By Penny Thewlis, Chief Executive
50% of girls born today will live to be over 100! We are developing a new Strategic Plan for Age UK Oxfordshire - a plan fit not just for today’s older people but for tomorrow’s older people too, thinking three, five, ten years and longer ahead.
Our Plan needs to take account of a number of trends, underlying issues and some turbulence:
• We are all living longer – much longer: the figures are amazing - but we are poorly prepared for this as individuals and as a society.
• We are ageing unequally - some of us will experience a significantly better later life than others.
• We are living in a time of huge political and economic volatility.
• Public funding is decreasing – our experience is of less funding alongside increased demand, so-called ‘more-for less’.
• Technology is advancing rapidly, leaving too many older people behind, and as yet the potential benefits of technology for an ageing population have not yet been properly explored.
• You will all be able to think of many other relevant factors, but this is the context within which we are planning for the future.
Getting the balance right for the future
Against this background, we are exploring a number of questions or dilemmas about how we get the balance right. We need your help with these questions.
1. Do we shift our focus more onto older people most in need of support or do we retain our focus on all older people?
2. Linked to this is a question about the degree to which we focus on prevention and/or helping people to prepare for a longer later life?
3. How much of our offer should be free and thus universally accessible and what ‘paid for’ services should we be thinking of developing? What should we charge? And how do we address the needs of people who cannot afford to pay?
4. How much emphasis do we put on supporting communities to support older people (or community development) and how far do we develop our own services?
5. Where does the balance lie between campaigning and influencing, and service delivery?
6. Last year we reached 76,000 people - but what more can we do to reach those not yet reached?
7. There are around 11,000 chronically lonely older people in Oxfordshire, and about the same number living in poverty– how do we crack this?
8. How do we change the narrative on ageing in Oxfordshire? Later life can be very good, older people are a huge asset to their local communities and economies – from demographic time-bomb to demographic opportunity.
We need your help to develop tomorrow’s Age UK Oxfordshire
The last few years have been a period of growth and change for us, but they have not changed fundamentally who and what we are as a charity. We remain, first and foremost, providers of specialist information, advice and support services for older people and carers, enabling people to manage their everyday lives - and to enjoy life! We also have an important role as advocates for older people and carers, as influencers and campaigners and as strategic partners to our public and voluntary sector colleagues.
• Is this what you want of your local Age UK over the next 3 – 10 years?
• Are there things you would like to see us doing more or less of? What should our priorities be?
• What views do you have on some or all of the eight questions we are asking ourselves under the heading ‘getting the balance right’ above?
Get in touch
Please let us have your views by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org (subject: Tomorrow’s Age UK Oxfordshire)