Author Archives: Age UK

A relative in need brings home the importance of human rights

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To mark  Human Rights Day, Nicky Hawkins, Communications Director for Equally Ours – a campaign set up by eight national (including Age UK) charities to talk about the importance of human rights and how they benefit us all in everyday life, has contributed a guest post. 

It’s Human Rights Day today. Many reading this will wonder what this really means. Another day, another cause or issue to be championed or concerned about – why are human rights any different?

Despite working on human rights every day, it wasn’t until my mum had a spell in hospital that I felt like I had an answer to that question. She’s being cared for mainly at home now and her hospital stay was mercifully brief. But for me, hearing about her experience – from the trauma of a bad night to the relief of having someone sit with her and explain what was going on – brought home the vital importance of human rights for people who are reliant on others for their care.

Human rights mean there’s a system in place if something goes wrong. But, just as importantly, they provide reassurance to people who are vulnerable when they most need it. Jan, a disabled woman who used human rights laws says “it helped me to feel stronger because it told me it’s ok to want to be treated like a human being.” What could be more important when you’re frightened and alone? Continue reading

Lord Low wins Human Rights Campaign of the Year Award

Lord Low of Dalston, wins Liberty’s Human Rights Campaign of the Year Award

Lord Low of Dalston, wins Liberty’s Human Rights Campaign of the Year Award

Age UK is delighted that Lord Low of Dalston has won Liberty’s Human Rights Campaign of the Year Award. Lord Low received the award at a ceremony last night. “I was delighted to receive this award because it highlights our success in greatly extending the application of the Human Rights Act to social care situations. When we consider the extent of cruelty, abuse and neglect which we daily read about in our newspapers, this is a vitally important step forward.”

Age UK nominated Lord Low for the Award because he has championed human rights and the protection of disabled and vulnerable people for over four decades.   In May 2014, he led a campaign which extended greater human rights protection to hundreds of thousands of older and disabled people receiving care services as the landmark Care Bill, now the Care Act, took centre stage in the House of Lords.

The Bill aimed to change the law to protect adults at risk of abuse and neglect and is an important step forward in offering better protection to people receiving care services. It also provided an opportunity for Parliament to correct an anomaly which excluded some people receiving care from protection under the Human Rights Act 1998 (HRA).  A loophole in human rights law had emerged where coverage under the HRA for those receiving care services depended on what that service was, how it was funded and who arranged it. For many, human rights abuses could take place with no option for legal redress under the HRA. Continue reading

Guest blog – No Place like Home

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This week we have a guest blog from Ciaran Osborne, Policy and Research Manager, at Leonard Cheshire Disability

Feeling comfortable where we live is important to all of us.

Nobody wants to have a home they love turned into a prison because they can no longer get in the front door, or because they have to wash at the kitchen sink and use a commode in the living room because their only bathroom is upstairs.

But sadly, that’s exactly the position that too many of us are in. Today, at Leonard Cheshire Disability we have published a new report setting out the shocking scale of the housing crisis facing older and disabled people.

Our “No Place like Home” report reveals that up to 300,000 disabled people will spend Christmas trapped in exactly those circumstances. Continue reading

Prevention is better than cure

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This week’s blog is contributed by Léa Renoux, policy officer, at Age UK 

Today sees the launch of a new report on prevention and health promotion by The Richmond Group of Charities, a coalition of ten UK health charities including Age UK.

The report, What is preventing progress? was prompted by a seemingly common but worrying observation; that too many people are living with, and dying from, conditions that could have been prevented.

Nearly one in four deaths is potentially avoidable, which amounts to more than 100,000 deaths every year[i]. This is adding considerable pressure on an NHS which is already struggling to make ends meet – the rise in potentially preventable conditions is expected to increase NHS costs by £5 billion a year by 2018[ii].

For our group of charities, the answer is straightforward: prevention is better than cure.
Continue reading