As society gets older, ensuring older people can lead independent, empowered lives will at some stage be a personal concern for most of us. But identifying what older people want from the services they receive is already a pressing issue for a range of service providers. As the personalisation agenda begins to take hold, the influence of older people is expanding beyond the use of personal budgets. Increasingly, public bodies are involving older people in decisions about commissioning, ensuring local services are built around the aspirations of those in later life.
Central to all this is improving quality of life in later years. By identifying what it is older people want and need, public bodies are able to target resources at the things that add value to life: practical home support, social inclusion activities, preventative health, and so on. The goal is to ensure that what is held most dear to old people is protected and promoted, to ensure their later years are years in which they are independent, connected with society, and surrounded by emotional support. Our work in this area is aimed at identifying and dismantling the barriers to older people’s civic engagement and empowering them with the skills to participate in the policy arena. In this way, we hope to increase their involvement in the shape and design of services, promoting their independence and firing their self-belief.
The problems we’re solving
- developing an in-depth and wide-ranging evidence base of the support needs and aspirations of black and minority ethnic (BME) older people
- developing older people engagement strategies based on individuals, not stereotypes
What we’re doing
We’re working in partnership with Age UK to help increase the number of people from BME backgrounds who participate in consultations, ward and constituency meetings, and so on. As part of the project, we have already engaged with over 300 BME older people to explore their concerns and aspirations for the future through interactive focus groups. We are also exploring non-traditional engagement activities that help older people feel better prepared, equipped and informed when participating in civic engagement.
What other people are saying
The Later Matters project is funded through the Tackling Race Inequalities Fund. The Department for Communities and Local Government have produced a round-up of the programme’s activities in which they talk about our work supporting minority ethnic older people to get involved in civic participation initiatives. To read more, click here.