With it getting dark earlier and the nights getting colder, I’m sure that many of us were expecting to spend the next few weeks Christmas shopping and wrapping presents rather than watching a General Election campaign unfold. But, with the campaign officially starting this week, we are now only five weeks away from polling day on December 12th.

At Independent Age, we want to make sure that you have the tools you need to question your political candidates on the issues that matter to people as they age, so we’ve produced a range of resources to help you.

Why now?

Every day we hear from older people and their families about the challenges they face. That’s why we campaign with our supporters to make the UK the best place in the world to grow older. From demanding a better deal on social care services to ensuring everyone is financially secure, we work to influence all political parties and other decision-makers to bring about positive and lasting change for people as they get older.

In the run-up to a General Election, candidates will try and speak to as many people as possible and hear from constituents about the issues that are important to them. We want to ensure your voice is heard during the election period.

Whether the candidate knocks on your door or attends a local event, we can all highlight the issues that matter to older people. Together we can make sure that our new Members of Parliament arrive at Westminster fully understanding the views and priorities of older people.

Independent Age campaign calls

A graphic of Independent Age's election pledges, which are explained below

Introducing free personal care

As we grow older many of us will rely on the care system to provide support for tasks like washing, dressing or preparing a meal, but after decades of neglect social care is in crisis.

"It's almost like you're punished for daring to be old"

Gillian, aged 75

Independent Age’s Let’s get personal campaign is calling for the introduction of free personal care to give all older people like Gillian the support they need with the most essential tasks. Free personal care would benefit people who live in their own home and those who are in residential care. We believe it would significantly reduce the amount people are required to spend, and would mean people get help earlier.

Fixing Pension Credit

As a financial top-up for those pensioners most in need, Pension Credit helps to ensure that older people do not have to choose between eating or heating their home. However, the sad reality is that there are more than a million older people who are missing out on the Pension Credit they are entitled to.

Pension Credit is a lifeline to us and tops up our State Pensions

Graham, aged 81

Independent Age’s Credit where it’s due campaign is calling on the Government to set and commit to targets of at least 75% of eligible people receiving Pension Credit by the end of 2020, and at least 85% by the end of 2022. To reach these targets, the Government must also put in place an ambitious action plan to tackle the problems with the current system.

Get involved

It might seem daunting, but over the next five weeks you can make a real difference. Use our resources this General Election and help to ensure that all political candidates understand the importance of issues that affect older people and their families.

Lobby Pack: Our lobby pack suggests lots of ways to highlight issues that matter to older people. It contains advice about attending local events called hustings, speaking to candidates individually, and suggests some questions you might want to ask.

At Independent Age, I’ve worked with some amazing campaigners who I know will be ready to hold their political candidates to account this General Election. The more of us that get involved, the more powerful we are, so take a look at our lobby pack and see what you can do over the next five weeks.

View our lobby pack by clicking here

Doorhanger: During an election period it’s not unusual for canvassers to knock on your door to ask about your priorities and what you want their political party to do. I’ve been in this situation myself and felt annoyingly unprepared. When the canvasser left, questions came flooding in to my mind which I wish I had asked.

To try to avoid this happening to anyone else, Independent Age have produced a door hanger, similar to one you would find at a hotel, with a list of suggested questions. You can hang it on the inside of your front door so that when canvassers come calling, you have some questions prepared to ask them.

To order a doorhanger, email our campaigns team.

Hustings Guide: Are you a member of a local group? Our Hustings Guide is full of information about hosting a hustings event including how to invite candidates, where to host the event, and how to advertise it. You can also use our handy checklist so you can keep track of what needs to be done

Over the last year, I’ve visited some incredible older people’s groups across the country doing amazing work in their communities. But, as I said, we were all expecting a bit of a break in the run up to Christmas, so hopefully our guide can make organising a hustings as easy as possible.

View our hustings guide by clicking here

It’s been a busy year for us at Independent Age, and I’m sure it has for you too, but if we work together over the next five weeks, we can make sure that the issues affecting older people are front and centre during this General Election.

You can stay up to date with our campaigns by signing up to the Independent Age campaign network at: https://www.independentage.org/campaign-signup