Last week, Age UK launched its General Election campaign – Dignity in Older Age– which aims to tackle some of the key issues that millions of older people continue to face. Things like difficulties accessing the care and support they so desperately need, living in poverty and struggling to make ends meet, and facing a later life of loneliness.
On polling day the last blog from our General Election Series is a guest post from Age UK Sunderland. It charts their journey from the Age UK Rally in London to their local hustings in Sunderland.
For us here atAge UK Sunderland, the run up to the General Election has been hectic – we’ve been involved in national campaigns, and things a little closer to home, all with the aim of making sure whoever represents us in the next Parliament helps to make this a great place to grow older.
Our election journey really began on a chilly morning in late March, when I, and five older people, boarded the 6.45am train to London from Sunderland.
Age UK Rally
We spent the day at Age UK’s Rally – along with 250 older people – listening to representatives from the five main political parties and explaining how they would improve the lot of older people if they were successful on polling day.
It was a unique opportunity to get our points across – two of our contingent posed their questions to the speakers, whilst another spent her lunch break chatting with one of the speakers about the issues which are hitting older people hardest.
The sense of purpose in the room was palpable – the conversations didn’t stop over the breaks, and we gained as much from chatting with our fellow activists and peers, as we did from hearing from the speakers.
Local hustings event
We returned to Sunderland pleased to have been lucky enough to attend the rally and be directly involved- but for me, our day in London was only the beginning.
Two weeks later we held a local hustings event, which saw the five main parties’ candidates field questions from a more intimate group of 20 local people.
A whole range of issues were discussed: from universal benefits for older people, to the state of health and social care for those in later life.
BBC Look North sent a representative to ask the audience ‘is it worth voting at the Election?’ This sparked a debate about voter apathy and turnout, which was televised later along with a mock election.
Election debate in Gateshead
Following this media appearance, we’ve also sent members of our network to an election debate held in Gateshead just a week before the election.
There has been opportunity after opportunity for our members to get involved, from the events I’ve described to the campaign postcard which allows older people to write directly to their candidates for free.
As a result, it’s been a really rewarding campaign, with huge levels of involvement. It is obvious to me that the people of Sunderland are passionate about making our area, and the UK, a great place to grow older. Let’s hope the next Parliament feels the same.
This week’s blog from our General Election Series highlights the significant role older people play in society. Our ambition for the next Parliament is a world where everyone can participate in society and be valued for their contribution.
But it’s about far more than just the hard economic value – being able to take an active part in society can make a huge difference to the lives of older people themselves, their friends and relatives, and everyone else too.
This week’s blog from our General Election Series highlights the key policy commitments from the party’s manifestos that are relevant to older people. This post was contributed by Hannah Pearce, joint Head of Public Affairs, at Age UK.
I’m not sure what the collective noun is for a collection of manifestos but we were certainly hit by a flurry of thick wads of paper this week. The parties have finally pinned their colours to the mast and published their manifestos – which have been met with varying degrees of enthusiasm and cynicism. And we’re now in the last leg of what has felt like a long election campaign, with voting day less than 3 weeks away in what’s been termed the most unpredictable election in a generation.
Age UK wouldn’t dream of advising people about how to vote – indeed we’re rightly prohibited by charity and election law from doing so. However we are very keen to engage voters in the election and specifically to encourage people to question the parties and their local candidates about their plans to make this country ‘a great place to grow older’. A few months ago Age UK launched our own manifesto with a wide range of ideas and proposals explaining how this could be achieved. Continue reading “General Election Series: Vote later life in 2015”
This week’s blog from our General Election Series is a guest post from Mary, a campaigner from Norfolk, who came to our General Election Rally in London on Tuesday 24 March.
With the Care Act 2014 coming into force on the first of April, we spoke to Mary, from Norfolk, about how the issues of health and social care dominated Age UK General Election rally on 24 March.
‘Last week, thanks to the efforts of Age UK, and along with 250 other representatives of our older population, I was given the opportunity to both listen to and question senior politicians, including David Cameron, on their plans for older people’s services, should they be elected.
This week’s blog from our General Election Series examines how everyone in later life should have opportunities to enjoy life and feel well.
The dominant story on older people’s health is often rooted in the view that not feeling unwell is all you can expect as you age. Whatever happened to wanting to feel well?
This may only be a minor linguistic distinction, but it is an important one. This popular perception is partly reflective of how health and care services operate, typically geared to responding to crisis.
Assumption that older age = poor health
But there is also a general fatalism in what health and wellbeing in later life means to people. The likelihood of remaining active and living well into late old age is often underestimated, while the assumption that longer average life expectancy is automatically linked to being in poor health is overestimated. Continue reading “General Election Series: Feeling well”
This week’s blog from our General Election Series focuses on Age UK’s General Election Rally, which was held on Tuesday 24 March 2015.
Yesterday, Age UK held a General Election Rally event to give older people the opportunity hear from representatives from the five main political parties about their policies to make the UK ‘a great place to grow older’.