Age Friendly South Lakeland

Age-friendly communities are a concept developed by the World Health Organisation. These places make it possible for people to continue to stay in their homes, participate in the activities that they enjoy, and contribute to their communities, for as long as possible.

We are all living longer. By 2040, and for the first time in history, more than 40% of people in the UK will be aged 50 and over. However, we are not ageing evenly across the country.

Cumbria is defined as having a ‘super-ageing’ population. This means that there is an increase in the number of people in the older age groups, and a decrease in the number in the younger age groups. Over 28% of the South Lakeland population is aged over 65.

As we grow older, our health needs become more complex with physical and mental health needs impacting on each other.

There are inequalities among older people in terms of deprivation and health outcomes, life expectancy and general health, and it is often the poorest older adults who suffer the greatest disadvantage.
Some residents are also extremely isolated, which presents additional challenges, particularly with access to services.

Healthy ageing is a concept promoted by the World Health Organisation that considers the ability of people of all ages to live a healthy, safe, and socially inclusive lifestyle.

The WHO has set out an “Age Friendly Communities” framework based around eight domains:
• the built environment
• transport
• housing
• social participation
• respect and social inclusion
• civic participation and employment
• communication and information; and
• community support and health services

In Age Friendly communities, older residents help to shape the place that they live. This involves local groups, councils, businesses, and residents all working together to identify and make changes in both the physical and social environments.

Age Friendly South Lakeland was established in 2021 thanks to funding from an anonymous donor via Cumbria Community Foundation and the NHS Morecambe Bay Population Health Fund with support from the Centre for Ageing Better. A steering group oversees the work and includes representation from Active Cumbria, Age UK South Lakeland, Carer Support South Lakes, Community Catalysts, Kendal ICC, Morecambe Bay CCG, South Lakes Dementia Community and Westmorland & Furness Council.

The Age Friendly South Lakeland survey, based on WHO’s 8 domains, aimed to gather as many views of older people as possible to help build a picture of what is happening within the local community and find out what residents think can be done to make South Lakeland a better place to live and age. The survey was completed by almost 600 individuals and the subsequent report puts forward some key recommendations for the future of an Age Friendly South Lakeland.

The results of the survey are feeding into the Age Friendly South Lakeland Action Plan, which will outline work that will be undertaken to ensure that the vision for the Age Friendly South Lakeland community comes to fruition.

There are over 65 Age Friendly Communities in the UK and South Lakeland was the first in Cumbria. For more information on Age Friendly South Lakeland please contact Katie Gatt via or 07546 985705.