Meeting our Age Champion MPs

Age UK campaigner Joan Manning receives a bunch of flowers from the Speaker of the House of Commons.

Today’s blog is about Age UK’s recent parliamentary reception to celebrate the commitment of our Age Champion MPs. Pictured is Age UK campaigner Joan, receiving flowers from the Speaker of the House of Commons in thanks for her speech.

On Monday 6th July, Age UK were delighted to host a Reception in the Speaker’s House with a number of our dedicated older campaigners and Parliamentarians. The event was an opportunity for MPs to speak with older people and representatives from Age UK about the issues affecting people in later life, and what the government and communities can do today and tomorrow to make the UK and their constituencies a better place to grow older.

Age UK campaigner Joan Manning gave a moving speech about her personal experience caring for her husband. She explained:

‘I have been lucky. My husband Geoffrey was a very gracious and accommodating patient. He was not aggressive. He was funny and made jokes until the day he died. I was lucky: He did not die of Alzheimer’s.  He was ‘saved’ by his cancer. Geoffrey was eventually assessed as being unwell enough to qualify for care. Unable to get out of bed, stand or communicate, with diffuse cancer and in the depths of dementia.  This was 3 days before he died. Yes – I was lucky.’


Age Champions

The reception was also an opportunity for us to talk about what it means to be an ‘Age Champion’; a pledge that over 80 MPs signed up to during our General Election campaign. By signing up to be an Age Champion, MPs will work with Age UK on issues being faced by many people in later life including:

– The need to end the crisis in social care, with over 1 million older people who have difficulty with basic tasks such as getting out of bed, washing, and dressing receive no help or support.

– The urgent need for better housing and warm homes in winter. In 2012 there were over 600,000 older households living in fuel poverty.

– Loneliness and isolation, with around 1 million older people regularly going an entire month without speaking to anyone

The event was a huge success and a fantastic opportunity for us and our campaigners to meet our Age Champions and discuss our ambitions for later life.

For more information about our work with parliamentarians head to our Politics and Government website pages. You can also follow our public affairs and campaigning work, and see photos from the reception, on Twitter: @ageukcampaigns.

Pledge to tackle winter deaths

This week saw the launch of Age UK’s Spread the Warmth Winter Pledge. We  are campaigning for MPs to use their influence to make sure older people have the local support they need during the winter months. An estimated 4.8 million older people live in fuel poverty, where they spend more than 10% of their income on their fuel bills. With rising fuel prices, there is considerable concern that older people will struggle to keep their homes warm this winter.

Age UK is asking MPs to sign up to our pledge to reduce winter deaths, demonstrating their commitment to the reduction of fuel poverty within their community.

By signing this pledge MPs will be committing to:

  1. Raise awareness of the dangers to health of cold weather and cold homes.
  2. Work with their local Age UK to tackle the local priorities for older people.
  3. Challenge energy providers to produce simple tariffs to make it easier for  people to lower their bills.
  4. Promote preventative measures that older people can take before a cold  spell.
  5. Encourage all sectors of the local community to make tacking winter deaths a priority.
  6. To ensure that all my constituents are prepared for winter.

We hope that by encouraging MPs to take local action, we will make sure that older people all over England have the support they need to stay warm and well this winter.

Ask your MP to sign up to our Winter Pledge

Find out more about our Spread the Warmth campaign