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PAiL Joins the EngAgeNet Forum

PAiL is now a part of EngAgeNet – the new national forum for older people comprising of 50+ regional forums from across England.

It was launched at the House of Lords on Monday 20th March 2017.

This is good news for older people and will help us to get our voices heard.

Since the DWP stopped funding 50+ regional forums there has been a lack of opportunities for we older people to be consulted or heard. Now that there is a new national entity – which was helped to fruition by the good offices of Lord Filkin – we have high hopes of getting the views and interests of older people better known and understood.

We are very pleased that PAiL has been invited to join and is now a part of this exciting new initiative.

 

Conclusions from the Brexit and Older People Conference

The Brexit and Older People event jointly organised by PAiL and the Age Platform Europe (UK branch) was held at Europe House on 11th January and was very successful.

The aim was to bring speakers with expertise on the issues facing older people during and after Brexit together to inform people of what rights, laws and benefits they currently have as a right under EU law and to ask people at the conference what they want to keep, what to lose and what to improve.

This, we think, was the first attempt to inform and involve older people in the Brexit process and to discover what their ‘red lines’ are.

It was clear from the discussion that many people are worried that basic rights may be lost and that key issues of concern include the following:

  • Keeping age and employment rights
  • Extending age equality to the provision of goods and services
  • Maintaining our health and care services by keeping EU workers in place as well as training UK people
  • Ensuring the rights of  existing EU citizens here and reciprocal rights for UK citizens in Europe
  • Keeping pension and workers rights
  • Defending consumer protection
  • Ensuring that the rights we currently have in EU law are enshrined in UK law and not just till 2020.

You can view the slides to four of the presentations given on the day by clicking each title below:

Additionally, click here to access the list of concerns raised in the breakout group over the issue of older people’s employment and pension rights.

We would like to see more such events organised in London and across the UK as we need to develop a plan for a People’s brexit and for us especially an Older People’s Brexit. Anyone who would be interested in such an event, please contact us.

Brexit and Older People

Positive Ageing in London and the AGE Platform Europe (UK section) invite you to a meeting to discuss the impact of Brexit upon older people. The full title of the meeting is “Brexit for Older People – What Does This Mean For Us?”

This meeting is the first of a planned series of discussions to ask older people (50+) what they want from a post Brexit UK, so that they can start to have their voices heard during the Brexit negotiations.

There will be a panel of expert speakers, who will outline the current rights and laws and initiatives that apply to UK older citizens at present and may or may not be transferred to UK laws, rights and policies in the future, as well as raising issues of concern for older people in or out of Brexit, including pensions, health and social care, employment rights etc.

This will be followed by a discussion involving all participants as to what are the key red lines for older people in both the negotiations and also the post Brexit Britain we will live in. This is part of an exercise to listen to and communicate with as many older people and their representative organisations as possible about what they want from Brexit- not an argument over pro or anti Brexit, or hard and soft Brexit, but to find out what issues matter most to older people that directly affect them.

The meeting will take place on Wednesday 11th January 2017 and will run from 13:00 to 17:00. To read all the details and to sign up for the event please click here.

Ageing Without Children Awarded Development Grant

We are delighted to learn that Ageing Without Children (AWOC) has been awarded a development grant by the Big Lottery Fund. This grant will allow AWOC to explore two key issues: firstly, how AWOC can develop and extend their local groups, and secondly how AWOC can form an alternative support model for people in later life without children.

To research these issues, Ageing Without Children has created two online surveys to gather the views of people ageing without children.

The first survey discusses AWOCs local groups and can be completed here.

The second survey features only one question which is about support in later life. It can be answered here.

With this additional funding and through the responses to these surveys, AWOC will be able to develop and grow in size and influence over the next three years.

PAiL & Age UK London Launch Local Economic Development Research

Positive Ageing in London and Age UK London have published a piece of research into how London boroughs include older people in their strategies for economic development and in particular volunteering and employment. These areas correspond to part of the World Health Organisation (WHO) criteria for an age friendly city. There seems to quite a lot of room for improvement in how London boroughs include older people in their strategies and actions, while we did find encouraging examples from some boroughs.

You can view the research here: Age Friendly Local Economic Development in London Report

Ageism – How Have We Been Ageist?

At our recent annual conference, ‘Ageism: How Ageist Are We?’ we asked participants to give us examples of when they had been ageist. You can read a selection of the best below.

You can read a full report from our 2016 annual conference here.

 

Highlights of participants’ feedback about how they themselves have been ageist

1)     Getting frustrated when my 60 year old mum is slow using her iPad

2)     Deliberately calling a stranger “old” during an argument

3)     People giving up a seat on buses and tubes

4)     Tend to elect an older person for committees – “more reliable and committed”

5)     I sometimes go U3A meetings and come away thinking “I’m not old enough for U3A yet”

6)     I am always making assumptions about myself & others & subconsciously put it down to age both about younger people and older people

7)     I attended an awards event.  A 92 year old in a wheelchair  was accompanied by a young person pushing her. I assumed the young person was the carer.  Not at all: the one in the wheelchair  was supporting engagement with “life” after a dark place in the young person’s life

8)     Having mental picture of young person in mind when recruiting to a post

9)     I used to think that there is over provision of parking spaces for age related disability

10) Two men ( on separate occasions ) “Hit” on me! 16 years younger than me… I fled.  I’m in a relationship with a man 16 years older.

11) Saying “Mutton dressed as Lamb”

12) I made a remark, when a young chap was elected as a leader of a committee “ I wonder how long he will last”

13) Considering younger people (under 25) to be less competent than older-till employing them and realising an age diverse workplace is a better way of working

14) If you think you are too old to rock n roll then you probably are

15) I have been impatient with people being slow getting off buses.  Nothing said, just in my own mind.

16) Being offered or offering a seat to “somebody older”.  Mind you-I like being offered a seat

17) I’m fed up with disability  being dismissed as part of growing old.

Ageism – How Ageist Are We? Positive Ageing in London’s Annual Conference

Below is a report from our 2016 annual conference.

On the day we also asked participants to give us examples of when they had been ageist. You can read a selection of the best here.

 

On 17 May PAIL’s annual conference discussed how ageism permeates society and how all of us can be ageist in our own lives. The (66) participants from older people’s groups, the voluntary sector, Healthwatch and others went on to make commitments to challenge ageism individually and within their organisations. We hope that actions people take as a result of our conference will be stepping stones on the way to making London a less ageist and more age friendly city.

Chair for the Conference, Meena Patel

Chair for the Conference, Meena Patel

Guest Chair for the day was Meena Patel of the National Development Team for Inclusion. Key contributions came from PAIL’s Chair Mervyn Eastman, Dr Hannah Swift of the University of Canterbury,  Amanda Coyle of the Greater London Authority and David Brindle of The Guardian (who is also Chair of NDTi)

Mervyn Eastman set the scene for the day, including the distinction between ageism and age discrimination and looking at accepted academic definitions of ageism. He went on to look at the new “kindly” ageism which he saw for example in “the loneliness and dementia industries”, and asked whether it is ageist to say that one is “eighty years young”.

In a Chair’s Introduction, Meena Patel set ageism within the context of diversity, which she defined as understanding and appreciating each individual’s  uniqueness –  this can be due to their race, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, socio-economic status, age, disability, religion and other circumstances/situations people find themselves in. Diversity is becoming ever more important as the older population becomes increasingly diverse.

Dr Hannah Swift drew on her work with the European Research Group on Attitudes to Age to describe how ageism manifests itself and is experienced by people of different ages in the UK. Ageism is the most commonly experienced form of prejudice and affects both older and younger people. Hannah described the processes which lead to ageism: age categorisation and stereotyping, perceived threat to others, lack of intergenerational contact. Ageism is experienced across all population groups but differently by women and men, and by minority ethnic groups. It can be demonstrated to harm the wellbeing of people who experience it.

The presentations by Meena Patel and Dr Hannah Swift can be seen here (link).

Amanda Coyle started by underlining the huge economic  contribution made by older Londoners, as evidenced by the GLA’s 2013 report. She pointed to steps the GLA was taking to support older Londoners to contribute as workers and volunteers, such as through the ESF employment programme, the work of Team London on volunteering and developing accessible public transport. Sadiq Khan, Amanda said, intends to be a Mayor for all Londoners and plans to promote age friendly approaches to housing, health and social care, policing and crime and digital inclusion: part of the role of the new Chief Digital Officer will be to help older people to get online.

David Brindle of The Guardian discussed ageism in the public sector and in public policy. The public sector, he said, is not ready for ageing or sufficiently adapting itself to it, and its inadequate response can be seen as implicitly ageist in itself. Ageism can be unconscious, as with the frequent comments such as “what do you expect at your age” encountered in health services, or arguably the under-provision of local services for older people may result from an ageist mindset. The public sector’s failure so far to benefit from the positive contribution of older people can be linked to a global failure of business to capitalise on the potential of older consumers. David talked about the widespread perception encouraged by some politicians and think tanks that the baby boomers have done well at the expense of younger generations: this was contradicted by widespread inequality and poverty among older as well as younger people.

Participants put questions and comments to Hannah, Amanda and David in two sessions. Subjects discussed included:

How important is digital inclusion and what can be done to encourage it? Amanda stressed the importance of getting businesses to reach out to older people, Amanda pointed out that while important it’s not a panacea – you can’t end loneliness with an app.

What should we think of celebrities being used as role models for ageing? While they may well show positive images, it is nevertheless problematic to have privileged celebrities appearing to lecture people. Saying it is wonderful that someone can “still” do something may show an implicit ageist assumption that they should no longer be able to do so.

Transport: poor provision can be an obstacle to people ageing successfully and to people of all ages contributing to society. Examples given were hospitals being poorly served by bus routes, and lack of disability awareness in some London boroughs.

Amanda was asked by one participant to ensure that the GLA publishes annual figures on the age breakdown of GLA staff and of those laid off or leaving the GLA.

What (more) could the media do to oppose ageism? A participant thought that “the media is more ageist now than when I was young”. One related suggestion was to push for a universal person-centred approach to health services.

What would a human rights-based approach to the life course look like and how can we encourage active approaches as part of public sector devolution?

Perceptions of the “baby boomers” and inequality: David agreed with a comment from the floor that inequality is driven by the labour market and differences in educational opportunity. It was also important to see the major differences in the position of people currently in their 50s and 60s and those aged 90+, and to avoid lumping all older people together.

 

The day had started with participants putting up on a wall ways in which they themselves had been ageist, to make the point that ageism is everyone’s responsibility.

After the speakers and question and answer sessions, the conference broke into table discussions where participants were asked to come up with one personal action for themselves and one for their organisation if part of one, and each table then had to agree on one priority action.

These were the agreed priority actions from the table groups:

Organisations must make themselves welcoming to all (individuals too)!

Challenge those who say the young are the future and the old should step aside

Challenge age stereotypes, especially in the NHS (for example the importance of your date of birth)

Campaign to End Loneliness: the solution lies with older people themselves using and passing on their skills

Monitoring to allow organisations to challenge age discrimination

Challenge ageism in conversations with our friends.  Organisations should encourage more intergenerational work.

Ask your local Council to be able to address a meeting on ageism

Challenge ageism when you see it, and challenge your own ageist attitudes!

After Meena Patel and Mervyn Eastman had thanked the speakers and participants, Mervyn closed the day by calling for a campaign against ageism in the government, the age sector, the media and ourselves.

Welfare Reform Report Launched

Positive Ageing in London and Age UK London have today launched a research report to investigate and challenge the idea that those above state pension age are ‘protected’ from welfare reform, while also looking into the effect of changes on the under-emphasised group of ‘younger-old’ Londoners who are below state pension age but over the age of 50.

Ben Donovan, Research Officer at Age UK London, wrote the report and launched it at an event in Southwark. Paul Bivand, Associate Director of Analysis and Statistics, Centre for Economic and Social Inclusion and Paul Treloar, Advice and Rights Team Manager, Child Poverty Action Group both responded to the launch of the report. We will publish a report of the event as soon as possible.

 

You can read and download the full report here.

PAiL Represented at UK Advisory Forum on Ageing, 26 November

Positive Ageing in London is now represented in the UK Advisory Forum on Ageing by Ellen Lebethe, with Irene Kohler as deputy representative. For an explanation of what the UK Advisory Forum, please visit the organisation website.

Ellen has provided a short note of the main subjects discussed  at the last meeting on 26 November. This is an informal note for information: the official record of the meeting is the minutes which will be published later by the Department for Work and Pensions.

You can view and download Ellen’s notes here:

Report of UKAFA meeting on 26 November 2014