Plenary presentations

Helena Herklots at Services for Later Life 2011 Conference

(Helena Herklots, Services Director, Age UK, speaking at Services for Later Life)

Below are presentations from plenary sessions which tooks place at Age UK's first 'Services for Later Life conference' in July 2011.

What a difference a service makes

This film was made and produced through the partnership that Age UK has with the BBC's Connect and Create outreach programme and showcases just some of the services Age UK provides to help older people.

Looking to the future - customer and service trends

Heléna Herklots, Services Director, Age UK

opens link in new window Download Helena's presentation 'Looking to the future - customer and services trends' (PDF 1.7 MB)

Designing and delivering effective services

Charles Leadbeater

Charles Leadbeater spoke about how much he was struck by the stories in the Age UK film. As isolation increases, he suggested that services will not only need to do things with other people, but also do things for other people. One of the most important issues he has found in his work is that older people want to be seen as being capable of making contributions and connections.

He shared 5 stories of individuals in his work which exemplified this:

  1. Iris had four occupational therapists who were not talking to one another, thus causing a blizzard effect.
  2. Anne Rhodes (from Blackburn) was put into tapestry and curtains work for 17 years because of her illness. No one ever asked her what she wanted to do.
  3. Dorothy Luce Centre in Kent provides a short term intensive recuperation service; sometimes a good service is doing with out a service.
  4. Wigan mothers – instead of providing a taxi for their children with disabilities to get to school, they worked with the college to give care students experience of taking these children on the bus; sometimes the consumer is in a better position than the provider to assess.
  5. Suffolk services – Circles movement – mutual self-help.

Services for a good later life

Professor David Grayson CBE, Chair, Housing 21

David Grayson began by defining a good later life as 'where the physical, social, emotional and spiritual needs of older people are addressed in a safe, caring and secure environment, with dignity and the maximum opportunities for independence and choice.'

Helping to create a good later life

At Housing 21, David noted that they don't think of themselves a social landlord or as a care provider - but as a community of and for older people. A key part of what Housing 21 does is to help residents to enjoy a rich variety of activites in their courts and their housing developments across the country. Increasingly Housing 21 are opening up their courts to older people in the neighbourhood thus making them a community hub for older people.

Preparing for a good later life

David spoke about the evidence of a 'Fitness Gap' for some older people: a gap between what physically they can do versus what they think they can do and therefore do do.

He emphaisised that staying emotionally and mentally fits means continually refreshing our skills and learning. He quoted from a line from Gandhi: 'Live as though you will die tomorrow but learn as though you will live forever.'

Get Digital

David said that one of the immediate tasks we need to tackly is the Digital Divide for older people. For many older people this is a strange, alien world which they have convinced themselves 'is not for people our age!' Yet this need not be so. Over-65s are joining facebook faster than any other age group. The largest group on twitter is not young people but 35-49 year olds. Housing 21 took full advantage of the recent government funded scheme 'Get Digital' to encourage older residents in social housing to get connected. David noted that social landlords with significant numbers of older tenants can play a major role in encouraging older people to overcome technophobia, become familiar with computers, and get on-line.

David concluded by saying that how a society treats its older people is a test of how civilised it is. He noted a rising tide of social and political pressure to deliver better opportunities for a good later life. He also said that he was increasingly interested in what each of us as individuals can do to promote a good, active later life. 

opens link in new window Download David's speech

opens link in new window Read David's blog on how Housing 21's oldest residents became familiar with the newest technology

What do older people want from services?

Ben Page, Chief Executive, Ipsos MORI

Ben gave a fascinating presentation with insights into the public's opinion regarding a whole host of issues including the economy, public sector cuts, their own financial situation, localism, the big society and social care.

He presented the findings of the Ipsos MORI poll of the public regarding services for older people. These results were then compared to the live polling results of the delegates at the Services for Later Life conference.

The Government's vision on partnership working

Nick Hurd MP, Minister for Civil Society

Nick Hurd MP ran through the principles of the Public Services White Paper. He emphasized the difficulties that every Government faces in achieving change. He hopes that the changes will:

  1. Develop the power of information for communities to compare services
  2. Create more choice and power by getting people involved in developing services through a local integrated services project
  3. Ask communities what they think
  4. Not be about replacing core services but about complimenting and enhancing them
  5. Showing people how they can make a difference, which is the key to getting them involved
  6. Open up services to a wider range of providers – 'We don’t care who provides, it’s about results.'

He emphasized the need to support Commissioners in challenging from the inside to do anything innovative, new and different with services. The School for Social entrepreneurs is developing a Commissioners Support Programme. There is a window of opportunity to influence now because of the financial situation. He mentioned an example in Brighton was they have developed a similar service to 'HandyVan' because of social care budget cuts.


Your Age UK

Set your location to see what Age UK offers in your local area.

Age UK Advice:
0800 169 6565

Agenda for later life 2014

Our annual overview of how public policy is meeting the needs of people in later life.


Happy couple

About Age UK

Find out what Age UK does, its history and much more.

Close window
Display options

Set the appearance of this website so you can read it more easily

Text size


To see information relating to Northern Ireland, Scotland or Wales set your preference below: