What can Councils do for older Londoners?

What can Councils do for Older Londoners?

“Many of the things we are calling on Councils to do also help tackle loneliness, a problem for many older people (and not only older people). A preventive approach to health and social care could support services like befriending which tackle isolation. Better pavement and street repair and more accessible neighbourhoods will encourage people to come out and take part in their local community.”

With the local council elections taking place this week, Gordon Deuchars answers the question: What can Councils do to make their boroughs age friendly?

An older man and two older women laughing over a cup of tea

Our Manifesto: Make London’s Boroughs Age Friendly!

“The London local elections are rapidly approaching, with polling day set for Thursday May 3rd. Four years on from the last London borough elections, all London borough councillor seats are set to be decided, alongside Mayoral contests in Hackney, Lewisham, Newham, and Tower Hamlets.

As London continues to grow in size, the number of older Londoners is increasing too – a 2016 estimate revealed that over a million Londoners were aged 65+ and 140,000 of that total were over the age of 85. A socially and economically diverse demographic, older Londoners contribute massively to every borough of the capital, as paid workers, volunteers, carers, family members, community activists, and in a whole host of other ways. As the number of older Londoners continues to increase, so too will these vital contributions to city life.

However, there are also a large number of older Londoners who are experiencing poverty and inequality, just like London’s other demographics. Whilst poverty amongst older people had been falling, there has sadly been a recent increase in the number of people who have dipped below the poverty line in later life. London’s housing crisis continues to affect people of all ages, with a serious lack of affordable housing in many areas. Loneliness too is an intergenerational concern, yet isolation is a particular concern for the older generation. The Jo Cox Commission on Loneliness has discovered that ‘more than 1 in 3 people aged 75 and over say that feelings of loneliness are out of their control.'”

Age UKs across London are proud to present “Make London’s Boroughs Age Friendly!” a manifesto for the upcoming London borough Council elections.

Power of Touch

The Power of Touch in Tackling Loneliness

“It’s estimated that 1.2 million people are chronically lonely in the UK. The support structures for loneliness aren’t always strong, and it’s believed that around one in ten people visit their GP surgery because they are lonely. According to a report by the Campaign to End Loneliness, around two fifths of older people said that television was their main source of company. The pain associated with loneliness, has been compared to physical pain and the health effects of loneliness are astounding. It’s been compared to smoking 15 cigarettes a day, and is estimated to be twice as deadly as obesity. In addition, the risk of developing high blood pressure, dementia, depression and anxiety increase for those dealing with loneliness.”

With over 44,000 older Londoners described as “chronically lonely”, Ryan Mizzen looks at the consequences of a lack of physical contact on the health and wellbeing of older people.

Let's talk

Let’s Talk – Reducing Isolation Through Communication

“It all started 5 years ago, when as a member of a London Rotary Club, I had been asked to give a talk on my work (public speaking) to some residents of a care home at Friern Barnet – called Lady Sarah Cohen House. On arrival, notes at the ready, it became quickly evident that my audience wanted to talk to me about their experiences instead, so I abandoned my speech and listened to them! They were an amazing, inspiring group and I vowed to return.”

Find out how the Let’s Talk discussion groups are helping to reduce isolation in care homes across London.

Royal Parks Half 2

Running the Royal Parks Half Marathon

“What also keeps me going when my lungs feel like they’re on fire and my legs feel like lead, is the knowledge that I am raising money for such a worthwhile cause. It was impossible choosing a charity to run for, all are fantastic, however, whenever I read in the press about older people being lonely, without heating or enough to eat, it strikes a chord. A study, the findings of which were released earlier this month, suggests that loneliness is deadlier than obesity.”

This week’s blog comes from Chloe Smith, who is one of five fundraisers undertaking the Royal Parks Half Marathon on behalf of Age UK London! Chloe takes us through the preparation needed to tackle the 13.1 miles and explains what inspired her to raise money for older Londoners.

Gangsta Granny

Gangsta Granny!

Today is an exciting day for us at Age UK London – we’re heading down to the Garrick Theatre in the West End to raise funds at the matinee showing of Gangsta Granny! If you’re at the show today be sure to say hello to our group of volunteers who’ll be collecting to make sure that we can continue to make the voices of older Londoners as loud as possible.

Seeing as Gangsta Granny is set to run until September 3rd, we thought it’d be fun to tell you a little more about the show and discuss the lessons it teaches us.

great get together

The Great Get Together – A Celebration of Unity

“As Brendan Cox said when launching the Great Get Together “Whether it is elections, referendums or social media sparring, we find plenty of opportunities to talk about things that we disagree with each other on, but far too few occasions to celebrate the things that bring us together.” This weekend let’s come together and celebrate what unites us.”

To support the amazing Jo Cox Foundation, our blog this week is on the theme of “What unites us?”. Hopefully, this will spur you on to join the Great Get Together:

Harry Brown

Ageism in Film #8 – Harry Brown

“I first watched Harry Brown seven years ago. Before viewing it again this week my memory was of some form of horrific, vigilante buddy-movie starring Michael Caine and Filch from Harry Potter. Time had clearly faded the reality of what the film was about, if not the essence; though a ‘buddy-movie’ this is not!”

In the eighth edition of our monthly series on ageing in film, Danny Elliott discusses isolation and loss of community in the vigilante thriller Harry Brown.

Jo Cox Commission

The Jo Cox Commission on Loneliness

The Jo Cox Commission on Loneliness shone the spotlight on isolation amongst older people between March and April 2017. Whilst loneliness affects people of all ages and walks of life, older people are especially at risk as they are more likely to experience deteriorating health and the death of a loved one.

It is our responsibility to continue to raise awareness around loneliness and the ways in which we can combat it.