Age Friendly Economy News and Views – Issue 4

Aug 12, 2019

The fourth issue of our Age Friendly Economy News and Views is now online.

As we reach the end of the two-year Erasmus+ project, check out our updates regarding the three interconnected training programmes that will transform your business capacity in digital skills, helping you to respond to the needs of the silver economy market, the events organised by the project partners, as well as an overview of the Age Friendly Economy platform.

Download issue 4: Ezine 4 (212 downloads)

European Economy Explained – The ageing population

Aug 12, 2019

As Europeans live longer and have fewer children, the proportion of elderly citizens will increase while the proportion of working-age citizens will fall. This demographic evolution video created by the European Commission presents a challenge to our societies and our public finances that we need to prepare for.

The Complete Guide to Digital Skills for SMEs

Aug 12, 2019

In a world that is increasingly reliant on technology, it has become necessary to possess skills that help individuals, as well as companies easily adapt to new platforms, new gadgets and new behaviours relating to the tech world.

This is why, as part of the open education resources developed within the Age Friendly Economy project, we have created a course package that will help to equip SMEs – more specifically those who have an interest in creating products for the older generation – with a practical set of Digital Tools which will help them to grow their online sales and expand their market reach. This subject is addressed in an in-depth online course here.

Effective marketing starts with communication, internal communication as well as how you communicate your “brand” to your audience. It is important to have an easy and effective way to digitally communicate with your team, no matter how big or small. Follow our short guides to some of the top tools for communication and take the first steps to become an expert! The Digital Communication Tools for SMEs course will help you do just that.

Big Data can be an intimidating subject and it is certainly difficult to find learning resources that are well structured and accessible. The Data Management for SMEs course accomplishes precisely that. This course will help equip SMEs with some new insights into Data Management and the role of data with regard to growing their Age Friendly businesses.

Age Friendly Economy Multiplier Event Louth

Jul 25, 2019

Geraldine Johnston (Boyne Communications) speaks about the economic value of the Silver Economy.

Sarah Mallon (LEO Louth) talks about the Age Friendly Economy programme.

Damien Keenan (Elite Fence) and Megan Hughes (Dundalk Credit Union) discuss the Silver Economy Bootcamp.

Peter Mangan talk about The Freebird Club – a peer-to-peer social travel & homestay club for older adults.

Karen Coan (Netwell CASALA) talks during the Erasmus+ Age Friendly Economy Project Multiplier Event in Dundalk, Co. Louth, Ireland.

Rodd Bond (Louth Age Friendly Alliance) talks about making Co. Louth more age friendly.

Martin McElligott (Dundalk BIDS) talks about making Dundalk Town Centre more age friendly.

Mary Deery (Louth County Council) talks during the Erasmus+ Age Friendly Economy Project Multiplier Event.

The aging visitor population – baby boom generation impacts NI’s tourist sector

Jul 24, 2019

A global trend that will impact on all industries and nations is that of the aging population. An incredible growth of those over 60 years of age is estimated by the World Health Organisation to increase from 605 million to 2 billion between 2000 and 2050. That accounts for one in every four people in the UK who will be aged over 65 years by 2050.

Given those statistics, this presents many opportunities for NI’s tourism sector. Not only are medical advances and technology helping the population stay healthier for longer, social and financial drivers are enabling the baby boomer generation reaching retirement to make very different choices from the generations before them. The tourism industry has been particularly affected by this generation who have been demanding innovative products/services for decades – think backpacking, package holidays and more authentic travel experiences for those empty nesters! Having been there and done that, this generation are looking for the next unique experience to tick off their bucket list – the one that has not been done before. For tourism businesses, the ability to offer experiences which won’t limit the over 50’s physically could be set to benefit from their ability to spend well into the next decade and beyond. Tuning into this golden opportunity, there has been a rise in tourism companies who are focusing on marketing to the over 50-s who are estimated to be spending £17.6 billion per year on travel.

Today’s retirees have a desire to travel and seek adventure compared to the ‘Traditionalist’ generation (born before 1946) before them and are more financially able than their grandchildren (under 25’s) due to lack of spending power the under-25’s are exhibiting. Gig economy anyone…?

If predictions are correct, over the next 25 years this generation will be one of the largest market segments for the tourism industry. This generation however have multiple roles in life – think parent, grand-parent and possibly great grandparent. Taking this into consideration it could enlist the following trends for tourism experiences;

  • Travel experiences
  • Creature Comforts
  • Accessible tourism
  • Mobile revolutionaries
  • Visiting more friends and relatives

Is Northern Ireland benefitting? Yes! In 2012, NISRA logged record numbers across the 45-54 age range in domestic spenders who were taking overnight trips (35%). At the lower age range of the ‘big spender’ generation, those nearing retirement will continue to make an impact on the industry with their spending power which is set to continue well into retirement. The overseas market (aged 45-54 and 55-64) made up 1/3 of our tourism market.

How can our businesses benefit going forward? Segmentation! An aging population does not mean one size fits all. What a 50, 65 and 75 year old wants and more importantly needs, is a major factor to take into consideration when designing a product/service. Not only should age be considered, but also income, gender, education and health to name a few. There is always a risk factor if people are treated as a homogenous group, and that usually results in turning those who are the primary target off a product/service!

By focusing on elements such as unique travel experiences, this is something which can span across all segments for example. Given NI’s great reputation for visitor experiences, tying in with one of NI’s great local attractions is one idea which could be considered to strengthen offerings to visitor segments. Three key things to consider according to NITB – segment, collaborate, experience.

For more information, please visit

Doing housework will help you live longer, so the research says…

Jul 15, 2019

Exercise, every little helps! Researchers in Dementia are proving that light exercise is a positive step to keep the brain young. Guidelines being issued by the UK chief medical officer (which also mirrors existing US guidelines on the subject), are telling us to get moving even for just a minute or two at a time. Gone are the days where you have to break a sweat for 30 minutes a day before believing it was doing any good! This not only makes improving our health easier, it is more accessible and achievable for those who are less mobile, are too busy or are simply put off by going out in the rain – sunnier climates anyone..?

Something as simple as light housework can help us stave off shrinkage of the brain which has been identified as a contributing factor towards dementia. Researchers showed that normal aging contributes to 0.2% of brain shrinkage every year – who knew?

Taking into consideration demographic factors, researchers found that every extra hour of light physical activity per day was linked to 0.22% greater brain volume. That is equal to just over a year’s less brain ageing. Feather dusters at the ready…!

Given the encouraging news that each and every one of us are able to do something positive towards maintaining our brain health well into old age, more vigorous activity should not be discounted either. Just by committing to achieving 10,000 steps per day, a person can increase their percentage to a high of 0.35% compared to those who achieved less than 5,000 steps per day. That’s an equivalent of 1.75 years less brain aging. Research has also linked higher levels of fitness activity to longevity which allows for a better quality of life into old age.

In 2015 there were approximately 45 million people worldwide living with dementia costing around $818 billion. By 2040, England and Wales estimate 1.2 million people will be living with dementia – an increase of 57% from 2016. Between 2006/07 and 2015/16, in Northern Ireland the number of people on the dementia register rose from 9,550 to 13,617 which was an increase of 43%, with a diagnosis rate of 73% in 2016/17. Researchers have identified the importance of health and lifestyle behaviours throughout life and the link in developing dementia later in life. A lot of research is still being done on this topic and there are still a lot of unknowns about risk factors which impact on the development of dementia. However, the number of people living with dementia worldwide could decrease by 9 million worldwide by 2050 if an intervention that delayed dementia onset and progression by even a year were to occur.

Shocking statistics show that dementia is currently set to be the 21st century’s biggest killer. However, current studies are showing us that we can all take positive steps (10,000 anyone?) towards a better retirement and why we should consider wellness not only when we reach retirement, but in planning for our retirement.

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Go ON NI – let’s get Digital… Digital…

Jun 29, 2019

The Go ON NI programme has been running since 2012. Annually it reaches over 10,000 citizens across the province. The Dept. of Finance work in partnership with various agencies and fund, for example, the Go On programmes in 96 libraries across NI. They also work with Supporting Communities to deliver training to people within rural areas in venues such as church halls and Fold organisations. Business in the Community have been providing volunteers for trainer led digital training sessions run by Go ON NI, enabling participants to get plenty of support and 1-1 during each session. This effective training method has assisted participants to feel much more supported and comfortable to ask questions in sessions such as these rather than sessions run by HEI’s which can be more formal in nature. Not only are there digital skills training sessions happening throughout the province, every year more people are encouraged to get online through two activity filled ‘Get Online’ week’s held during April and October. There is still time to catch some of this year’s events taking place from 14th-18th October 2019. Visit their website for more information

As part of LCCC’s National Launch event for the Age Friendly Economy project on Friday 21.06.2019, Leslie Smyth, Digital Inclusion Communications Manager from Dept. of Finance, took the time to speak to us about the importance of digital skills in today’s world.  “As we are moving into a digital world and online services the Go ON NI programme within the Dept of Finance can provide assistance to get online for the first time. It can help improve confidence with digital skills to be able to interact with the digital world. We can provide advice, information and training resources for people, and in most circumstances we can provide training for free on most digital topics.” To get in contact with Leslie either by telephone or email, please contact – 07976385824 /

You can catch the team at this year’s Belfast Mela event being held on Sunday 25th August 2019 in Botanic Gardens, Belfast. They will also be attending the ‘Young at Hearts’ events for over 50’s who are close to retiring, looking to retire or in retirement. Pop along and say hello to Leslie – Silver Birch Hotel, Omagh on 25.09.2019 and again at Marine Hotel in Ballycastle on 23.10.2019. Both events are free to attend and will be running from 10am-3pm.

Age Friendly Bootcamp to take place in Louth on April 26th & 27th 2019

Apr 25, 2019

With people over 50 being the fastest growing section of the population, not to mention the highest-earning segment, the European Union estimates that the over 50s market will grow rapidly in the near future. The so-called “Silver Economy” is expected to be worth over €5 trillion annually by the year 2025. As a consequence, local businesses have an amazing opportunity on their hands if they decide to focus on this expanding segment.

Very fittingly, Louth – which is the first county in Ireland to achieve “Age Friendly” status – will host an interesting event on this very topic. Louth County Council and the Local Enterprise Office are building on this solid foundation and, as part of the Age Friendly Economy Erasmus+ Project, they are hosting an intensive, two-day Bootcamp on Friday 26th and Saturday 27th, 2019, at Creative Spark in Dundalk. The information-packed, two-day training will assist the business community and budding entrepreneurs to innovate, adapt their current services and look for new business opportunities to support Ireland’s older population.

The Age Friendly Economy in Ireland

Age Friendly Ireland tells us that the ageing Irish population offers opportunities for businesses to tap a growing marking valued at over €10 billion.

In Ireland, we know our population is ageing and we believe this represents a considerable demographic bounty for Irish businesses. Businesses who become more age friendly will be poised to attract and retain customers within this large, and expanding demographic.

With a spending power of €10 billion in Ireland it is crucial that business make necessary changes to attract this growing spend.

Check out Age Friendly Economy for more information and insights into this growing demographic and business opportunity.