Autumn has well and truly arrived.
And where else would Independent Age be, but calling for better services and support for older people at this year’s Party Conferences, which are taking place over the next three weeks?
When ordinary folk are settling down to watch prime time television, we will be spending our Sunday evenings debating with politicians about the crisis in the care and support available to older people. Just last week the body responsible for publishing health statistics reported a further reduction in the money councils are spending on crucial services like home help and residential care.
Together with other charities, we will be looking to express our alarm that fewer and fewer frail and elderly people are getting the practical help they so badly need.
But we are also keen to use this opportunity to stimulate a debate about the fairest approach to paying for the many other services millions more of us will need as we live longer lives: good pensions, accessible transport and decent homes.
Later this year, the Chancellor of the Exchequer will be setting out the government’s spending plans for the next few years. It is expected he will make a number of difficult announcements.
To help influence the debate about the government’s priorities, we have joined up with a number of commentators and politicians from across the political spectrum.
The challenges of an ageing society will affect all of us, no matter how we vote. And nobody has a monopoly on good ideas or thinking about how we adapt our housing, transport, health and social care systems for the future. With that in mind, we are delighted our joint The Generation Game pamphlet sets out possible new solutions that will help to make Britain become a better country in which to grow old.
Some are highly practical: let’s help older employees who are grandparents to do more to provide childcare - where they want to – by providing them with a share of the parental leave now being extended to working parents.
Some are contentious: let’s reconsider the contributions made by wealthier pensioners and rethink overall levels of tax to help meet the costs of population ageing.
And some are so obvious, we can’t believe they haven’t already been acted on: let’s do more to help older people who become unemployed so they are supported to find work again and can continue making a contribution to the economy.
Independent Age doesn’t necessarily agree with all the ideas contained in The Generation Game, but now is the time for politicians to take up at least some of them and help Britain get ready for ageing. We will be doing our best this next few weeks to remind them.