Older people

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Experience Counts: Haringey's strategy for improving the quality of life for older people

Experience Counts is a strategy that has been developed to tackle discrimination and to promote positive attitudes towards ageing in Haringey so that by 2010 "older people are enabled to be as informed, active, healthy and independent as possible and empowered citizens at the heart of the community".

Experience Counts covers all aspects of older people's lives represented by the ten goals below. Not all older people will identify with all of the goals all of the time, however, most will identify with at least one of them. Priorities to achieve each of these goals have been identified for the period 2005 - 2008.
  1. Being respected: to ensure that older people are respected and valued
  2. Keeping informed: to ensure that older people have accurate information on which to base their decisions
  3. Staying healthy: to promote healthy living
  4. Being active: to create opportunities for being active, including getting involved, volunteering, socialising and life long learning
  5. Choosing work: to create opportunities for employment
  6. Feeling safer: to create safer communities
  7. Having a safe, comfortable and well maintained home: to ensure that older people have a safe, comfortable and well-maintained home (and garden) which meets their needs
  8. Living with support: to enable older people to live independently with support for as long as possible in their own homes
  9. Getting out and about: to ensure that older people are able to get out and about, including being able to use public transport
  10. Making the most of your income: to enable older people to maximise their income.

Experience Counts is a strategy aimed at:
Active and independent older people: some of whom have completed their career in paid employment or child rearing; others may still be working or have caring responsibilities. Some older people remain active and independent into late old age; others may not.
Older people who are vulnerable: some of whom may have ill health or long-term conditions such as diabetes and dementia, or social care needs, or a combination of both.

This strategy was developed using a 'bottom - up' approach with the support of older people working in partnership with statutory and voluntary sector organisations. It will be monitored through the Haringey Strategic Partnership and the key priorities within each goal will be reviewed annually.

Report of 'Respect & Dignity' Meeting

- organised by the Haringey Forum for Older People - March 2006

Full Report

Respect is central to a sense of self worth and value for all people. It is Goal 1 of ‘Experience Counts’ Haringey’s Strategy for Older People. Lack of respect and dignity produces feelings of hurt, depression and anger.

Haringey Forum for Older People Respect and Dignity participants reported the lack of respect they experience in their daily lives e.g. rude bus drivers, shopkeepers, “loutish” behaviour from some younger people. The attitude that “old” means “stupid and incompetent” is widespread. This attitude is reflected in how older people are ignored by public and commercial services and in consultations about planning services.

Lack of public services - from the reduced GP appointments system, to the lack of public toilets and cuts in local Post Office services - cause particular difficulties for older people.

Older people are discriminated against in employment, both in recruitment and job security. Getting essential benefits and services is difficult for older people, and it results in them being unfairly discriminated against in areas like health care and pensions.

Services must appreciate the special needs of older people and make sure they are accessible e.g. chiropody services for all - raised repeatedly at every Forum meeting, adequate choice of housing which is properly monitored, and community mental health services to support people in living independently.

Giving and receiving respect relies on the older and younger generations being familiar with each other: opportunities for contact are essential to bridge generational divides.

To increase the sense of respect and decrease discrimination, the following changes should be made:

Ø Remember we need to give respect in order to receive it
Ø Improve public and community transport
Ø Better health and social care
Ø Stop age discrimination in employment
Ø Recognise, value and encourage the contribution of unpaid work i.e. volunteering
Ø Bring older and young people together in the community and in schools
Ø Reduce council tax so that it doesn’t hit older people’s income disproportionately
Ø More police and increased presence of wardens in public parks
Ø Stop means testing