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Thursday, April 25, 2013

Ready for Ageing Alliance - will it make a difference?

This is a quote from a press release to announce the formation of a new pressure group:

Six major national charities: Age UK, Anchor, the Centre for Policy on Ageing, Independent Age, the International Longevity Centre-UK and the Joseph Rowntree Foundation have today formed the Ready for Ageing Alliance to urge the Government and all political parties to face up to the major changes and challenges from our rapidly ageing society. 
Last month’s ‘Ready for Ageing’ report by the Public Service and Demographic Change Committee argued that there has been a lack of vision and coherence in the ageing strategies of successive governments. The Committee accused the Government of “woeful unpreparedness” for our ageing society. 
The Ready for Ageing Alliance believes that living longer is potentially a great gift but that politicians must do more to make the most of this huge societal change. The Alliance believes that Government failure to respond to demographic change will have significant and major negative impacts on the future of the UK, not just in terms of health, care and pensions, but also in relation to the future success of the UK’s economy. A failure to respond adequately now could also foster unhelpful intergeneration tensions and division into the long term.

On Tuesday there was a conference about the House of Lord's research. You can see the recording of the live blog that documented what was said and the Q&A session.

I wish this new group the best of luck. I know some of the people involved and they are genuine people who want to make a difference. 

If you detect a hesitancy in my comments and a lingering 'but' about to leap of the page you are right. There are countless pressure groups and zillions of pages of analysis and reports about the impact of ageing. 

I have sat through more discussions about the impact of the ageing population than most people and it is odd that one thing that rarely is discussed is the vision of what a successful age-friendly society would look like. I don't mean lots of waffling statements about inclusivity and intergenerational fairness .. I mean, what would be the detailed metrics of the health, care, economic and social dimensions of society be if we had 'cracked the problem'. How would we know that we had succeeded? 

For instance - what would be the correct number of geriatric consultants and qualified nurses to visit people in their homes. What would be the correct care contact time? 

The organisations that have come together to form this alliance have the skills and resources to do this work. Will they do it? Time will tell. 

Something I know for certain. Vague statements and requests are met by vague but reassuring responses. Dick Stroud

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