Sent on behalf of Older People’s Commissioner for Wales
Today, I am publishing Leave No-one Behind: Action for an age-friendly recovery, which sets out the action needed to respond to the most pressing challenges facing older people and the longer-term work required to ensure that older people are not left behind in the reconstruction of our society over the coming months and beyond.
Many of the calls for action in the report are drawn from discussions at engagement sessions with older people, community groups and others, together with evidence and analysis carried out by my office. There are actions which I believe Welsh Government needs to take, and I have also highlighted areas for action by public bodies and others, as well as indicating some of the areas where I am taking action and working with others to achieve change. It is clear from my engagement with older people that many continue to endure extremely difficult circumstances due to the pandemic, which have taken their toll and left some feeling worried about what the future holds and without the confidence needed to get out and about and reengage with their communities. I have also been concerned, and remain so, about the extent to which older people’s rights have been protected and the need to ensure that rights that have been removed are reinstated.
Despite these difficult circumstances, the pandemic has also shown some of the best of who we are. I have heard so many inspiring stories of how people have been helping each other, of the way in which community organisations and many public bodies have responded quickly to what is needed and been creative in finding new ways to reach, connect and help. It is crucial that we harness these positive experiences into the next phase of the pandemic and engage and enable older people to play their part in a recovery from COVID-19 which utilises the experience and expertise of each and every generation and takes the next steps together.
A time of uncertainty and challenge lies ahead, and we need to ensure that lessons are learnt from the experiences of the last few months. Older people’s rights need to be better protected, and where they have been removed, reinstated. The exclusion that many older people have experienced and felt must not be allowed to continue. Those that have suffered loss of loved ones need to be supported as they grieve, and those who have been kept apart from loved ones re-united. As plans are made across Government and public bodies to transition from this phase of the pandemic, the pledge must be to ‘leave no-one behind’.
We will be holding an online discussion and debate on ‘Leaving No-One Behind’ on the International Day of Older Persons, Thursday 1st October 10 am – 12 noon. Please hold the date and we will send further details to you.
Comisiynydd Pobl Hŷn Cymru / Older People’s Commissioner for Wales