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Briefing Papers

Part of the remit of Age Action is to advocate Government and other bodies on behalf of older people. We have grown to become the leading advocacy organisation for older people - we are the “voice” of older people.

 

 

We are in a major crisis as the savings and incomes of older persons will reduce by nearly 10% in their spending power. The average older person living alone will lose €1,532 in spending power by end-2022 and the average older couple will lose €3,364. By the end of the period 2021-2023, the total loss for older persons could be 20% or more of their spending power, double the above figures, and most of them have no way of replacing this loss. This briefing paper seets out the loss of spending power being experienced by older persons and why the State Pension must be raised €23, as the bedrock of income in older age for most people in Ireland, and why the rate should go up from Budget Day rather than next January. 

Our use of technology is changing at pace. Across all levels of Irish society, we are witnessing a growth in the need to adapt to new digitalised ways of living within our social, cultural, personal, and professional lives. Amidst these developments, it has become increasingly recognised that some groups in society have been experiencing unique challenges with such rapid change. One such group is that of older men in rural areas of Ireland. This report provides an overview of current research evidence on the experience of older men with digital technology. In addition, this report also documents the lived experience of 29 older men from rural Ireland in respect to their personal experiences and feelings with technology, and their opinions on the key barriers and facilitators.  Building on Age Action's published report Digital Inclusion and an Ageing Population (2021) which underscored the opportunities for adopting a rights-based approach in building a response to digital literacy issues this report finds that best practice approaches in the research literature suggest that a participatory approach to methodologies that can illuminate the ‘voice’ of the individual is most appropriate.

This report was funded through Movember’s Social Connections Challenge with research conducted by Dr. Darragh McCashin Assistant Professor, DCU School of Psychology) Órla McGovern, MSc (MSc., Research Assistant, DCU School of Psychology) Suzanne Smith, MSc (MSc., Living Labs Manager, Netwell CASALA).

Establishing a Commissioner for Ageing and Older Persons, with a supporting legal framework and an independent budget, would ensure that we are all treated with respect and on an equal basis with the rest of the population in older age.

A Commissioner would provide an opportunity to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of society’s approach to an ageing population by bringing an appropriate level of insight, representation and transparency to policy on ageing. A Commissioner would provide an independent voice to Government on the needs of current and future older people, and promote cohesive, efficient, best-practice Government policy and services for the growing number of older persons.

(March 2022) Most older persons are on modest or low incomes, and they will find it hard to cope with the severe price increases we are seeing now, on top of last year’s price hikes. 

In the past, the Government guaranteed a quantity of energy to every older person, to make sure that that they could keep their homes warm. From 1968 to 2013, older persons were granted up to 2,400 units of electricity per year, or the equivalent of gas, which protected them from prices rises, including the oil crisis of the 70s and other economic shocks.  Age Action is calling on the Government to return to a policy of giving older persons a guaranteed quantity of energy to meet their basic needs. 

(October 2021) Digital first should not mean digital only because two-thirds of older people are either not using the internet at all or else have below basic skills. In the policy brief, Digital Inclusion and an Ageing Population - Ensuring Equality and Rights for All of Us as We Age, Age Action is calling for more digital training but also continued access to services through traditional channels.

Full Policy Brief here

Summary Policy Brief here

(September 2021) Age Action's briefing paper Ageism and Age Equality presents a sample of the UN Global Report on Ageism's findings to an Irish audience, to highlight the reality of ageism in Ireland and the need for decisive action from Government, business and society to address ageism.

Fully Policy Brief here

Summary Policy Brief here 

Supporting Digital Literacy Among Older People

The majority of older people have never been online and digital literacy rates among older people in Ireland lag far behind our EU neighbours. 

Over half of Irish people aged between 65 and 74 have never used the internet, locking older people out of a huge range of benefits. It is not for lack of interest either: 30% of Irish households without internet access say the reason is a lack of skills to use it. Simply, without the ability to confidently navigate the internet, a significant proportion of our population are effectively barred from being fully engaged members of society. A lack of digital literacy has a huge impact on the ability to access services and information, to stay independent for longer, to save money, to participate in the development of national policy, teach and learn skills, and stay connected to community, culture and news.

 

Briefing Paper Carrying Inequality - How Cumulative Inequality Impacts Older People (March 2020)

Cumulative inequality is the idea that inequality adds up over the course of people’s lives, and across generations. This means that people with advantages are more likely to get opportunities for further advantages, and people with disadvantages are more likely to be exposed to risks of further disadvantage.This paper explores how disadvantage and discrimination affects people’s lives, how it adds up over time, and what might make a positive difference

Briefing Paper on Regulating Nursing Home Charges (July 2017)

Older people and their families are prevented from choosing nursing homes under the Fair Deal scheme because of additional charges imposed by nursing homes. Many families are hard-pressed to meet the cost of these charges on top of their contributions under the scheme.

Briefing Paper on Reversing the 2012 State Pension Cuts (February 2017)

More than 36,000 pensioners had their pensions cut because of changes to the State Pension introduced in 2012. Many of these retired workers have lost thousands of euro and women pensioners have lost the most - punished for leaving the workforce to care for their families.

Briefing Paper on the Need for a Convention on the Rights of Older People (November 2016)

In Ireland today, in Europe and globally the rights of older persons are not effectively protected. International human rights law has little to say on issues particular to older people such as elder abuse or support in long-term care. Age Action is part of growing international support for a new international convention on the rights of older people that would address this.

Briefing Paper on Abolishing Mandatory Retirement (October 2016)

Every year in Ireland older workers are forced out of their job for no other reason than they turn 65. This is possible because Irish law permits employers to impose mandatory retirement ages in their employee’s contracts, in effect, facilitating ageism and creating a set of second-class employment rights for older workers.

Are We Ageist?

(07 December 2022) 

1 in 4 people experience age discrimination according to Age Action’s new poll Are We Ageist?, conducted by IrelandThinks, with people who were unemployed more than twice as likely to experience age discrimination as people with any other work status. ​

“Age Action is working to reframe how we think, feel and act towards older people and ageing in Ireland, so we commissioned a public poll to understand the degree to which we hold ageist opinions in our society. The public poll reveals that most people in Ireland hold some ageist opinion with people aged 18-34 more than two and a half times as likely to agree with three or more ageist opinions” explained Celine Clarke, Head of Advocacy and Public Affairs at Age Action.