thursday.
The preparation of this action plan and the diagnosis prior to its drafting must be framed in Dénia's adherence to the World Network of Age-Friendly Cities and Communities developed by the World Health Organization since 2010 and which already has more than 800 members distributed in 41 countries. Dénia approved its incorporation into the network in October 2020 unanimously by the Corporation.
Phase 1 of the accession process consists of the elaboration of an initial diagnosis that detects the strengths and weaknesses of the municipality in terms of its "friendliness" with the older population, counting on the opinion of the older people of the locality, who It will serve to prepare an Action Plan and some indicators that allow evaluating their actions.
The diagnosis of the situation of the elderly in Dénia has been made through a participatory process in which older residents of the city, associations, staff of the Santa Llúcia residence, research staff of the Equality Observatory of the UNED associated center have collaborated. Dénia and technical staff from different municipal areas.
Vicent Grimalt has underlined that two ideas emerge from this preliminary diagnosis: “that we are already a friendly city for the elderly, in which they feel respected, find a wide range of services and activities within their reach and in which their participation and policies aimed at improving their well-being are encouraged and, on the other hand, we have a pending issue in terms of urban design rest areas, accessibility and public transport , among other".
To respond to these demands, an action plan has been drawn up for the next three years, in whose development the departments will have to work transversally.
The Mayor's Councilor, Elisabet Cardona, has pointed out that the execution of the plan covers different areas of intervention "and constitutes an important challenge: social policies, urban planning and services they have to take a turn to support and enable older people to improve their daily life in the municipality, enjoy good health and continue to participate in society in a full and active way”.
In the area of open-air spaces and buildings, it has been observed that the greatest concern is the poor communication of these spaces, the state of the pavement through which they move, as well as the lack of furniture and infrastructure that allows them to be used correctly. and the necessary comfort so that they can serve as a social link in the city. To remedy these shortcomings, actions such as the creation of an action plan for rapid recognition and repair of the sidewalks of the municipality and problems of access to the buildings; provide outdoor spaces with furniture designed for rest and social interactions (benches in front of benches, tables, recreational tables for chess, cards, checkers, parcheesi..., petanque or bowling areas, etc.); the creation of a map of "safe and accessible walk" by districts to reach public places and link them to each other o Provide public restrooms in outdoor spaces with proper hygiene and maintenance.
Public transport in the municipality, according to the older population of Dénia, must improve given the insufficiency of resources in both interurban and intraurban transport. Likewise, the conditions in which the services are provided are often not entirely favorable to them. In this sense, they would like the means of transport to be adapted to their needs, the schedules to be met and the routes to be extended to be able to access other destinations, such as the residence. These demands are collected in specific actions of the plan.
The elderly population, regarding the housing area, considers that there are some aspects that could be improved and that the plan includes initiatives such as the creation of municipal subsidies for accessibility to homes inhabited by older people; la improvement of the facilities and resources of the Santa Llúcia municipal residence and that counts as a priority criterion in the allocation of places to be a resident in Dénia or to provide training aimed at the technical staff of the city council on new residential models for the elderly: supervised flats, residences with coexistence units, intergenerational apartments...
Regarding the respect and social inclusion of the elderly in the city of Dénia, the participants in the diagnosis show satisfaction and have pointed out some actions that would improve the situation, such as the creation of the Consell dels Majors, which will foreseeably be constituted next February, the carrying out of intergenerational activities for the exchange of experiences and knowledge between young and old and the promotion of activities between national and international residents.
If we approach the area of social participation, actions are proposed such as the creation of more places in Social Center courses, expand the information channels of the activities aimed at the elderly or the carrying out of activities for the elderly proposed and organized by them.
Employment and participation
In terms of employment and participation, it is proposed that municipal volunteer programs be developed in which older people are counted on and, specifically, the creation or Promotion of a volunteer system to accompany the elderly who live in situations of unwanted loneliness and/or have difficulty leaving their home.
To cover the demands in the communication and information section, actions are established such as the setting up of a specific information and face-to-face care point for older people of all nationalities or the creation of a section on the Denia City Council website specifically for the elderly, where they have all the information adapted to their needs (easy access, larger font size...).
Social services and health
Finally, in the area of social and health services, the action plan plans to create an information and care point, exclusively for the elderly, Spanish and foreign, related to bureaucratic and health procedures; acting as an intermediary with health centers to promote an improvement in the care of people: minimize the period of appointments, which are given in the short term, face-to-face, as well as enable continuous care of the patient and carry out training activities related to the health and well-being of the elderly, among others.