Enabling everyone to age well
Ageing well – ‘adding life to years, not just years to life’ – is important for each of us, and for our country as a whole. It is something everyone in Wales should be able to do. Older people should be seen as a vital part of society and should be able to have more opportunities to participate in and contribute to our economy and our communities.
But many people find themselves unable to do the things that matter to them as they get older. Problems with public transport, for example, mean that some older people are prevented from getting about and about – to volunteer, spend time with friends and family, care for loved ones or get to medical appointments. Many older people – 60% of people over the age of 75 – do not have access to the internet and are at risk of being left behind as services increasingly move online.
Some of the poorest older people are also not receiving the financial support they are entitled to that could make a positive difference to their lives, such as Pension Credit, £170 million of which went unclaimed in Wales in 2018.
The Commissioner will work to make Wales a nation of age-friendly communities where older people feel valued, included and respected and can:
- get out and about
- afford to do things they want to do
- lead healthy and active lives
- stay informed
- have their voices heard
The Commissioner will take action to:
- Encourage and support age-friendly communities to be established throughout Wales
- Enable more people to get where they want to go and do the things that matter to them
- Improve the access to advice and support to age well
- Improve older people’s access to the health services they need to age well
- Improve the access to financial support older people need to age well
- Enable more older people to be empowered to effect change
Work during 2019-20
Empowering older people to effect change
Having opportunities to share our view and ideas is essential to help us influence policies and decisions, access the services we need and make our communities better places to live. But many older people are unable or struggle to make their voices heard and feel powerless when proposals are made that will affect their lives.
The Commissioner will develop and promote a range of resources and good practice to empower older people to engage more effectively with public bodies, alongside holding a series of learning events to help older people to develop their knowledge and skills about how to influence and deliver change. The Commissioner will also work with public bodies themselves to ensure they fully understand their duties around ensuring they undertake meaningful engagement, consultation and impact assessments.
Making communities in Wales more age-friendly
Communities that adopt age-friendly approaches to planning, transportation, housing, participation and support, play a vital role in helping older people to remain engaged and supporting their health, independence and well-being.
The Commissioner will work with communities throughout Wales to support them to be more age-friendly. This work will include producing guidance for local authorities on how they can achieve World Health Organisation age-friendly status, promoting good practice and innovative initiatives being delivered by members of the Commissioner Ageing Well Network, and working with businesses and organisations to increase recognition of the ageing well card, which lets people know that an older person may need a little help or support.
In addition, the Commissioner will further develop the Ageing Well network to inspire and support older people throughout Wales to share knowledge and good practice, make new connections and establish new partnerships, and take action to create age-friendly initiatives within their communities.
Making transport services more age-friendly
Easy access to transport services plays a particular role in helping older people to remain independent, get out and about and do the things that matter to them. But older people often find that the transport services available to them do not meet their needs.
The Commissioner will work with older people and transport providers throughout Wales to develop a set of age-friendly transport standards, alongside highlighting and promoting a range of good practice, to improve older people’s experiences of using public transport.
Transport to health services
For many older people, access to health services is dependent on the availability of easily accessible transport services, particularly for those living in rural areas. However, older people throughout Wales have raised concerns about the impact that a lack of suitable transport options can have on their lives, and the barriers this can create in accessing essential health services.
The Commissioner look at whether current transport options act as a barrier to older people accessing health services they need. This work will include working with older people, to capture their experiences of accessing transport to health services, as well as health boards and transport providers to identify good practice and areas where improvements may be needed.