Pictured at Slane Castle last Thursday, for the inaugural Age Friendly Ambassadors’ Day, were Age Friendly Ireland ambassadors (L-R) Francis Brennan, Irish television personality and former hotelier, and Rachel Duffy, 2022 Rose of Tralee Winner. Photo: Barry Cronin.

Westmeath's former Rose of Tralee is an ambassador for positive ageing

The 2022 Rose of Tralee, Rachel Duffy, recently joined other prominent figures, such as former hotelier Francis Brennan, actress Geraldine Plunkett and ex-Meath manager Sean Boylan, in becoming an Age Friendly Ireland ambassador.

Rosemount woman Rachel joined 30 other ambassadors in taking on these honorary positions to promote age-friendly practices within their local authority areas.

The ambassadors gathered at Slane Castle last Thursday for the inaugural Age Friendly Ambassadors’ Day, an annual awareness initiative launched by Age Friendly Ireland to champion positive ageing.

Representing a younger perspective on ageism, Rachel said: "There is a huge taboo regarding women ageing.

"The notion of 'never ask a woman her age' creates negative stereotypes around ageing and growing old.

"Because of stereotypes like this, there are so many industries profiting off the general population's fear of growing old with miracle treatments or cures to slow down ageing," she said.

The Age Friendly Ambassadors' Day is this year themed Ageism Awareness, referring to the stereotypes, prejudice and discrimination directed towards people based on their age.

The 31 ambassadors highlighted how older individuals — there are 806,300 people aged 65 and over in Ireland — are redefining ageing.

They noted that older people are more active and engaged than previous generations, with significant shifts in societal attitudes towards health, exercise, and socialisation.

However, they also addressed persistent stereotypes about ageing, which affect both young and old. Terms like "teenage delinquents" and "grumpy old men" continue to perpetuate age-related biases, said attendees at the event in Slane.

The list of Age Friendly Ireland ambassadors also includes singer Moya Brennan, Offaly GAA chairman Michael Duignan, Roscommon GAA superfan Paddy Joe Burke and county music star Declan Nerney.