Posted by: westlancashirerecord | March 23, 2017

Greater Recognition Needed For Older People’s Contribution

“People in the UK are living longer than ever before – a major achievement of modern science and healthcare. Older people make up a growing proportion of the population, and so make an increasing contribution to society. They are our workers, volunteers, taxpayers and carers”…says the government. But now we have become a burden, because many of us need care the government doesn’t want to pay for. Just when we thought there was caring compassion there are calls for an end to the pensions triple lock that at least provided some measure of dignity for the elderly. Decent public transport is almost impossible to find here in West Lancashire, having been decimated, and is the cause of social exclusion of elderly and disabled people introduced by the previous borough administration.

Now, Lancashire County Council’s champion for older people is calling on organisations to recognise the important contribution older people make to society. The move follows a report by the Government Office for Science, called Future of an Aging Population , which looks in detail at the contribution older people make to various aspects of life today.

Speaking after the latest meeting of the Local Authority Elected Member Older People’s Champion’s Network for the North West, County Councillor Terry Aldridge  said “The make-up of the population is changing. People are living longer and there are now more people aged 60 and over, compared to the rest of the population. The contribution older people make in our society today is often overlooked. However, they bring in important skills and expertise to many areas. Research shows that they contribute around £9 billion to Britain’s economy each year by providing childcare allowing parents of young children to work.

“Many more older people are also still in employment using their skills and abilities to support businesses, or work as volunteers supporting people in need of help. We had an interesting meeting and myself, together with councillors from other authorities across the North West, feel that that everyone should look again at the role older people play”.

The Local Authority Elected Members Older People’s Network is a cross-party group made up of councillors who are champions for older people from each of the county, district and unitary councils across the region. County Councillor Aldridge is chair of the group. The group began discussions about the Government report at its latest meeting at County Hall in Preston last week, and will now look in detail at actions that councils and other local organisations can take following on from the recommendations.

County Councillor Aldridge added “There are some areas we want to look at in more detail. We want to continue speaking to local MPs to encourage the government to introduce a Minister for Older People, so they have a voice for these issues at the very highest level. Other issues we’re looking at include encouraging local employers to offer apprenticeships for people aged 50 and over and to recognise the wide range of skills and knowledge that older people from all walks of life could bring to their organisations. We also want to help to remove barriers to people learning in later life. We will continue our discussions and come up with some recommendations to help us move our plans forward in in the next few months”. The North West Older Peoples Elected Member Network is run by Ageconsulting.

To view copies of the Government’s Future of an Aging Population report, visit: https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/535187/gs-16-10-future-of-an-ageing-population.pdf


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