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  • chris walsh

fighting for older people's rights

Hi I am writing this in my personal capacity and thus neither Wise Age, Positive Ageing in London, EngAgeNet nor Age Platform Europe (all of which I am a member of) can be held responsible for these my personal comments and beliefs. It is a long uphill struggle trying to both contest the ageist myths and prejudices which have always been there but are now in full swing during this time of coronavirus. But we are trying. Our current educational campaigns are centred around 2 themes. One, the digital divide - whereby the millions of people are excluded from receiving or interacting with online information as they do not have access to either an up to date computer or smart phone - to try to get local, regional and national government to communicate to those people in printed form. We have been requesting this is done by local London councils, the Mayor of London and GLA and the government and health agencies. The argument used by the GLA is that it is too costly to send out in the post letters to all older Londoners ( whether over 50 or over 65). However what we have been arguing for is that newsletters are sent out to older residents with useful advice, links, inspiration and ideas about how people can stay healthy and active and engaged and are then sent to council hubs and mutual aid groups and other volunteers who can distribute them along with food and medicines to those who are deemed vulnerable and sent to healthy older people through using lists of those for example who have a senior travel card. We have been sending out examples of these newsletters fortnightly which are being distributed though our members and partners, but unfortunately due to limited funds we have to only send them out by email and ask people to print them off locally

We are also trying to promote the positive things which older people bring to society and the economy , such as 71% of 50- 65 year olds are in work and 1.25 million pensioner still are working, while over half of all carers are aged 50 - 65 and there are many more who care right up to their 90s, plus without older people, the voluntary sector - so important at this time- would collapse. But all we get is the equation of vulnerable elderly with all older people, when there are millions of us who are healthy, active and want to help and stay involved

This is one fight which we are beginning to win as even the governmant's chief medical officer agrees this is a problem which should be addressed. Watch this space or go to PAIiL's website www.pailondon.org.uk

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