Age of opportunity: transforming the lives of older people in poverty

Document type
Corporate author(s)
Centre for Social Justice (Great Britain). Older Age Working Group
Centre for Social Justice
Date of publication
29 June 2011
Breakthrough Britain
Older Adults, Poverty Alleviation Welfare Benefits and Financial Inclusion
Social welfare
Material type

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Research has shown that an estimated one million older adults are lonely and feel trapped in their homes. Expert units made up of local community leaders, police officers, older people‟s charities and council officers should be set up to find and support them. Modelled on a project in one of the poorest and most crime-ridden parts of Manchester, neighbourhood policing teams should join volunteers in knocking on doors to reassure the elderly and bring them help. Other ground-breaking new community programmes from the US and the UK should be put on a national footing to bring relief to the old. In its call for radical action, the CSJ draws heavily on pioneering initiatives it found in Seattle in the United States, where older people are redesigning their communities and deciding where public money should be spent. The report says this should help to shape the Coalition‟s „Big Society‟ programme.

Other measures should be taken to rebuild links between the elderly and their local communities, tackle dangerous housing standards, transform the UK's collapsing social care system and support its 6 million unpaid carers who save the country nearly £90 billion a year.