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EnvisAGE is a discussion journal edited by Age Cymru which explores issues affecting older people. In this, our thirteenth edition, we shine a light on the importance of keeping voice, choice and control when growing older.

We've invited experts to contribute articles to share their expertise and good practice towards keeping voice, choice and control when growing older.

In our opening article Professor John Williams of Aberystwyth University focuses on the importance of older people being able to make choices, and to understand their rights and make informed decisions. The article highlights that dignity and choice are closely related, and concludes that in social care, health care, safeguarding, legal matters and day to day living, the right of older people to make a fully informed and freely made choice must be respected and protected.

Andrew Dunning of Swansea University draws on a personal perspective to reflect on the importance of recognising advocacy as a means of securing and exercising older people’s rights. The article provides an overview of social policy relating to voice, choice and control, and highlights a number of issues facing advocacy at a policy level that have an impact for older people in Wales at a personal level.

Gail Hamer and Jill Ball of Age Cymru Powys present an overview of advocacy services for older people in Powys, and Jill provides an insight into her role as an advocate.

Dr Juping Yu and Professor Mark Llewellyn of the University of South Wales draw on findings from a study evaluating the ‘Help to be Heard’ volunteer-led advocacy service for older people in Carmarthenshire. The article highlights what service users have said about the beneficial impact of advocacy.

Lowri W. Williams, writing on behalf of the Welsh Language Commissioner and Alzheimer’s Society Cymru, focuses on Welsh speakers’ dementia care. The article outlines findings of research drawing on the experiences and voices of people living with dementia, and highlights that providing services in Welsh to people with dementia is a matter of clinical need.

Heléna Herklots, the Older People’s Commissioner for Wales, focuses on a recommendation made in the ‘Making Voices Heard’ report around a call to extend the ‘active offer’ of advocacy to older people in care homes and awaiting hospital discharge to enable them to exercise their rights and ensure their voices are heard.

In our final article, Louise Hughes of Age Cymru reports on the achievements of the Golden Thread Advocacy Programme, which supports the implementation of the advocacy element of the Social Services and Well-being (Wales) Act 2014. The programme aims to develop a national framework for commissioning independent professional advocacy for adults in Wales, to support and build the capacity of the advocacy sector in Wales, and to raise awareness of advocacy.

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