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Age UK's Chief Executive, Tom Wright's presentation to open Agenda for Later Life

Age UK's Chief Executive, Tom Wright's presentation to open Agenda for Later Life

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  • Agenda for later life is our annual stocktake of the way public policy is shaping later lifeIn it we set out our long-term visions for a world where older people flourishWe also highlight our top priorities for action in the year ahead
  • This presentation is a taster of the day to come and what is in the full reportOur vision is of a world where older people flourish and we are ambitious.We use our voice to campaign for change and we give older people a platform to speak up for themselves – for example we have just launched Age UK Radio[Add examples of non-campaigning activities if desired]But Important to remember ageing is a global issue. Next slide will show how the pace of change in the developing world is acceleratingUN predicts that by 2045 there the number of people over 60 will exceed numbers of children under 15 globally
  • Ageing populations around the world bring challenges in terms of demand on healthcare and the need for pensions but there are opportunities tooThroughout the world older people are making an enormous contribution – from the grandparents caring for children orphaned by HIV/AIDs in sub-Saharan Africa, to the retirees who are the lifeblood of parish councils and community organisations up and down the UK
  • There has been positive news in the past year to welcomethe abolition of the default retirement age which put a ‘best before’ date on millions of older workersthe report of the Dignity in Care Commission which is working to end the shameful mistreatment of older people in hospitals and care homes – you’ll hear more about the work of the Commission this afternoonThe Government’s proposals for a simpler, single-tier state pension at £140 a week But older people have not been unscathed by the deficit reduction programmeDeep cuts in non-ring-fenced areas of local authority spending such as the supporting people programme and social care are leaving the most vulnerable without help to live independentlyThe Government has announced a delay in the implementation of provisions of the Equality Act which would have outlawed age discrimination in goods and services And in a number of areas we see both opportunities and risksDiscussion of the economics of ageing could reinforce views of older people as a burden – or could lead to a welcome opportunity to invest in a better older age in its reform of public services, the Government has taken steps to roll back state intervention in our lives and increase choice and control. This offers the potential to move away from a ‘one size fits all’ model of later life – but without additional safeguards some of the most vulnerable may lose out
  • In order to judge how we are doing as a nation in meeting our aspirations for a better later life, Age UK tracks a number of key indicators showing how older people are faring.18 of our indicators have improved, but 15 have worsened – including some very important indicators such as people being readmitted to hospital as an emergencyIn the report you’ll find all the stats but to pick a few highlightsWe celebrate the continuing rise in the number of us who live into old age – 14.1 million aged 60+ in the UK, and 1.4m aged 85+. But this general picture masks a very diverse experience. Between the areas of the country with the highest average life expectancy at age 65, and the lowest, there is a gap of more than 8 years for men and 9 years for women – and this gap is growing.The spending of older people continues to increase – up to £109bn in 2010 from £102bn in 2009, making them a more attractive market for businessBut fuel poverty has soared to an estimated 3.3m older households (up from 2.75m), leaving some people with the choice of heating or eating. During the 4 years to Dec 2011, the typical annual electricity bill rose b y 40% and gas by 69%Against this backdrop, I want to turn to some of our priorities for action in the coming year
  • First, our vision of a world where older people have the opportunity to stay engaged in the economy and in society, combining work, leisure, family life and community participation as they choose.The % of people between 65 and 74 who volunteer is growing – as we know from the many older people who are the mainstay of so many Age UKs – but the % of people who are taking part in learning has fallen markedly, as opportunities for adult education are cut [JV to check it’s okay to say this]While the employment rate among older people has improved marginally, this masks problems for the 1m older people who want to work but cannot get a job – 42% of them have been out of work for at least 12 months, and 24% for at least 2 yearsAge discrimination is still a barrier to older people’s full participation in society. There is a big rise in the % of people in the UK who think it is widespread – this was such a big jump that I asked my researchers to check this figure but it is common across Europe. It may be due to greater awareness or possibility the economic crisis.What does this mean in practice? – in the report you will find story of John, who has worked as a legal clerk and in the House of Commons. When he was made redundant, he found a great deal of age discrimination, being told that he is ‘overqualified’ and even that he should retire!Our priorities for action to counter these problems are [read out]
  • Next our vision of a world where all current and future older generations have sufficient income from state and private sources to live comfortably and participate fully in society.This year we published research on the experiences of people living in poverty which showed how life becomes a long hard grind when you are poor: as one person in our research said:‘You just have to look and work things out and think: ‘I have got to do that so I can’t do that’The tragedy is that so often there are benefits going unclaimed – a third of those eligible for pension credit do not get itAnd we are worried about tomorrow’s pensions who are less likely to be saving into a private pensionAgainst this background we want to see: [read out]
  • Of course not all older people are poor and spending by older households is now up to £109bn a year – yet more than a third of older people think that businesses have little interest in their consumer needsHere’s an example of someone who wanted to take out a credit card: ‘The assistant dealing with me turned back and said, quite openly, ‘you’re too old for a card’ – I told that it was the most discriminatory thing anyone had ever said to me – she just repeated that it was the bank policy’We want to see competitive marketplaces that work for older people, offering a real choice of goods and services that meet their needs. But this must go hand in hand with effective consumer protection and strong consumer advocacy to drive improvements in the market. The Government’s proposals to transfer the consumer protection functions of the OFT to local authorities trading standards, coupled with cuts in local authority funding, are worryingThese days, to get the best as a consumer you often have to go online. Digital inclusion is improving but still 41% of people 65-74 have never used the internet, and 72% of those aged 75+. To improve matters for older consumers, we want to see [Read out priorities]
  • Significant changes to public health and the NHS in England are being planned. We want to see a world where all older people have the opportunity to optimise their health and wellbeing.It is shameful that although healthy life expectancy at age 65 has improved for women, it has got worse for men, and even more shameful that there is a gap of more than 10 years between local authorities with the best average expectancy and those with the worseIt is shameful that the numbers of people readmitted to hospital as an emergency has increasedIt is shameful that a fifth of patients are not treated with dignity and respect. As one person told us:‘Everyone knows that we are all going to die at some point, but I find it almost impossible to understand why the hospital did nothing to stop what turned out to be the last weeks of my mother’s life being the most distressing and emotionally upsetting period for all of us’We will get a chance to hear more about this important topic later, but here are our priorities for action [Read out]
  • At home, people should be able to access the help they need to stay well and independent. Yet our analysis shows that spending on older people’s care has reduced by £341m since 2010, 11, in spite of the Government’s intention to protect the frontline. Taking increasing demand into account, this had led to a £500m funding gapThe reality of the life for too many older people is loneliness and isolation. 7% of those aged 65+ told us they are often or always lonely, and it is shocking that a significant minority only get out of the house once a week or less.Others find their peace of mind damaged by fear of crime. Although in reality older people are less likely to be a victim overall, they are at greater risk of certain types of crime such as distraction burglary, and if they are victims, they often find their health suffersYou will hear much more about our priorities for care later today. To summarise, we are asking the Government to address the funding gap in care and implement the recommendations of the Dilnot Commission. There is significant pressure from older people for reform, with the mass lobby on care run by the Care and Support Alliance on Tuesday involving [number] people.But we also want to see older people enabled to live in suitable housing, within age-friendly environments, for as long as they want. To ensure that communities meet the needs and aspirations of their older citizens, councils must ensure that they listen to their voices, and the new police commissioners who will soon start work must ensure they tackle the fear of crime that can be so damaging.
  • To close, I want to set out a new approach to ageing. As more of us live longer, traditional concepts of the life course – education, followed by a job, followed by retirement – are breaking down, replaced by the idea of active ageing throughout our lives. We all have a role to play in bringing this about – and at Age UK we intend to play our part.READ OUT BULLETSThe UK is well able to respond to population ageing. Many of our growing older population are in good health, will retire with a decent income and a strong social network and have so much to offer society.Properly captured, the potential is enormous.

Tom Wright presentation Tom Wright presentation Presentation Transcript

  • Our Agenda for 2012Tom Wright CBEChief Executive, Age UK
  • Age UK – aiming to improve later life• We use our voice to campaign for change• We provide information and advice to more than 6 million people each year• Encourage and enable people to benefit from the digital world• Provide practical support to people at home• Tackle market failures with age-friendly services, products and partnerships• Commission research to tackle ill-health and boost quality of life• Work globally to help over a million people in developing countriesAcross our five pillars: Money Health & Home & Work & Travel & Matters Wellbeing Care Learning Lifestyle
  • Proportion of Population Aged 60 and over
  • Policy for later life in 2011Steps forwards:• Abolition of the Default Retirement Age• The report of the Dignity in Care Commission• Proposals for a simpler single-tier State PensionSteps backwards:• Impact of cuts and high living costs• Failure to implement Equality ActOpportunities and risks• The economics of ageing• Public service reform
  • The Age UK indicators Going forward Going backward Older population Longevity gap (UK and world) Employment Age discrimination Volunteering (65-74) Learning Bank accounts (85+) Paying into a non-state pension Size of the grey market Fuel poverty Digital inclusion Preventable deaths (stroke) Healthy life expectancy (women) Healthy life expectancy (men) Taking exercise (women) Taking exercise (men) Excess winter deaths Emergency hospital readmissions Loneliness Low level home help Direct payments Care or support at home Fear of crime (75+) Fear of violent crime (65-74) Direct payments
  • Work and Learning• Nearly a third aged 65-74 volunteer, and a fifth aged 75+, but learning has fallen• Employment rate of 50-64 age group improved marginally to 65%, but 1m workless people in this age group want to work• Perceived age discrimination up from 48% to 61%Priorities for 2012:• Full implementation of Equality Act• Increase support for training, promote flexible working and reflect needs of 50+ in Jobcentre Plus and the Work Programme• Provide resources and advice to help people participate in communities
  • Money Matters• Poverty is stable, but 16% still live below poverty line• A third of those eligible for pension credit do not get it• Tomorrow’s pensioners less likely to pay into non-state pension (down from 40% to 38%)Priorities for 2012:• A joint push on poverty and support for fuel poor households• Simpler, fairer pension of at least £140, with improvements for current pensioners needed too• Savers must get best value from private pensions, with low charges and action on ‘small pots’
  • Consumer and Lifestyle• Spending by older households now £109bn a year• Yet 39% of those aged 65+ see little business interest in their needs• Changes in consumer protection, information and advice are inadequate and potentially damaging• Digital inclusion improving, but still 41% of 64-74 have never used the internetPriorities for 2012:• Encouraging business to reflect diversity of older population through initiatives such as the Engage business network• Ensuring adequate funding for information, advice and advocacy• Avoiding a reduction in consumer protection• Support to get online, and offline access for essential services
  • Health and Wellbeing• Healthy life expectancy at 65 - up for women (11.7 years) but down for men (10 years), with big local variations• Emergency hospital readmissions up from 176,790 to 188,138• 21% of patients not treated with dignity and respectPriorities for 2012:• Local health boards and strategies must include needs of older people• Public Health and NHS outcomes must not discriminate• New NHS commissioning board must plan health services that better meet needs of older people• Implementing recommendations of Dignity in Care Commission
  • Home and Care• Spending on older people’s care reduced by £341m, in spite of Government’s intention to protect front-line (£500m funding gap)• 7% aged 65+ often or always lonely and 6% leave their homes once a week or less• Worry about crime – 13% aged 65-74 have high level of worry about violent crime, 6% aged 75+Priorities for 2012:• Address funding gap in care and implement Dilnot recommendations• Promoting high accessibility standards for homes and ‘age-friendly’ cities• Ensuring councils build effective consultation into their processes• Ensuring new police commissioners tackle crime affecting older people
  • Global ageing: humanitarian emergencies• 26 million older people affected by natural disasters every year• UK Government recognises older people as a vulnerable group in emergencies but still few mechanisms to respond to older people’s needs• Only 0.2 percent of UN appeals for humanitarian relief actually target older peoplePriorities for 2012• Ensuring the UK Government includes older people in emergency programmes• Encouraging other Governments and emergency relief organisations to improve their programmes to ensure they reach older people• Strengthening Age UK’s response to emergency appeals as a member of the Disasters Emergency Committee (DEC)
  • A new approach to ageing• Individuals need to take greater responsibility for planning their later lives• Business must better respond to older consumers• Civil society must forge stronger alliances to get results• Local government must listen more to older people, developing joined-up strategies that take into account their potential contributions• Central government must provide stronger leadership in setting an agenda for active ageing. The potential of an ageing population is enormous.