Agenda for later life
Dignity, independence, security: these things are tremendously important to us as we age.
This is why we have decided that over the next 5 years our overarching goal as a charity should be to help make the UK a great place to grow older.
Agenda for later life report
Agenda for Later Life is Age UK's annual assessment of where we are now, and how public policy can help us to achieve our ambition. We've pulled out some key findings from the report below. To see what policy measures Age UK is proposing to tackle these and other issues, download the report here:
In April 2015, many of the 'freedom and choice' reforms first announced just over a year earlier came into effect, allowing people to use their pension savings however they choose from the age of 55.
In addition, major reforms to the State Pension apply to people reaching State Pension age from 6 April 2016 onwards.
These changes, together with continuing pressure to reduce overall spending on social security, increase the importance of access to financial information, advice and guidance.
Even as many more of us live longer, and stay well and healthy for longer, there remain highly negative attitudes to ageing, including the idea that older age automatically means poor health and higher needs. This need not be the case.
A crucial part of the equation is managing changing health needs, including taking steps to tackle unsuitable housing and social isolation, and ensuring that people living with dementia and their carers get good quality care and support.
Health and care
High-quality care that treats us with dignity is what we would all hope for as we age. Although the Government recognises this, too often standards on the ground fall short.
This not helped by continual pressures on funding. While funding for the NHS has been protected, the care budget has fallen by 21% since 2010/11, with serious knock-on effects on the NHS. This needs to change: as well as creating poor outcomes for older people it represents appalling value for money for the taxpayer too.
Safe at home
Extending older people's housing choices requires measures that include helping older people to modify their current homes; improving the design and accessibility of all new homes, and offering a greater range of specialist retirement housing with flexible care and support.
Meaningful opportunities to work, learn and volunteer should be available to people of all ages. Accessible public transport, banking services and communications are vital for staying included, but bus routes and bank branches continue to close, and 4.5 million people aged 65+ have still never used the internet.