Wednesday, 26 June 2013

Britain is confirmed as no country for old men by its old men in their 'Shaping Our Age' report

A three-year research project, called 'Shaping our Age', which challenged the portrayal of old people and the assumptions that those providing services for them often make, published its report today.
Its findings are based on what old men and women in Britain themselves think and it concludes that :

* 71% say that they are 'rarely or never consulted on services that impact their life.'

* 61% think that society sees them as 'a burden'.

* 57% think that 'the media encourages the idea that older people are a problem for society.'

* 66% feel that 'they are stereotyped.'

* 56% think that old people 'are ignored.'

* 62%  'do not feel as old.'

* 61% 'don’t see age as important.'

* only 33% feel 'that the contribution that old people make to society is recognised.'

The Report also said of  traditional services for old people :
* whilst addressing important practical needs, can also encourage 'passivity and dependence.'

* do things 'for' old people rather than working alongside them, involving them and responding to what they themselves would like.

* are not used by 65% and of those who do those that do, one in ten feel that the services provided are neither 'not really what they want' nor are 'interesting or stimulating enough.'

* are considered by 16% to be 'stereotypical ones' which people think that 'old people would like.'

David McCullough, Royal Voluntary Service Chief Executive, said:
“The fact that, as a society, we are living longer is a wonderful thing but the challenges that this brings with it has led to older people being seen as a burden. This Report lays out what many of us already know: that older people have a huge amount to give back to society and we should harness that expertise and enthusiasm to make services better for older people by involving them more in decision making. 'Shaping our Age' is an exciting and innovative research project which should act as a wake-up call for those of us providing services for older people.”
Professor Peter Beresford OBE, Director, Centre for Citizen Participation, Brunel University, said:
“The biggest issue older people see as needed for improving their well-being is more social contact and they want to play a bigger part in changing things for the better. Services for older people have to shift from a paternalistic ‘doing-to’ model to the ‘involvement-led’ approach older people value. What’s needed now are the twenty-first century equivalent of the old ‘Darby and Joan’ clubs, not just more of the same”.

Jennie Fleming, Reader in Participatory Research and Social Action, Centre for Social Action, De Montfort University, said:
“'Shaping our Age' clearly demonstrates the need to involve older people more in both the debate around their own well-being, but also the actual services that they use. Participation in activities makes a massive difference to an older person’s sense of well-being and that in turn can have a positive effect on loneliness, which we know has a knock on impact on mental and physical health.”

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