A Manifesto for growing old well in Newcastle upon Tyne
The fact that we are all living longer, mostly healthier, lives is having a significant impact on our city. As older citizens we have a role to play in making sure that Newcastle upon Tyne is a place where people can grow up, live their lives and grow old with good health and positive wellbeing throughout. Older people are a great asset to their communities and to the city itself. We act as carers for family and friends; we are the largest volunteering group; many pay taxes; and all contribute to the economy of the city in a variety of ways.
Since the Elders Council was first launched more than a decade ago we older people have worked to improve the lives of all older people in the city; we are committed to continue with this work and this statement sets out what we think the older people of the city can do. We are the “voice” of older people in the city:
• We will be active contributors in making Newcastle an age friendly city: by using our experience and skills: by developing our capacity to understand issues and create solutions: by engaging in research to help our understanding of people’s experiences and needs. We will use the evidence we gather to work with partners in designing a city with amenities and services appropriate to an ageing population.
• We will promote positive images of older people and challenge negative stereotypes. We will expect to be treated with dignity and respect
• We will continue to encourage people to plan ahead, and think about the changes they could make to give them the best chance of being able to live well, safely and independently at home.
• We will continue to encourage older people to adopt a positive attitude to ageing, promoting key messages about how we can maintain our own health and wellbeing, whilst being willing to accept help when it is needed.
• We will foster and support schemes which provide opportunities for older people to develop and maintain social connections and offer mutual support.
• We will help to ensure that older people are well informed about how to access health and care services and use them appropriately. We will actively contribute to the design of services to better meet the needs of an ageing population.
• We will lobby to keep our free bus pass, which is essential to our independence as well as bringing economic value to communities. We will continue to work for an integrated, good public transport system
• We will strive to develop opportunities for people to learn and maintain their digital skills, so that they continue to stay connected, informed and are able to access work opportunities and services more easily.
• We will continue to inspire and enable older people to be active in their local communities and the life of the city. We will continue to work towards 20 minute neighbourhoods.
• We will promote the wide range of cultural, leisure and learning opportunities available and encourage older people to participate.
As older people, we know that social care is in urgent need of reform with fewer people getting the help they might need to remain independent at home. A group of Elders Council members set out to explore alternative models of care and support. Their findings are available in a report in the Reports section of the website. Elders Council is now discussing the findings with Newcastle City Council and others in the hope that more innovative models of care will be offered in the city.