Age Cymru and the Older People’s Commissioner for Wales, Heléna Herklots CBE, are encouraging older people throughout Wales to ‘Ask about advocacy’, something that can help them to make their voices heard and ensure their rights are upheld.
To highlight the importance of advocacy and the ways in which it can support older people, they have launched a new awareness-raising video, alongside a new online advocacy resources hub, which provides a range of useful information and resources for older people and those working with and for them.
The video tells the story of Betty, who wants to return home following a hospital stay, but finds that no-one is listening to her wishes and that she is unable to make her voice heard.
Older People’s Commissioner for Wales, Heléna Herklots CBE, said:
“Ensuring that older people have a strong voice so they can participate in and guide decisions being made about their lives in a meaningful way is vital.
“For some older people, the only way to achieve this will be with the support of an advocate who can represent their views and speak out on their behalf.
“However, a key finding of the advocacy report published by my office last year was that older people and professionals are often unaware of advocacy services and the positive difference they can make to people’s lives, particularly those who may be vulnerable.
“That’s why I have worked in partnership with Age Cymru to produce this video and online resources hub – to raise awareness about the importance of advocacy and the ways in which it can help and support older people.”
Age Cymru has shown a major commitment to the development and sustainability of independent advocacy services for older people and citizens in general over the last 12 years and in 2016 was funded by the Welsh Government to support the implementation of Part 10 (advocacy) of the Social Services and Wellbeing (Wales) Act 2014. Through the Golden Thread Advocacy Programme, they support local authorities in their advocacy commissioning, work to improve the capacity of the advocacy sector and raise awareness of advocacy more broadly.
Age Cymru’s chief executive Victoria Lloyd, said: “Advocacy can be crucial in helping to maintain an individual’s dignity and uphold their basic human rights.
“It can support vulnerable adults in a wide variety of issues such as arranging and paying for care, dealing with finances and arranging suitable accommodation. It can also support individuals who may have been neglected or who are suffering some form of abuse.
“Reflecting the importance of advocacy, the Welsh Government has recently introduced legislation requiring local authorities to consider whether an individual seeking support from social services may need independent professional advocacy.
“So it is important that individuals seeking support and the agencies providing that support have access to the right information. Hopefully, this new video and hub will go a long way towards meeting that need.”
The video, which will be shared with older people and professionals via social media, is available to view here:
It will also be distributed to members of the Commissioner’s Ageing Well network and will be shown at events and seminars for professionals and volunteers working with and for older people.
The online resources hub can be accessed via the Advocacy Hub.
Older people can also get information and advice about Advocacy by contacting Age Cymru’s Advice Line on 08000 223 444 or the Commissioner’s Casework Team on 03442 640 670.