This week’s IDOP event was celebrating 15 years of hard work by some charities, agencies and dedicated old people to make older people more valued as citizens and provide them with a better quality of life especially those that are frail and not in good health. The event showcased many of the wonderful things that are undertaken by older people, the neighbourhood networks, Age UK and many other organisations.
As an older person passionate about making things better for my peer group but just as committed to making things better for everyone, young, old or in between, I feel that we all have to work together. I am proud to be a member of Leeds Older People’s Forum, whose principle purpose is to inform and support older people and the many organisations that work for the well being of older people and it believes that to fully achieve this work it has to be tackled at an intergenerational level.
Things are financially tight at present and there is not enough money to deliver the excellent services that we want and believe we deserve.
In my opinion the way we can get round this to some extent is to work together to help ourselves, just as we did during World War II. Older people already do much. They look after grandchildren, are carers help with teaching reading in primary schools, involved with improving the lives of unemployed youngsters and do many different types of voluntary work. Potentially we could use older school children, students, the unemployed and people having free time not just for entertaining old people but actually doing work, which would otherwise not be done.
During the war the older school pupils under supervision were used for helping with cleaning, working on farms and undertaking all sorts of tasks for which paid labour was no available. This sort of “life experience” could be integrated into the school curriculum and even such tasks as helping to feed patients in hospital, care homes, etc. could be undertaken.
There are many more things that could be done not just to help the elderly and disabled but to help the economy. I am aware that young offenders are taken out to do useful work such as painting and decorating. I am sure that with some careful planning we could make use of these many untapped sources.
Now in the twilight of life, with much experience behind me I would like my voice to be heard and listened to. At this late stage of life, the elderly need support and there are in my opinion three areas that are of great importance.
They are :
- Good quality housing, especially for those who are tenants and tend to be disregarded.
- Health care, both at home in hospital, residential and care homes.
- Education and information.
Although I have highlighted them for the elderly, these issues are important for all citizens. Obviously we need to prioritise however the ill, disabled and elderly do not have time to wait.
In conclusion just some thoughts about the future of IDOP. It is great to have a yearly event. I would like to see it on a much bigger scale and to involve all the generations and have some sort of dialogue/interaction. I would like also to hear about the elderly in other countries. Perhaps we could have speakers or even films. I am already looking forward to our next event.
Trude Silman 2nd October 2013
Trude, thank you for talking to us and sharing your thoughts.
See also the post about International Day of Older People and the 4th Generation