Strong Welsh communities seem to be providing significant support to people as they grow older in Wales, according to the findings of a new poll undertaken by the Older People’s Commissioner for Wales.

Two-thirds of respondents aged 60+ said that a “strong sense of community” was the best thing about growing older in Wales, highlighting the crucial role our friends and neighbours, as well as the amenities in our communities, often play in supporting our health and well-being, and enabling us to age well. 

Ensuring communities in Wales are age-friendly – where things like good transport, outdoor seating and public toilets are in place – is therefore crucial to ensure we can remain connected to our communities, the opportunities they provide and the support they can offer, as we get older. 

The Commissioner is working with local authorities to support the development and implementation of age-friendly plans, which will deliver a wide range of action and initiatives to enable people to age well throughout Wales.

Discussing her poll findings, Older People’s Commissioner for Wales, Heléna Herklots CBE, said: “Wales is well-known for its strong community spirit, where friends and neighbours look out for and support one another, something we saw a great deal during the pandemic.

“So it’s really positive that communities still seem to be so valued by older people for the opportunities they offer and the support they provide, and that they also seem to be playing a role in helping to people to have positive experiences as they grow older. 

“By making our communities more age-friendly – through putting in place the right support, infrastructure and services, guided by older people’s voices – we can help ensure that people can remain connected to their friends and neighbours, get out and about, and do the things that matter to them – all vital in terms of supporting our mental and physical health. 

“This will also help to ensure that there are opportunities for older people who want to be involved in and contribute to their communities, through things like volunteering, which is worth hundreds of millions of pounds a year to the Welsh economy.

“Around a third of people aged 65+ in Wales are already volunteers, doing so much for so many people in so many different ways, and with the right age-friendly initiatives in place, even more older people could be enabled and inspired to volunteer. 

“That’s why I’m continuing to work with and support local authorities throughout Wales as they put their age-friendly plans into action and deliver new projects and initiatives to support people to age well.”