Support services for vulnerable older people in Wales are a postcode lottery in need of a long-term funding commitment from the Welsh Assembly Government.
That’s according to ‘Advocacy Counts 3’ - a report published today (16 March) by Age Cymru and the Older People’s Commissioner for Wales.
Age Cymru’s Elder Abuse Programme Manager, Louise Hughes, explains:
“Independent advocacy services make sure that older people who are vulnerable or dealing with challenging times have the support that they need.
“The last two years have seen a significant increase in the number of cases of financial abuse against older people being dealt with by advocates.
“Yet there are currently fewer advocacy services in Wales than there were in 2007 and there are still large areas of the country that do not have funded advocacy services for older people.
“Bringing an end to the postcode lottery in availability of these services for older people in Wales is essential, as is ensuring that advocacy services are properly funded.”
The report also highlights the importance of consistent training for the 22 organisations delivering advocacy services across Wales.
Ruth Marks, the Older People’s Commissioner for Wales, says:
“Advocacy services often work with some of the most vulnerable older people in Wales and play a critical role in improving older people’s lives, ensuring their rights, choices and interests are protected.
“Training in advocacy, Protection of Vulnerable Adults procedures and human rights has been rolled out to many advocates in Wales.
"This training is delivering real results and an increase in the number of referrals to adult protection teams clearly indicates that improvements have been made in recognising and dealing with cases of elder abuse.
“It is essential that this training is maintained.”
“Advocacy services need to be properly developed and funded in Wales to support older people to say ‘no’ to abuse”.
‘Advocacy Counts 3 – the third report on advocacy provision for older people in Wales’ is being launched by Age Cymru and the Older People’s Commissioner for Wales at the Senedd on the morning of Wednesday 16 March.