Welcome to the Older People’s Commissioner for Wales stakeholder newsletter.
This is designed to keep you up to date, at a glance, with the work of the Commissioner and her team as well as key developments in policy and practice concerning ageing and older people.
If you would like more information about any of the items or have any questions, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org
Commissioner’s campaign shows benefit of action on Pension Credit take-up
The Commissioner has released data showing an increase in the number of new claimants of Pension Credit during the period she ran a campaign to increase awareness of this important financial entitlement in Autumn 2019.
The Commissioner worked with Transport for Wales to include an information leaflet about Pension Credit with all renewed concessionary bus passes that were being sent to everyone in Wales over the age of 60.
Over 500,000 leaflets were distributed and data from the Department for Work and Pensions shows new claimants in Wales were 26% higher in that period than the average over the last two years. This increase in new claimants was worth over £10,000 a week to older people throughout Wales, which would be an additional £500,000 over a year to support some of the poorest in our communities.
Commissioner strongly welcomes resumption of care home visits
The Commissioner has been calling for action to enable safe visits to care homes to be a priority as restrictions are eased and has welcomed the decision by the Welsh Government to allow indoor care home visits to restart. It is vital that partners continue to work together to make sure that as many safe visits can take place as possible.
The Commissioner will be continuing to monitor what is happening and friends or family with concerns can get in touch with the Commissioner’s casework team who can provide advice and support.
Taking action to tackle the abuse of older people
The Commissioner has welcomed cross-party support for her calls to take action to tackle the abuse of older people during the next Senedd term.
Representatives from Plaid Cymru, the Welsh Conservatives and Welsh Labour have all made pledges stating they will take action to ensure that there is a better understanding of the ways that abuse can affect older people, will raise awareness amongst the public and professionals of this abuse, and will put measures in place to eliminate abuse, either as part of the next Welsh Government or working constructively in opposition.
Engagement with older people
The Commissioner is continuing her engagement with older people throughout Wales to hear about their experiences during the pandemic, in particular about how older people’s mental health has been affected.
The engagement sessions are taking place online, due to the ongoing Covid-19 restrictions, but are clustered on particular localities. There are sessions arranged in April for older people, and organisations that support them, from Swansea/NPT/Bridgend, West Wales, Gwent, North East Wales, and North West Wales.
If you would like to attend one of these meetings, please contact the Commissioner’s Engagement and Events Coordinator using the link below.
Cross party group on Intergenerational Solidarity
In November 2020, the Commissioner supported the establishment of a new cross-party group in the Senedd focusing on strengthening solidarity between generations. The group has brought together politicians from across the Senedd with key academic researchers, practitioners with experience of running intergenerational projects, and representatives of older and younger people, including Wales’ Older People’s, Children’s and Future Generations commissioners.
In March, the group published its four priority areas (tackling loneliness and isolation; lifelong learning; ageism; and skills and the economy) and set out a series of calls for the next Welsh Government to take forward to strengthen and support intergenerational solidarity over the next Senedd term.
WHO Global Report on Ageism
As part of its Global Campaign to Combat Ageism, the World Health Organisation has published a landmark Global Report on Ageism, which sets out a framework for action to reduce ageism, including specific recommendations for international, national and local organisations.
The report brings together the best available evidence about the scale and impact of ageism, highlights the strategies that work best to prevent and counter ageism, and identifies gaps in current research and future lines of inquiry to improve our understanding of ageism.
The report is accompanied by a toolkit to support individuals and organisations to learn more about ageism and how they can play their part in tackling it, as well as a guide for initiating conversations about ageism to challenge assumptions and negative attitudes towards older people.
The Commissioner will be considering how this report can support her priority to end ageism and age discrimination and will be continuing to engage with the World Health Organisation on this issue and more broadly on creating age-friendly communities throughout Wales.
Consultation focus: Strategy for an Ageing Society
The Commissioner welcomed the overall vision set out in the Welsh Government’s Strategy for an Ageing society, particularly the commitment to take a rights-based approach throughout and the recognition of the need to tackle ageism and age discrimination.
Many of the commitments set out in the Strategy align with the Commissioner’s three priorities, particularly support for the development of age-friendly communities and the commitment to publish an action plan to tackle the abuse of older people before the end of 2021.
However, the Strategy does need to better recognise the impact that the Covid-19 pandemic has had on older people and ensure that they are fully considered during the recovery and reconstruction from this period. The Commissioner’s response also noted that the Strategy should include a commitment to embed the UN Principles for Older Persons in domestic legislation and be amended to broaden its understanding of the diversity and intersectionality of issues affecting older people.