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Pandemics: Do They Change How We Address Age and Ageing? Positive Ageing Week 2020

As we learn to live with, and recover from, the impact of COVID-19, we have an opportunity to address inequalities experienced by older people, value their role in society, and ensure that the diversity of their voices is heard, informing decisions that affect them. Although events and activities will take place in limited numbers or virtually due to social gathering restrictions, we are hopeful that people of all ages across Ireland will take this opportunity to reflect on these themes within their families, communities, and workplaces. 

Age Action Calls on the Minister for Health to urgently establish a Commission on Care Many questions remain unanswered for families of those who have died

Age Action has described the report of the COVID-19 Nursing Homes Expert Panel published today as underwhelming in its reforming zeal and has called on the Minister for Health to urgently establish a Commission on Care.  

 

Age Action is calling for a Digital Allowance to support the Digital Inclusion of Older People and a Study on the Cost of Ageing in Budget 2021

(30 July 2020) 

Age Action, Ireland’s leading advocacy organisation on ageing and older people is calling for Budget 2021 to include a digital allowance in the form of a €2.50 increase to the Telephone Support Allowance and a broadening of the eligibility criteria to support older people to access digital technology.

Paddy Connolly, CEO Age Action said ‘Digital exclusion is a reality for at least 33% of people over the age of 65 with the associated cost being one of the barriers to access for older people. We know that communication costs have increased during COVID-19 as people became more reliant on digital communications as a means of communicating with family, health professionals, arranging essential services and addressing social isolation.  In the context of an increasing reliance on telehealth measures and public health advice, Age Action urges the Government to increase the Telephone Support Allowance, introduced in June 2018 at a weekly rate of €2.50, to €5 and for a broadening of the eligibility criteria which is narrowly confined to those getting the Living Alone Allowance who are also eligible for the Fuel Allowance.’

Government services now actively prefer transactions to be digital under a “Digital First”approach, encouraging people to carry out their tax returns, and apply to r enew their driving licences and passports online. The Public Service ICT Strategy prioritises the digitisation of ‘the main existing citizen and business transactional services across Public Services’. There is an increasing reliance on digital channels to provide information by both the public and private sector which undermines people’s ability to access information which was very evident during the height of the pandemic. In a recent CSO survey of households of those over 60 and not online, the second greatest challenge to people who said they needed access to broadband, after lack of digital skills, was the perceived prohibitive cost.

‘Older people are being left behind because they do not have adequate access or skills to engage with digital services or participate in the digital economy; providing a digital allowance as well as investing in one-to-one digital literacy training that meets the needs of older people, is critical to bridging the digital divide. The new National Digital Skills Strategy committed to under the Programme for Government will have budgetary implications; Budget 2021 should begin to support older people to keep up’ Connolly said.

THE ALLIANCE OF AGE SECTOR NGOS CALLS FOR A PROGRAMME OF REMEMBRANCE AND REFLECTION AFTER COVID-19

(24 July) The Alliance of Age Sector NGOs - Active Retirement Ireland, Age Action, Age & Opportunity, ALONE, The Alzheimer Society of Ireland, the Irish Senior Citizens Parliament, Third Age and the Irish Hospice Foundation - welcomes and supports the call by the Irish Hospice Foundation for Government to put in place a process of remembrance and reflection  to recognise those who have died or have lost loved ones in recent months during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic. This call from the Alliance demonstrates that there is broad national support for a series of events to support the loved ones of those who have died and to mark a period of national mourning.

Easter Raffle Winners

Thank you all for your patience during the last number of months and for your understanding that due to the COVID-19 crisis we were not in a position to hold the Easter Raffle. Today, we were finally able to do the draw and we list below the lucky winners.

We wish the winners well and trust they will have a happy time spending their winnings. It certainly brightened up their day when we told them earlier. Thanks again to all those who entered as all proceeds from the raffle will help us to continue to provide much needed services to older people over the coming months.

1st Prize - €1500 - S.Hannon, Dublin

2nd Prize - €1000 - M.White, Galway

3rd Prize - €500 - A. Landy, Cork

Sellers Prize - €100 - R.Flynn, Roscommon

Input into the Nursing Home Expert Panel on perspectives and experiences in relation to the COVID-19 pandemic

(17 June) The Alliance of Age Sector NGOs, represented by Age Action, is meeting with the Nursing Home Expert Panel to communicate perspectives and experiences in relation to the COVID-19 pandemic and its effects on nursing homes, with a particular focus on planning the further responses to nursing homes’ needs over the next 18 months.  National Public Health Emergency Team (NPHET), chaired by the Government’s Chief Medical Officer, was established in January. It has been providing direction, guidance, support and expert advice on the development and implementation of Ireland’s strategic response to the pandemic. The Panel is due to report to the Minister for Health by end June 2020 and is has undertaken a public consultation details of which are available here.

STOP67 campaign welcomes deferral of pension age increase

(Wednesday 16 June) The deferral of the pension age increase to 67 contained in the Programme for Government has been welcomed by the Stop67 campaign.

Ethel Buckley, Deputy General Secretary of SIPTU said: “During the recent general election there was widespread opposition to the proposed increase in the pension age.  Almost 80 per cent of voters supported parties which were committed to stopping the increase in the pension age to 67 next year.  The vindication of this democratic demand in the proposed Programme for Government is welcomed. It is only through genuine social dialogue and consensus that we can develop a socially beneficial and fiscally sustainable pension system.”

2020 World Elder Abuse Awareness Day: The impact of COVID-19 on violence, abuse and neglect of older persons

(15 June) Around one in six older people face abuse worldwide in 2017 according to the United Nations. Despite this fact, elder abuse remains invisible. Emerging evidence is showing violence, abuse and neglect of older people has increased since the outbreak of COVID-19. We've also seen many cases reported in the media.

World Elder Abuse Awareness Day (WEAAD) is an opportunity to raise awareness of the problem and influence key people to stop it. Around one in six older people face abuse worldwide. Despite this fact, elder abuse remains invisible. Emerging evidence is showing violence, abuse and neglect of older people has increased since the outbreak of COVID-19. 

World Elder Abuse Awareness Day is an opportunity to raise awareness of the problem and influence key people to stop it.

Call for Voices of Older People to be Heard

Age Action welcomes relaxation of some cocooning measures but criticises lack of consultation with older people.

 

 

(1 May) Age Action called for the Government to consult with older people as it plans for the longer-term impacts of Covid-19. To date, public health and Government advice has treated the over 70 age cohort as one. As a single age cohort people over the age of 70 have been subject to public health measures but not enabled to participate in the decision-making process that would ensure that their lived experience and their self-identified needs informs the outcome.

Calling Digital Champions - Age Action launches Getting Started Keep In Touch (KIT) to help older people get online during COVID-19

Connect, Inform, Support

Age Action launches the Getting Started KIT Programme

Supporting Digital Literacy Skills Amongst Older People

 

(Tuesday 28 April) Getting Started Keep In Touch (KIT), a national learning initiative to help older people improve their digital literacy skills was launched today by Age Action, Ireland’s leading advocacy organisation for older people. The Age Action Getting Started KIT is a series of  NALA approved How To KIT Guides and a video tutorial presented by Mary Kennedy, to help older people to use a smartphone, or other device, to get online so they are more connected, informed and supported particularly those people over the age of 70 that have been asked to stay at home as part of the Covid-19 response measures.

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