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 2021-22

Given the particular ways that the pandemic has affected older people and the community resources and services that are often a lifeline to them, there will need to be a significant focus on enabling people to age well and on making our communities more age-friendly, which will be crucial to build confidence amongst older people to re-engage with society, and to support reablement and rehabilitation.

The response to the pandemic in Wales, particularly at a local level, has shown that there are strong foundations to build upon. We must now ensure that the policies and changes made as we move towards recovery will result in practical improvements in older people’s lives.

The Commissioner will be:

  • Working with partners to ensure older people have support to rebuild or regain their health and well-being, as we transition through the pandemic
  • Leading work with partners throughout Wales to make communities more age-friendly, including supporting local authorities to apply for World Health Organisation recognition for age-friendly communities
  • Championing digital inclusion amongst older people, promoting good practice and issuing guidance to public bodies to ensure older people who are not online can access the information and support they may need.