In August Andrea and Vanda attended the Centre For Ageing Better conference in Birmingham, Building an Age-friendly Movement. It was a great day with interesting presentations, panel discussions and the sharing of best practice and networking with people working on the Age Friendly agenda from across the UK.

The day focused on the idea that the concept of Age Friendly exists as part of complex policy environments, which themselves, often overlook our ageing population. The aim of the day was to adopt a proactive and innovative approach to tackling inequalities.

The topics cover by key speakers at the conference:

Taking a stand against ageism:

We all need to challenge negativity and preconceptions of ageing, by showing older people’s value and contribution to society. There needs to be meaningful change around negative language, imagery and how ageing can often be presented by the media, depicting fragility, dependency and vulnerability. It’s important to get the right balance between showing diversity and positive aspects of growing older, while maintaining realistic and accurate descriptions and imagery.

Tackling Inequalities in the Workplace:

More than a third (36%) of 50-69 year-olds feel at a disadvantage applying for jobs due to their age. Previous research found that age is the least scrutinised and most widely accepted form of discrimination in the UK. Too many older applicants are excluded due to inadequate processes, often using digital means to apply for jobs, age-bias and a lack of engagement from employers. This puts employers at a disadvantage as they fail to draw on the experience and abilities of older people, who are often more experienced and capable. How older workers are perceived and valued in the job market needs to change so that age is no longer a barrier to people finding jobs, or employers finding people. There should be a fairer option for applicants who are not digitally connected, an open attitude to recruiting older employees.

Metro Mayor model of local authorities and Power Houses for Positive Ageing:

Since 2015, nine mayoral combined authorities have been put in place in England, which means more than 40% of England’s population live in regions led by metro mayors and they serve as economic and cultural hubs for 75% of the population. Metro authorities have a strong focus on place and are in touch with communities. One of their key priorities it to create a potential for positive impact, improving older peoples’ lives and doing more to unlock their ability to contribute positively to the economy and society.

Greater Manchester is the UK’s first Age-friendly City region and its 2018 age-friendly strategy is now being refreshed, to include learning about needs and opportunities from the pandemic.

Age Friendly Panels

In the afternoon we took part in a number of panels to discuss how we can make different types of settings more age friendly. We are very proud to report that much of what was discussed is already included in our very own Age Friendly Standards.