Opportunity Age: meeting the challenges of ageing in the 21st century

The first ever cross-government strategy that looks specifically at the issues facing British society as people live longer, healthier lives was presented by the Department for Work and Pensions on 23 March. It addresses extending people's working lives, supporting active ageing in the community and giving people more choice and independence, especially 'shedding the stereotypes' that surround older people. The purpose of the strategy is to prepare effectively for an ageing population and also help individuals to achieve their aspirations for better later lives for themselves and their families.

The report includes proposals to:

  • achieve a cultural change in attitudes towards age and ageing, and root out discrimination in all its forms
  • reform the pensions system to tackle poverty, inequality and produce fair outcomes for women and carers
  • remove age discrimination in employment and vocational training with legislation in 2006, supported by a new Commission for Equality and Human Rights (CEHR)
  • support older workers to improve their skills and decision-making about careers and planning for retirement
  • make local government take the lead in planning mainstream services that are inclusive of older people
  • tackle issues that limit people's ability to get the most out of life such as poor housing, fear of crime and inadequate transport especially in rural areas
  • promote healthy living at all ages
  • develop public services that enhance well-being and independence such as extra care housing, adapting homes, individual budgets to purchase care, and support for carers
  • improve delivery of pension and benefits through Link-Age, with special reference to the needs of black and minority ethnic elders
  • strengthen central government coordination, with leadership from DWP, to deliver an integrated strategy
  • develop channels at national and local levels to involve older people in consultation and decision making
  • create an 'Observatory on Ageing' to share knowledge about ageing issues and service successes to provide a foundation for policy and promote cultural change
  • develop better ways for local authorities and their public sector partners to work together through Local Area Agreements (LAAs)
  • develop a transparent set of outcomes and indicators to assess progress towards improved quality of life as people age




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