2013 promises to be another busy year for Age Cymru with a full agenda of issues and activities.
Our Spread the Warmth campaign will continue into the New Year as we work to help older people stay safe and warm through the winter months and reduce the number of preventable winter deaths among people in later life.
The campaign will culminate in the Age Cymru Spread the Warmth Awards and fundraising Gala Dinner on 8 February 2013.
2013 will bring new challenges for older people in Wales particularly in the form of changes to benefit entitlements.
Age Cymru and our local partners are increasingly concerned about the lack of awareness among older people in Wales at the potential impact that a range of changes will have on their incomes.
Changes to tax credits, Housing Benefit and Disability Living Allowance will all affect people in their 50s and 60s, up to state pension age, and we are particularly concerned about the impact of the introduction of Universal Credit for a number of groups of older people.
Pensioners who have a partner who is under the Pension Credit qualifying age will not be entitled to make new Pension Credit claims following the introduction of Universal Credit.
This will have a significant impact on those couples, who could end up £100 per week worse off than they would be under the current system.
People in all of these groups will need good quality impartial information and advice.
Age Cymru works with Age UK to deliver Age UK Advice and we would urge anybody that is worried about their entitlement to contact Age UK Advice on 0800 169 6565.
We hope that 2013 will also bring some opportunities too.
We are also looking forward to some significant activity at the National Assembly as the Welsh Government publishes the new Social Care and Wellbeing Bill early in the New Year and the new Strategy for Older People is developed.
We hope that the messages of our Rule Out Abuse campaign to
• Keep older people safe
• Respect older people’s choices and
• Treat older people with dignity and respect will be translated into clear Government policy and action in both of these crucial documents.
We will continue to press for improved access to advocacy for older people.
Independent advocacy supports people in vulnerable situations to make their wishes heard and to help them make informed choices.
Advocacy is a vital service particularly for people who have been abused.
2013 is promising to be another busy year where Age Cymru will continue to work to make a real difference to the lives of older people in Wales.
Director of Influencing and Programme – Age Cymru