Age needs one voice. Now it has:
Age UK is the new force combining Age Concern England and
Help the Aged in England.
(Helena Herklots, Services Director, Age UK, speaking at Services for Later Life)
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.
Heléna Herklots, Services Director, Age UK
Download Helena's presentation 'Looking to the future - customer and services trends' (PDF 1.7 MB)
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:
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.'
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.
Download David's speech
Read David's blog on how Housing 21's oldest residents became familiar with the newest technology
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.
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:
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.
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