Our vision is a world where everyone can love later life.
One of the biggest challenges facing the Northern Ireland government is how it will prepare and plan for an increasingly ageing population, at a time of significant financial pressures and competing demands for help and support.
We must act now to deliver a better future for us all as we age.
We are calling on all candidates in this election to #Act4Age.
- There are 285,900 people over 65 years living in Northern Ireland
- The number of people aged 65 and over is expected to increase by 74.4% between 2014 and 2039.
- It is expected that almost one in four of the population will be aged 65 years and over by mid-2039 .
- The number of people aged 85 years and older is expected to double between 2014 and 2039, from 34,400 people to 88,600 people
- 1 in 3 older people feel they have no-one to turn to for help and support
- Over the next 50 years, Northern Ireland will be almost £25 billion better off because of our ageing population.
Preparing and planning for an ageing society
Living longer is a cause for celebration, as is our vibrant and diverse older population. Lots of older people lead fulfilling lives, actively contributing to the economy and society, supporting their families, neighbours and communities through volunteering, caring for others, providing childcare and working.
For many older people, however, the picture of later life is more stark, with four in ten older people telling us they struggle on their income, four in ten older people who report feeling lonely, and 75% of older people stating they are concerned that they will be affected by spending cuts .
Longer lives represent many opportunities and challenges for our society, for employers and the economy, for our welfare system, housing as well as our health and social care system. Older people want to be part of the solution, helping to shape, co-design, and make the changes that are needed to make Northern Ireland a great place to grow older.
At Age NI, we recognise the significant programme of work ahead to address the concerns of older people, tackle the outdated, ageist attitudes that persist and ensure that the United Nations Principles for Older Persons - independence, participation, care, self-fulfillment and dignity – underpin the development and delivery of government policy for older people in Northern Ireland.
Age NI believes that we are standing at a crossroads now and the Assembly and Northern Ireland Executive face a range of choices. The development of a Programme for Government presents an opportunity to place the challenges and opportunities associated with ageing at the heart of government policy.
Age NI is calling on the Assembly and the Northern Ireland Executive to make ageing a cross cutting theme in the next Programme for Government, driving the development of policies, legislative programmes and structural changes as well as decisions about budget allocations and funding priorities.
We want to see:
- Improved ageing as a cross-cutting theme in the Programme for Government (PfG)
- a specific outcome on older people in the PfG to address the inequalities, discrimination and exclusion experienced by older people
- active engagement with older people in shaping and improving how service delivery is designed and delivered
- older people involved in monitoring the impact of the PfG protected.
In developing our manifesto we drew on the experiences of older people and what they told us during our 115,000 engagements with them. We reach a diverse range of older people, including those who are considered “hard to reach” through our services; the work of Age NI Peer Facilitators, older people trained in facilitation and engagement; the 11 Sub Regional Networks we support, which bring together older peoples’ groups across Northern Ireland to strengthen the regional voice of older people and support them to influence important decisions on local policy and services as well as the Age NI Consultative Forum, a panel of 50 older people whose role is to inform and influence policy and practice.
We are calling on members of the next Northern Ireland Assembly to listen to the voices of older people and #Act4Age.