Older campaigners and charity worker from across the country came together to lobby MPs, including Robert Buckland MP at an event in Parliament organised recently by the charity Age UK.
The Age Champions gathering held in the Speakers’ House was an opportunity for MPs to discuss many of the issues affecting people in later life from those who are experiencing them, and what government and communities can do in coming years to make the UK and South Swindon a better place to grow older.
They heard about the range of number of issues being faced by many people in later life and ways their support could help to improve their lives, including:
- The need to end the crisis in social care. Over 1 million older people who have difficulty with basic tasks such as getting out of bed, washing, and dressing receive no help or support.
- The urgent need for better housing and warm homes in winter. In 2012 there were over 600,000 older households living in fuel poverty.
- Loneliness is a big issue facing many older people. Around 1 million older people regularly go an entire month without speaking to anyone.
Age UK’s Chief Executive, Tom Wright OBE, addressed the event outlining the work that Age UK and it partners do in communities across the country to help and support older people in need. Professor James Goodwin, Age UK’s Head of Research, spoke about the UK’s ageing society and the challenges this presents us all, as well as opportunities. Finally, Age UK supporter Joan Manning gave a moving speech about her personal experience caring for her husband.
The Rt Hon John Bercow MP, the Speaker of the House of Commons, closed the speeches by thanking for MPs for their taking up such an important cause. Throughout the event MPs learned more how they can get involved with Age UK work as an Age Champion, and the opportunities that are available to them to speak up for older people.
Robert, right, has committed himself to being an Age Champion, saying: “Age UK provide an invaluable service to elderly people, and I pay tribute to their work. At some stage, many of us will rely on the kind of support that is offered by charities like Age UK, and I will continue to do all that I can as a local MP to help elderly residents in my constituency.”
For details of Age UK’s work and to contact your local Age UK see www.ageuk.org.uk