Campaigners are calling on the Welsh Government to protect vital services for older people from spending cuts.
Age Alliance Wales says the Social Services and Well-being (Wales) Bill could potentially save services that keep people healthy and well.
The group of 17 Welsh charities has welcomed a commitment in the law for local authorities to work with other organisations to provide ‘preventative services’.
But it warns that the legislation must include a very broad definition of ‘preventative services’ to include activities such as physical exercise classes, adult learning and gardening services.
Age Alliance Wales says that unless this happens there is a risk that important, life-enhancing services for older people could be lost.
Robert Taylor – Chair of Age Alliance Wales and Chief Executve of Age Cymru explains:
“It is vital in the current economic climate that the Welsh Government and all agencies work together to minimise the impact of budget cuts on older people.
“The Welsh Government must also make sure that there are plenty of opportunities for older people to find activities they want to do in their local community.
“’Preventative services’ are a lifeline and they make a lasting and life-enhancing difference to older people the length and breadth of the country.
“Age Alliance Wales welcomes the commitment in the Social Services and Well-being (Wales) Bill for local authorities to work with other organisations to provide preventative services.
“However we want the definition of preventative services in this law to be broad enough to cover all types of services that can be classed as ‘preventative services’.”
The group wants the following definition of preventative services to be included in the Social Services and Well-being (Wales) Bill:
• Any interventions designed to reduce the risk of mental and physical deterioration, accident, disease or ill health and/or to promote long-term physical, social, emotional and psychological wellbeing;
• Services that enable people to live independently or support people to live independently for longer;
• Services that aims to promote quality of life, self-determination and community engagement;
Age Alliance Wales will be making the call at its annual conference – called The Well-being Enigma, at the SWALEC Stadium in Cardiff on Thursday 4 July.