Who are the older digitally excluded?

This blog was contributed by David Mortimer, Head of Digital Inclusion, at Age Age UK.

For many years, local and national organisations have been working to support individuals learn how to use computers. Despite many good initiatives and easier to use technology, new approaches are needed to reach and support those at risk of being increasingly cut off from the public and commercial service offers which assume both access and the skills to use their products.

That this remains primarily an older person’s issue is no surprise, but most older people have joined the digital age and many are competent. Those who have been left out, or have chosen to be left out, are not a homogenous group with one catch-all solution.440x210-two-men-laughing-computer

The traditional approach of marketing the benefits of being online has a role, but will continue to miss the mark for the majority of ‘digitally excluded’ older people. With so many simply not seeing any relevance of engaging with technology to them, the benefits should be seamed through everyday interventions and social activities so that older people can make choices based on a better knowledge of how this technology can enhance their unique combination of interests and circumstances. Continue reading “Who are the older digitally excluded?”

Age Action Alliance celebrates its 2nd anniversary

Age Action Alliance logo

 

 

 

Two years ago today, on 30 September, the Age Action Alliance was launched. Just over 100 cross-sector organisations and older people joined together with a shared commitment to promote collaborative working and provide practical solutions to improve older people’s lives.

With the support of Age UK and the Department for Work and Pensions – providing joint secretariat to get the network going – and input from Alliance members and supporters, the network has now grown to an impressive 439 members!  Continue reading “Age Action Alliance celebrates its 2nd anniversary”

The importance of libraries in rural areas

This blog was contributed by Alan Wylie on behalf of Voices for the Library

Joan_reading_WEBLibraries are seen by many as a lifeline and a crucial public service, especially if you are elderly, socially isolated, poor, vulnerable, or all of the above.

In rural areas, the local library, along with the village hall, pub and shop, is the focal point of community life. It’s a safe, trusted place for meeting friends and neighbours, a place for learning, information and leisure and sometimes just a place to keep warm.

If a community is unfortunate enough not to have a static library, then mobile/housebound services fill the gap, helping those that are most isolated.

Let’s look at the data:

Continue reading “The importance of libraries in rural areas”

Rural living – a challenge for many of England’s older people

This blog was contributed by Alice Woudhuysen, Senior Campaigner at Age UK.

It’s a well-known fact that we live in a rapidly ageing society, to the extent that by 2083, about one in three people in the UK will be over 60 (ONS 2009).

Rural image 1This is, of course, a significant advancement and cause for celebration: longer lives represent progress and older people are big contributors to society.

Perhaps less well known is the fact that rural communities are ageing faster than their urban counterparts, with the number of people aged 85+ set to increase by 186 per cent by 2028 in rural areas, compared with just 149 per cent in the UK as a whole (Oxford Consultants for Social Inclusion, for Cabinet Office, 2009). This is down to rising life expectancy, the outward migration of younger people to cities and the inward migration of people entering middle age to the countryside. Continue reading “Rural living – a challenge for many of England’s older people”

More cities sign up as Age Friendly Cities

This blog was contributed by Emily Georghiou, Age UK’s Public Affairs Adviser – Age Action. 

I recently had the privilege to attend the 2013 signing of the Dublin Declaration on Age Friendly Cities and Communities on behalf of Age UK. Over 40 mayors and representatives were present from over 60 cities and municipalities across Europe, all committed to making their localities great places to grow old.

photoThe Dublin Declaration was originally signed in 2011, during the 1st International Conference on Age Friendly Cities.

Building on this and timed to coincide with the Irish Presidency and EU Summit on Active and Healthy Ageing, the Dublin Declaration 2013 includes a new EU pledge to uphold a set of principles to measure, benchmark and drive future development of age friendly cities. Continue reading “More cities sign up as Age Friendly Cities”

Celebrating volunteering

Last week I attended the Queen’s Volunteering Award Event with Age UK volunteer, John McArthur, to celebrate the huge contribution that our 70,000 volunteers add to our work across the Age UK network. We know that like many voluntary and charity organisations, a significant proportion of the support we provide would simply not be available without these individuals. In the current climate, their support is even more vital.

440x210_woman_and_carer_laughingWe’re experiencing unprecedented cuts. NCVO estimates the voluntary sector is set to lose £3bn over the next five years with cuts to volunteering the most commonly reported theme by organisation. The belief that volunteering is free and will ‘fill the gap’ makes the situation even harder.

For those of us in the ageing sector, the challenge comes at a time when we need action more than ever before, with the number of people aged 65 and over expected to rise by 65% in the next 25 years, and the number of over 85s predicted to double. Ensuring we are able to enjoy the opportunities this presents will mean tackling significant challenges: providing decent and sustainable income in retirement, addressing inequalities in ageing, delivering dignity for older people, reforming social care and tackling isolation and loneliness. This means we need to ask ourselves not just how to strengthen volunteering in this difficult environment, but also how it can be used to help us meet the challenges of an ageing population. Continue reading “Celebrating volunteering”

The impact of bus cuts on older people in rural areas

We have heard a lot lately from various politicians about the need to examine the universal benefits received by older people and in particular the concessionary bus pass. It seems that in the age of austerity, even something that has been so successful and proved so popular, is subject to review.

But it is not just the threat from government to withdraw the bus pass from all bus cutsbut the poorest, there is also the threat to bus funding from the imminent spending review. Cuts to bus services will hit the poorest and most vulnerable the hardest.

Older and disabled people have hugely benefited from free bus travel and often rely on public transport to do their shopping, get to their GP and hospital appointments and visit friends. Continue reading “The impact of bus cuts on older people in rural areas”