The next Welsh Assembly Government must tackle age discrimination by making public authorities –such as the NHS and social services, assess the impact their policies have on older people.
That’s the call from Age Cymru today (4 May) as we unveil the last of six election challenges that older voters have told us they want acted on by the next Cardiff Bay administration.
Age Cymru’s Director of Influencing and Programme Development Victoria Lloyd says:
“Age discrimination is the most common form of discrimination in the UK today.
“Age-related discrimination in areas such as financial services, employment, health and social care can only be fully removed if we challenge the various attitudinal, institutional and environmental barriers facing older people within society.
“We need to achieve a cultural shift in the way policies and services are developed if we are to meet the needs of an ageing population and ensure that people are not met with isolation and inequality in later life.”
Based on what older people have told the charity, we are calling for:
• The Welsh Assembly Government to develop an integrated policy framework for age equality in Wales;
• A joined-up approach to tackling age discrimination using the Equality Act 2010, the Government of Wales Act 2006, the Strategy for Older People in Wales and the National Service Framework for Older People’s ‘Rooting out age discrimination’ standard;
• All public bodies in Wales to be obliged to assess the impact on older people of the way they provide their services e.g. the effect of breast and cervical cancer screening not being automatically offered to women over a certain age;
• All public bodies in Wales to involve older people as they develop policies for providing services for older people;
Victoria Lloyd concludes:
“Older people are rejecting the stereotype of later life as a period of decline and dependency, and are insisting on more choice, dignity and respect when accessing services.
“Older voters are a major influence on the outcome of elections and this year, 75 per cent of constituencies in Wales can expect to see more than half of the vote cast by people aged 55 or over.
“Making sure that older people are treated with dignity and respect by tackling age discrimination must be a priority for the next Welsh Assembly Government.”