Agenda for Later Life 2011

Agenda for Later Life cover

Welcome to the Agenda for Later Life report, the annual policy report from Age NI, monitoring and analysing government policy and it’s impact on older people. Alongside climate change, population ageing is the greatest global transition to face society this century.

Age NI are passionate about what needs to happen for older people in Northern Ireland and we believe the devolved administration here provides the opportunity to progress key issues which will have a positive impact on older people here.

The section Politics of Ageing, examines what changes our devolved administration has made to improve the lives of older people here. There have been some encouraging advancements, not least the passage of a landmark piece of legislation needed to create an Older People’s Commissioner, a clear example of the potential of devolved government to deliver for older people.

Evidence contained within this document however will demonstrate a considerable number of long term challenges that still need to be addressed. Each section begins with a series of key indicators, compiled from government statistics as well as our own research with 500 older people across Northern Ireland. Indicators have been chosen to demonstrate where progress has been made, and more importantly to demonstrate areas that require urgent attention. We also make use of information gathered from in-depth interviews with older people as well as case studies identified by our services department. We hope that this evidence will demonstrate the stories behind the statistics. We invite politicians to demonstrate their commitment to their older constituents and work with us to address these challenges.

In a time of cuts, it is more important than ever to ensure a level of fairness and a framework for prioritising need in a way that will protect those who are at greatest risk of disadvantage, including older people. The UK government maintained a level of protection for older people in the recent Spending Review. The challenge of protecting those at greatest risk has now passed to our devolved administration. We fear that public spending on vital services could fall just as the numbers in later life are rising. Fiftythree percent of older people tell us they are worried about the future.5 It is imperative that a new social care system is put in place and that spending on social care is safeguarded over the next few years, until such a time.

Our priorities are clear - the elimination of pensioner poverty; a modern and responsive care system with a focus on prevention, rights, entitlements and fairness; and the fair and equal treatment of older people in public services and through government legislation and policy.

Achieving these aims will require policy and legislative change. We are committed to working in a partnership approach with government to ensure that the necessary changes are implemented. Through policy expertise, research and service delivery, we have developed policy thinking in the areas of health and social care, poverty, and equality and human rights. We believe that we have the solutions; with this report we challenge public policymakers to join with us to transform later life..


www.ageni.org/agenda

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