Older people ‘seen as a burden’
Most older people are rarely consulted about services which impact on their lives, leaving them feeling “stereotyped and ignored”, according to a new report.
A survey of 700 people over the age of 65 revealed that most feared they were seen as a burden on society, with the media encouraging the idea that they were a “problem.”
The report, by Brunel University, De Montfort University and older people’s charity the Royal Voluntary Service, said traditional services for older people encouraged “passivity and dependence”.
One in six of those polled said services offered were stereotypical ones which people thought older people would like.
David McCullough, Royal Voluntary Service chief executive, said: “The fact that, as a society, we are living longer is a wonderful thing but the challenges that this brings with it has led to older people being seen as a burden.
“This report lays out what many of us already know: that older people have a huge amount to give back to society and we should harness that expertise and enthusiasm to make services better for older people by involving them more in decision making.”
Care and Support Minister Norman Lamb said: “Our whole approach to health and care should be based on trying to help people have a good life. It’s self-evident that this has to be based on ensuring that older people have a voice.
“We must challenge negative language about ‘burdens’. We know older people have a great deal of experience and knowledge and make an extraordinary contribution to our health and care system. I welcome the report as an important step towards a positive later life for older people in England.”
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