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Valuing and sustaining older peoples' day care services

02 January 2024
Volume 29 · Issue 1



Unprecedented ageing and growth of the global population of older people is predicted. Between independent and residential care, day care is an essential part of a population-based strategy to support ageing well in place.


To describe experiences of older people attending day care services.


Using the qualitative method, two focus groups were completed in 2018 in a region of Ireland with 12 participants. Interviews were audio-recorded and transcribed; grounded theory guided the subsequent analysis.


Older people valued their participation in day care, describing the ‘home from home’ experience positively. Community nurses from the local public health nursing service played a key role in fostering and sustaining participation.


National commitment to population-based age friendly environments is required to facilitate the wellbeing of a growing older demographic.

Globally, the population of adults aged 65 years and over has been projected to rise from 10% in 2022 to 16% in 2050 (United Nations, 2022). Predictions for the Republic of Ireland establish that by 2041 this cohort will have almost doubled, with a threefold increase in those aged 80 years and over (Health Service Executive, 2023).

The World Health Organization's (WHO) Global Network (GN) connects communities worldwide with the purpose of promoting healthy ageing (WHO, 2018) and Ireland is one of the member countries (WHO, 2020). Age Friendly Ireland (AFI), which is affiliated with the GN, is the national body responsible for the programme (AFI, 2014).

As the majority of older people wish to age in their homes, a priority for governments is to work towards enhancing the person-environment fit. The age-friendly approach maximises the physical and socio-economic environments by making responses that address the wider determinants (The King's Fund, 2018), promoting inclusion and quality of life (AFI, 2019).

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