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EnvisAGE is a discussion journal edited by Age Cymru, which explores issues affecting older people. In this, our fourteenth edition, we examine issues around poverty and shine a spotlight on the financial inclusion of older people.

We've invited experts to contribute articles to share their expertise and good practice to explore a range of services and approaches that can help to improve the financial inclusion of older people.

In our opening article, Dr Victoria Winckler of the Bevan Foundation highlights that pensioner poverty is increasing due to pensioner incomes and rising housing costs. The article stresses that immediate action is needed to ensure that today’s pensioners receive all the support they are entitled to, such as Pension Credit and Housing Benefit.

Gavin Thomas describes the work of Age Cymru Advice and how we help older people to claim their benefits and entitlements. The number of enquiries relating to income maximisation and claiming benefit entitlements are increasing year-on-year. In 2018/19 the Age Cymru Partnership (Age Cymru and local Age Cymru partners) supported 20,000 older people in Wales and achieved £6.5 million in unclaimed benefits.

Sally West of Age UK gives an overview of the current State Pension, and looks at the key changes over recent years, and considers how these have affected different cohorts of men and women. The State Pension is the most important source of income for the majority of pensioners.

Heather Ferguson of Age Cymru provides an insight into Project 360° which is a national partnership project between Age Cymru, veterans’ charity Woody’s Lodge, and Age Alliance Wales members to support military veterans aged 65 and over in Wales. The article explains how Project 360° supports older veterans to access their Armed Forces pension.

Lee Phillips describes the work of the Money and Pensions Service (MaPS) with reference to improving financial wellbeing amongst older people. The article highlights that 57% of working age adults in Wales don’t feel that they understand enough about pensions to make decisions about saving for retirement. It is estimated that over £200 million of Pension Credit goes unclaimed in Wales each year.

Adam Scorer of National Energy Action provides an insight into the stark reality of the impact of fuel poverty on older people, where people cannot afford to adequately heat their homes. The article highlights the Warm Homes Programme Nest and Arbed schemes in Wales.

Matthew Brindley highlights that older people are more likely to experience poor health as a result of poor housing, and describes the work of Care & Repair Cymru, which supports more than 30,000 older people every year to live independently in safe, warm, accessible homes, and provides advice to clients about welfare rights and funding available for home improvements.

Dr Deborah Morgan of Swansea University draws on research studies that illustrate how poverty can contribute to loneliness and social isolation among older people. Financial constraints can begin to harm social networks at an early age, and if sustained across the lifecourse, may have implications for loneliness and social isolation in later life.

In our final article, Nick Capaldi of the Arts Council of Wales explains how the arts play a vital role in improving the wellbeing and quality of life of older people. A range of projects and programmes provide opportunities for people from the most deprived communities in Wales to engage with and participate in the arts. The article highlights the cARTrefu programme, in partnership with Age Cymru and the Baring Foundation, and the Gwanwyn festival.

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