Older People’s Commissioner for Wales, Sarah Rochira, said: “As Commissioner I have seen for myself and heard from older people across Wales about the ways in which the rights of older people, particularly those who may be vulnerable, diminish as they get older, something that can have a devastating impact upon their lives.
“It is therefore essential that a rights-based approach is embedded across public services in Wales to not only ensure that older people have parity with other age groups, but also to ensure that their rights are promoted and protected so they can live free of abuse, neglect, ageism and discrimination, participate fully in their communities and thrive in older age.
“It is my view that the most effective way to ensure that this approach is adopted across Wales is through specific legislation that would create specific duties to protect and promote older people’s rights, in a similar way that the Children’s Measure strengthened the rights of children and young people in 2011, and make rights more relevant and real to individuals. This was a proposal I first made ahead of the last National Assembly election that subsequently received cross-party support and the support of the First Minister.
“Creating this legislation must remain a priority in Wales, but I understand that this is a process that will take time to deliver.
“In the meantime, it is essential that meaningful action is taken to ensure that the rights of older people across Wales are upheld and that there is a far greater focus on rights across government and public services. I have therefore been in discussions with the Welsh Government about the ways in which more immediate improvements could be delivered that would ensure greater protection for older people’s rights.
“I also support further action, such as the proposed older people’s charter, that will strengthen older people’s rights until the legislation that I have called for, legislation that older people feel is essential and would make a big difference to their lives, is taken forward and delivered.”