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”
Age UK is today launching our campaign ahead of the General Election, asking parliamentary candidates from all parties to become ‘Age Champions’ and political parties to support our vision that by the end of the next Parliament the UK is a truly great place to grow older.
Acting on the campaign’s calls would make a difference to the lives of millions of older people up and down the country. 1.6 million older people are still living in poverty, despite Britain being the 6th richest country in the world. 1 million older people haven’t spoken to anyone for a month, resulting in loneliness and isolation which is not only miserable, but has serious consequences for a person’s health too.
There are 870,000 people in our country who do not receive the care and support they so badly need. 25,000 older people die unnecessarily each year because of the cold during winter. 44% of older people miss out on the benefits of being online, which can exclude them from vital services. So while we know that we all have the potential to make the UK a great place to grow older, there’s a long way to go yet. Continue reading “General Election Series: Making Britain a great place to grow older”
This week we have a blog from Caroline Abrahams, Age UK’s Charity Director.
It’s not every day that three Government Ministers come to our offices but that’s what happened earlier this week.
On Tuesday we were delighted to be able to offer around sixty older people the opportunity to talk to the Prime Minister, David Cameron, the Secretary of State for Work & Pensions, Iain Duncan Smith and the Pensions Minister, Steve Webb.
The event coincided with the publication of the Government’s Taxation of Pensions Bill, which will put into law the huge shake up of the pension system announced by the Chancellor in the Budget earlier this year.
A round table of ‘older’ Age UK staff also had the opportunity to discuss the pension reforms and other big issues for them with the Prime Minister before he joined the larger group of older people, Iain Duncan Smith and Steve Webb, where he briefly outlined the pension changes to come.
In a surprise announcement at the start of 2014 David Cameron, the Prime Minister, said that maintaining the ‘triple lock’ for the basic state pension will be a key part of the Conservative’s next election manifesto. This would mean that, at least until 2020, the basic state pension would be increased annually by the rise in prices, earnings or 2.5 per cent – whichever is higher. In response the Labour leader Ed Miliband has also said he is committed to the triple lock.
Reaction has been variable. Some newspapers immediately suggested this would affect other benefits such as the winter fuel payment – the Daily Mail’s headline was ‘Turmoil over OAP benefits’. The Independent welcomed the announcement but said it does not go far enough pointing out that the basic pension is still only £110 a week.