Cymru Older People’s Alliance (COPA) want to highlight the advantages to local communities of independent representation of older people by older people through active and vibrant older people’s forums and groups. In research completed by COPA, Forums have been identified as variable across the country and a strong case for them to be strengthened and regenerated has been made.
Welsh Government have published a National Strategy and Delivery Plan to address the impacts of an ageing population and meet the national objective to create age-friendly communities across Wales The independent and self-determined voice of older people through Forums can help ensure policies and services for older people are developed and informed from the direct experience of those receiving them.
The role of Local Authorities in Wales is crucial in implementation of plans to address the implications of an ageing population. The role and value of engagement with older people in their responses to this, through a “redistribution of power from policy makers to older people” is an important principle that COPA believe will achieve more meaningful engagement.
In complying with their overarching statutory duties in respect of the United Nations Principles for Older Persons and co-production, there is a good basis for Councils to support independent Forums and commit some limited capacity and resources to them.
The main principle of the need for an independent 50+ forum /group is that the voice of older people can be heard and acted upon in each Council area, contributing on the basis of self-determination and without “fear or favour”. Recognition and development of age-friendly communities in Wales must be based on co-productive engagement of older people if the World Health Organisation requirements are to be met.
A copy of the Journal Article published in November 2022 in “Working With Older People” (Emerald Publishing) can be found here https://www.emerald.com/insight/content/doi/10.1108/WWOP-09-2022-0038/full/html