Julie Morgan MS, Deputy Minister for Social Services
I am pleased to announce the launch of Age Friendly Wales: Our Strategy for an Ageing Society. It sets out our vision for an age friendly Wales, which supports people of all ages to live and age well and challenges the way we think and feel about ageing.
Too often getting older is linked to illness and decline and older people’s contributions to society are overlooked. By caring, older people provide vital support to their families; to the wider Welsh economy and the Welsh health and care system. Older people pay taxes and own businesses, contributing to our economy and helping to fund public services in Wales. By volunteering, older people provide vital emotional and practical support to others and their local communities.
Older people have been directly involved in creating this strategy and will be involved in its delivery via my Ministerial Advisory Forum on Ageing. We will put the voice and experience of older people at the heart of our policy process and continue to support five national older people’s groups and forums, hosted by Age Cymru. Collectively, their work helps us to understand and respond to the key issues affecting older people today.
We will work across government to address the wide range of factors that influence how we age – from our health, social care and transport systems to the way we socialise, work and care for others. The strategy aims to unlock the potential of today’s older people and tomorrow’s ageing society.
To turn our vision into reality, this year we have allocated £550,000 to local authorities to support their work to become age friendly and to gain membership of the World Health Organisation’s Network of Age Friendly Cities and Communities. To gain membership, local authorities must show how they are engaging with older people. Our vision is shared with the Older People’s Commissioner for Wales, who is providing valuable support and guidance to local authorities as they work towards age friendly status.
The United Nations’ Principles for Older Persons have informed the development of this strategy and run throughout it. I want Wales to be a nation that celebrates age and, in line with the UN Principles, a nation that upholds the independence, participation, care, self-fulfilment and dignity of older people at all times. This year, we will allocate £100,000 to promote awareness of older people’s rights and inspire a common understanding of the transformative effect of a rights-based approach.
Work is already underway to develop a delivery plan to set out clear actions, milestones and timescales to monitor the strategy’s implementation.
By acknowledging and valuing the contributions of all older people in Wales, we can reject ageism and work across generations to create an age friendly Wales.