Does your councillor deserve an award?

Sue Cooley
Sue Cooley from Manchester City Council, who won the Age UK Councillor Award in 2012

Do you know who your councillor is? Councillors are elected by all of us and can have a big impact on our community, but do we appreciate and acknowledge what they do?

Councillors really can have a huge impact on our communities. They are key players when coordinating people from the public, private, and voluntary sectors and they can provide a voice for those who would otherwise go unheard.

In recognition of this important role, Age UK is working with the Local Government and Information Unit (LGiU) to sponsor the Age UK Councillor Award as part of the 2013 C’llr Achievement Awards.

The Age UK award will be given to a councillor who has made a significant contribution to improving services or neighbourhoods in the area they represent, so as to benefit older people. It could be campaigning for better lighting, arranging more seating or increasing the number of public toilets.
Continue reading “Does your councillor deserve an award?”

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”

Equal marriage – the Government’s commitment to caring for LGBT people in later life

This blog was contributed by Antony Smith, Development Officer (Equalities and Human Rights) at Age UK.

We achieved another significant milestone for equality over the summer, when the Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Act completed its passage through Parliament and received Royal Assent. It means that, for the first time, every lesbian, gay and bisexual (LGB) person in this country will enjoy full equality in law.

It can be hard to express how much joy this historic step will bring to the older LGB members of our community in particular, given the isolation, exclusion and discrimination many of them have experienced throughout their lives – from imprisonment and incarceration to losing job, home and family – simply for being lesbian, gay or bisexual. And, of course, we must never forget that it is thanks to the older members of our community, the original campaigners for440x210_two_gay_men social justice, that the UK now enjoys the best legal human rights for lesbian, gay and bisexual (and transgender) people in Europe, according to the International Lesbian and Gay Association. Continue reading “Equal marriage – the Government’s commitment to caring for LGBT people in later life”

Meeting the challenges of an ageing population

Each year, Age UK stands back and takes an overview of how society is meeting the needs of people in later life and sets out our agenda for public policy in the year ahead. In our Agenda for Later Life 2013 report we track changes in a range of key areas including money matters, work and learning and health and social care.

A couple smile at each other in the garden.

Public attitudes, policies and the economy all impact on people’s experiences of ageing.  This year, as the economy bumps along the bottom, it would be all too easy to concentrate on the challenges we face. However, we strongly believe in the need to focus on the opportunities as well.

The publication of a White Paper setting out plans for a new single tier State Pension brings hope of better provision in future for those with low incomes and interrupted working lives. Continue reading “Meeting the challenges of an ageing population”

Older women and care: are they invisible to the sisterhood?

This blog is an edited version of an article appearing in the International Longevity Centre’s Compendium on Older Women, published for International Women’s Day. 

As women, we outlive men in nearly all parts of the world, outnumbering our male counterparts across the globe by 100 million. But though we live longer than men and are stronger in number, we are also likely to spend more years in poor health.

This is reflected in the gender profile of users of health and social care. Across OECD countries ¾ of long-term care users are women. Older women are therefore disproportionately affected by inadequacies of care and support.

Paradoxically, though, older women are also the main providers of care. photographer: Claudia JankeAcross OECD countries 2/3 of informal carers aged 50+ are female. In developing countries, in addition to informal care, a significant amount of the care older women provide is as a grandparent to children whose parents have migrated or have been killed by HIV/AIDS or conflict. Continue reading “Older women and care: are they invisible to the sisterhood?”

Guest blog: What burden of ageing?

This guest blog was contributed by Rob Greig, Chief Executive at the National Development Team for Inclusion (NDTi)

The area of government policy that has continually depressed me the most (and I’m talking successive governments here) is that around older people and ageing. What we at NDTi call the ‘demographic dialogue’ of public policy and the media creates a culture whereby older people are seen as a problem and a burden on society.

Read almost anything from government policy, think tanks or the national press and you will see older people being described negatively. They are ‘bed blockers’ in hospitals, creating a ‘financial precipice’ in public finances and the cause of a pension system crisis that means younger people will have to work longer. Older people are portrayed as being the cause of problems that government and society have to address.

I beg to differ.  There are 3 fundamental flaws in this perception of older citizens:

  • It sees older people as primarily passive recipients of services provided by the state or wider society, denying or even discouraging their capacity to continue to give to the communities around them.
  • The service and cost modelling is substantially based on an assumption that we will do the same in the future as we have done in the past – rather than explore more innovative options that could change the financial parameters
  • It conveniently appears to forget the contributions that people have made to society, through their work, taxes, caring and creativity. Is it too old-fashioned to still think that society may have some obligation in the form of ‘pay-back’ time that should argue against using the language of burden?

I will put the third point to one side as it is primarily influenced by values and opinions and instead focus on the first two – and tell you about Ted.

Continue reading “Guest blog: What burden of ageing?”

Prepare for the flood

North Wales has become the latest area of the country to suffer severe floods; about 500 homes were hit by floodwaters in St Asaph when the river Elwy burst its banks, breaking through defences and turning streets into rivers. Tragically a 91 year old woman died as a result.

It is three years since Cockermouth experienced devastating floods and two years since Cornwall was hit. Once again this year the South West has been adversely affected by unseasonal rainfall causing rivers to breach natural and man-made defences.

Of course Local Age UKs can help and were able to make a real difference in Cockermouth where flood support workers played their part during the evacuation. For older people, flooding can cause particular difficulties, preventing them from reaching essential services, such as hospitals, GP’s or just the local shops. And the problems do not end when the flood waters recede; many homes remain uninhabitable for months afterwards. Continue reading “Prepare for the flood”