Who teaches us what to expect when we’re getting older? Answer; Nobody.
However, the Ready for Ageing Alliance has launched its manifesto for action, ‘Getting Ready for Ageing’. Although prepared for the British public, its lessons are globally applicable and something everyone (over 50) should read.
This follows a previously published eleven point prescription to help individuals prepare for ageing.
The manifesto sets out detailed recommendations for public policy covering housing; health & social care; the economy and communities and calls for Government to take the lead, with a single point of contact, at (UK) Cabinet level, responsible for age and ageing policy.
This manifesto calls on the UK Government to:
- Stop seeing ageing as being just about older people – if we wait until we are 60 or 70 to prepare we’ll have left it too late. That’s why the Alliance wants everyone to be sent a pack at 50 giving information and advice. Great idea but hard for people of that age to accept!
- End age discrimination – Legislation has gone some way to preventing discrimination on grounds of age but bizarrely financial services are exempt and hidden discrimination remains in many walks of life
- Stop operating hospitals on a model designed for the past – Staff/patient ratios on hospital wards for older patients are often lower than on general wards, yet older people often need more help – e.g. to eat and drink
- Stop undervaluing the over 65s, who currently spend a massive £2.2 billion a week and contribute £61billion to the economy through employment, icaring and volunteering.
- Stop ignoring the fact that many older workers are forced to leave the labour market early. Start building more flexible work opportunities to make it possible for family members of all ages juggle work and care for older relatives.
Banks, insurance and pharma companies should embrace this thinking and (with our help) package a ‘how to prepare for ageing’ seminar to attract and retain their customers. This model has been tried and tested with great success in some major markets.