The Older People’s Commissioner for Wales is calling on political parties in Wales to make commitments in their upcoming manifestos to take action that will help to ensure that older people can live healthy and fulfilling lives in a society that is inclusive, recognises and values their significant contribution, and upholds people’s rights.
In her ‘Manifesto for the 2021 Senedd Election’, published today, the Commissioner sets out the action that the next Welsh Government needs to take immediately to enable older people to recover from the pandemic and be at the heart of our society, as well as the new legislation, policy and resource commitments that are needed to drive longer-term, structural change to improve the lives of older people throughout Wales during the next five years and beyond.
The Commissioner’s priorities for the next Welsh Government include ensuring older people can access the rehabilitation and support they may need following the pandemic, as well as action to make our communities more age friendly and support for older people to remain in or return to work.
The Commissioner is also calling for wider action to support healthy ageing, tackle the abuse of older people, eliminate age discrimination in the workplace, reduce levels of poverty and fuel poverty, and provide greater support for unpaid carers.
Whilst much of what the Commissioner is calling for can be delivered through existing Welsh Government powers and mechanisms, she has also outlined the legislation needed to deliver meaningful change for older people. This includes legislation to protect and promote older people’s rights, a new social care act to increase investment in our social care system, including growing the social care workforce and improving terms and conditions for current and future staff, and legislation to establish a right to digital connectivity for all.
Manifesto for the 2021 Senedd Election also includes a set of core principles to underpin and guide the next Welsh Government’s approach to governing to ensure that the voices and experiences of older people in all of their diversity are used to shape policy and practice and are an essential part of the decision making process.
Older People’s Commissioner for Wales, Heléna Herklots CBE, said:
“The political choices and decisions taken by the next Welsh Government will dramatically impact on older people’s lives, both now and into the future and whilst Wales’ recovery from the pandemic will bring many challenges with it, there are also opportunities ahead.
“I’ve set out the action that’s needed immediately and in the longer term to ensure that older people are not left behind as Wales moves forward, and I hope my calls will be reflected in the manifestos of political parties that are due to be published soon.
“Making these commitments would send a strong message to older people throughout Wales that supporting them to recover from the direct and indirect effects of the pandemic and tackling the issues and challenges that impact upon their lives are a key priority .
“During the past year, we have seen the compassion in our local communities and public services, which has led to vital action to support each other.
“By taking forward the action I am calling for, the next Welsh Government can build on the new partnerships and initiatives now underway, inspire and support new action, and work with and for older people to deliver meaningful change as it leads us in meeting the challenges and seizing the opportunities ahead of us.”
Click here to read Manifesto for the 2021 Senedd Election