State of the Nation: 2021

In October 2019, the Commissioner published her first State of the Nation report, which brought together, for the first time, a wide range of evidence and research, as well as the sometimes limited data that is available, to provide an overview of people’s experiences of growing older in Wales. 

The report found that whilst there were some strong foundations on which to build – with many older people feeling in control of their lives and able to do the things that matter to them – it also highlighted the stark inequalities that exist within the older population in Wales.

These inequalities in our society have been exposed even further during the Covid-19 pandemic, as older people have been disproportionately impacted by the pandemic and the restrictions necessary to control the spread of the virus.

To build understanding of the impact that the pandemic has had on older people, the Commissioner has published three key reports over the last 18 months:

  • Care Home Voices, published in June 2020, used the voices of older people living in care homes, their relatives and care home staff to give a snapshot of life in care homes during the first peak of the pandemic. The report outlined a number of calls for action, including improved engagement with care home residents, their families and friends and staff in decision making, and for the Welsh Government to publish a Covid-19 action plan for care homes.
  • Leave No One Behind: Action for an Age-Friendly Recovery was published in August 2020 and set out the actions needed – both immediately and in the longer-term – to ensure that older people can get the help and support they need and are not excluded or left behind as Wales deals with the Covid-19 pandemic and looks towards its recovery.
  • Winter Stories documented the experiences of 21 older people during winter 2020-21 to better understand how their lives were affected by the Covid-19 pandemic and the lessons that could be learnt when planning for future winters or outbreaks of Covid-19.

This State of the Nation builds on the findings of these reports, as well as other work conducted by the Commissioner over the last two years, to give an updated picture of the circumstances facing older people in Wales today, which recognises the unique impact of a global pandemic. It also draws on published data sets, engagement conducted by the Commissioner, and publications from key organisations working in Wales and across the UK to support older people, and is intended to deepen our understanding of our ageing society and the challenges and opportunities that come with it.

Click here to download State of the Nation: 2021