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Updates from our Recent PAiL Meeting

Following our recent meeting it was unanimously agreed by those attending – the founding members – to agree to set up Positive Ageing in London as an independent body and to agree the Articles of Association now amended.

We will be circulating the final Articles of Association in the near future along with the Minutes of the Meeting.

However  I wanted to update everyone who registered an interest or attended one of the last 2 meetings of  the agreed actions that will now take place.

We are in the process of setting up a bank account and have 3 people who will act as signatories but are in urgent need of a treasurer. The work will not be onerous particularly at the beginning as we have little income or expenditure at present but is vital for us to be able to open the account. We would welcome any offers from people prepared to take on this task.

We are also actively looking for sources of funding and would welcome any information or help in contacting bodies who maybe prepared to support us financially or running joint events In terms of events: Firstly we will be jointly organising with Age UK London ( AUKL) a series of meetings around the issues of Housing and Older People. This is a project managed by AUKL and funded by Hyde Housing  and will aim to feed in the expertise and concerns of older ( 50+) Londoners into the  London Mayors Strategy and consultation on Housing.

We aim to have the first meeting at the beginning of July in the Lambeth / Lewisham area and will send you full details when this has been arranged.

The co-ordinator for this project is Gordon Deuchars of AUKL  who can be contacted at gdeuchars@ageuklondon.org.uk.

We are hoping to have a number of expert speakers addressing these meetings and informing the discussion around different housing issues, including older people in private rented accommodation;  in social housing;those who own their own homes and referencing issues of downsizing, house share, adaptation plus issues of homelessness and of social care housing as well as co-operatives and other housing solutions in London.

If anyone has expertise in these areas and would like to speak or knows someone with such expertise please contact either myself or Gordon.

The second meeting planned is to be held in partnership with the DWP at the beginning of September and will cover issues around 50+ Employment and Self Employment, Ways to Tackle the  3.5 million 50+ currently out of work and wish to work as well as the Impact of the roll out of Universal Credit. While we have expert speakers lined up again anyone with specialist knowledge willing to be  a speaker should contact myself or Gordon The other event currently being planned is to have a Wellness Day – which will address both mental and physical well being-and again we welcome any input from people able to make contributions to this event which it is planned will be more a series of interactive events and group discussions and less  formal presentations.

I do hope that you will continue to support us, to become active members – we are still looking for more people to volunteer to join the committee, and at least come along and be part of our future events.

Best wishes

Chris Walsh

Chair – Positive Ageing in London

Upcoming PAiL Meeting – Friday 26th May

Dear Fellow Positive Ageing in London members,

This is to invite you to the next PAiL meeting which we hope will be both important and interesting.

The feedback from members to our recommendation that PAiL becomes an autonomous organisation registered as an Unincorporated association with its own bank account  was positive so we are now going ahead to launch ourselves as Positive Ageing in London at our next meeting at 2 pm on Friday 26th May at Age UK London, 6th Floor, 1-6 Tavistock Square.

The key decisions to be made are: who is to become Treasurer, Secretary, and Membership Secretary of PAiL respectively; who would like to join the Committee to help myself as Chair and Irene as vice Chair to carry out the important work we are committed to doing. We would welcome anyone to contact us to put their names forward for any of these positions as well as thanking those who have already said they are prepared to help. After that, we will get appropriate signatures needed to start our bank account.

Our next important decision will be to agree our fundraising strategy and action plan and to ask members for help in contacting suitable funding agencies and in preparing funding and partnership bids.

We are also pleased to say that Age UK London has now got the funding from Hyde Housing to hold a series of meetings to engage with older people  over the issue of Housing and Older People and to make a contribution towards the Mayor’s housing strategy – whose consultation process and strategy will be launched later in the year. We are happy to be partners with AUKL in this and help to organise,  promote and recruit participants for these events and even join a steering group.

Part of the meeting will include a discussion on how members wish to continue and solidify our working relationship with age UK London and how best this and other partnerships can work.

In addition we hope to agree at the meeting  the organisation and dates for other events including developing working partnerships with relevant organisations to help us hold successful events around Employment and Benefits for Older people and also on Wellbeing and Older People.

You can view the proposed agenda by clicking here.

All in all this should be an important and interesting afternoon. Please confirm your attendance to Gordon Deuchars, gdeuchars@ageuklondon.org.uk

We look forward to seeing you there

Best wishes

Chris Walsh

Older People’s Brexit Concerns Sent to Government and Parliament

After our joint event on Brexit and Older People on 11 January, the main issues and concerns that participants raised have been sent in a letter to David Davis MP, the Secretary of State for Exiting the EU, and you can see the text here, and as a submission to Parliament’s committee on Brexit. Issues were raised in areas including health and social care services, equality and human rights, employment and training, access to goods and services, and the rights of older UK and EU citizens living in EU member states and in the UK.

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.