Published on 15 April 2011 10:00 AM
Wales needs services that support older people to have a voice on issues that matter to them.
Age Cymru is today unveiling the fourth of six challenges that older people have told it the next Assembly Government must tackle.
The charity is highlighting the current postcode lottery in ‘advocacy services’.
Advocacy services support older people to express their wishes and make their voices heard when important decisions are being made that will affect them.
Age Cymru’s Director of Influencing and Programme Development Victoria Lloyd explains:
“Advocacy services are essential to ensure that every older person has a voice and the support they need to speak up for themselves.
“Yet, research carried out by Age Cymru into the availability of advocacy services for older people in Wales found that there was only one paid advocate per 17,000 older people in Wales.
“It is vital that people can access an independent advocate when and where they need one, yet the availability of advocacy services varies significantly across Wales.
“Without a properly funded advocacy service in Wales, potentially vulnerable older people can be left unprotected from the threat of abuse and discrimination.”
Based on what older people have told it, Age Cymru is calling for:
- A statutory right for all older people who are at risk of abuse to have access to independent advocacy services;
- A long-term funding commitment from the next Welsh Assembly Government for advocacy services;
- Older people in care homes must have access to independent advocacy services;
- The Care and Social Services Inspectorate Wales to monitor availability of advocacy services for older people in care homes;
Victoria Lloyd concludes:
“Older voters are a major influence on the outcome of elections and this year, in 75 per cent of constituencies in Wales we expect to see more than half of the vote cast by people aged 55 or over.
“Making sure that older people have access to independent advocacy services must be a priority for the next Welsh Assembly Government.”