Some been specific in their call for reform, arguing for better funding in particular areas; some have been broader in scope, outlining the benefit of intergenerational co-operation. Some have been immensely practical - arguing for improved access to public toilets is just one example- while others have taken a more conceptual approach, questioning how radical we need to be to successfully build a society for all ages. And there was also the human angle, of the exhausted carer asking himself, as he holds a weeping woman with dementia in his arms, what on earth Jeremy Hunt means when he talks about “compassionate care”.
The blogs haven’t been afraid to duck controversial questions: there were those who claimed the “wealthiest generation in history needs to pay more” and that the future is a frightening place for today’s generation of 20- and 30-olds.
The range of blogs has been inspiring. It demonstrates that the mission – to help make the UK the best country in the world to grow older in – is not fanciful. The compassion is there, the ideas are there and the ingenuity is there. What’s still lacking, though, is the political will to act. The Ready for Ageing Alliance, the forward-thinking campaign group of which Independent Age is a member, will be pursuing politicians to do this over the coming months.
It’s not that politicians aren’t interested – we’ve had MPs from all three main parties demonstrating their commitment to the cause with keenly argued blogs of their own. But there seems to be little momentum and insufficient public pressure to persuade the political parties that we need to take tough action to get ready for millions more people living longer lives.
We need to start by valuing older people for their individual skills and contribution to life. That shouldn’t sound revolutionary but it does: an example of how far we have to go to create a fair and equal society that is prepared for our ageing population.
2030 Vision, and the consultation we have been running at Independent Age, is the first step to capturing that mood, to demonstrate that building a society for all ages is not only necessary, it is within our grasp. Thank you all for taking the first steps with us on that journey. Along with our partners in the Ready for Ageing Alliance, we look forward to moving still further ahead in the coming months.