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The Importance of Integration and inclusion this Older People’s Day

Posted October 1st 2019 by Outside The Box

Today is the UN International Day of Older Persons 2019, and we’re proud to be supporting older people right across Scotland through so much of our work, which is around making communities inclusive, welcoming and working for all. Some of our current projects working with older people include:
  • Rural WisdomMany older people in the UK live in rural communities. Rural Wisdom is working to make rural communities work well for people as we get older and for other people who live there.
  • Local People Linking raises awareness of older people’s human rights based on their lived experiences in their communities. We co-deliver human rights sessions with community members across a range of different groups.
  • Food Buddies is a way for people to encourage and support each other around food. This project develops peer support for people with dementia and for carers, with a focus on aspects of food and keeping well.  It brings together older people to encourage each other to eat better and reduce social isolation.
  • Garden Buddies – connects older people with school pupils who are marginalised to work together to improve community gardens in the Scottish Borders.
  • Community Connections is a new project that is based in two rural areas in Scotland. It works towards improving social connections, information and communication for all people (young and old) living in and around these areas.

We’re proud to be part of the Scotland Older People’s Assembly and to act as secretary for the Scottish Parliament’s Cross-Party Group on Older People, Age And Ageing. We also produced a report on Older People’s Mental Health and Wellbeing.

We’re holding an event in November to talk about rural transport issues in the Duns area. Find out more here.

Earlier this year, we we’re asked to contribute to the Scottish Government’s A Fairer Scotland for Older People: framework for action. We spoke to older people right across Scotland, including people in rural areas, people who have higher needs, people in care homes and relatives and friends and want to share what we heard.  You can download our full report here. We’ve previously posted exert blogs on Facing Stigma  and Poor Transport. This exert tackles an important issue:

Integration and inclusion

People from the range of equalities groups told us they often felt judged in their local community because of their disability and sometimes faced stigma in their social groups.

People from some minority ethnic groups felt there was a lack of understanding around people with mental illness, living with dementia or who have other additional disabilities. This included a lack of understanding regarding service provision. There needed to be more information, so families would be reassured about access to support when people needed it – and services needed to get it right so that support really is there.

People found that a lack of accessible information, particularly if English is not your first language, can be a major barrier to integration. People also felt disempowered by a lack of understanding from some services in their area about their cultural needs.

Older people who experience racism in their local community can be made to feel unsafe at times and that there is still a lack of understanding of different cultures and ethnicities in Scotland. Again, people told us that reporting in the mainstream media can fuel this.

In addition, people felt the mainstream media played a huge role in affecting older people’s participation at all levels of society and was a main driver of fuelling discrimination.

People thought that opportunities to meet more people and get to know each other – across generations and across cultures and other circumstances – was important. But it felt that there were fewer opportunities for this to happen outside special ’projects’, and it needed to become an everyday thing.

“More positive language needs to be used by the media when they talk about older people. But positive language needs to be used all the time, especially at a national policy level.”

“You need to have information about aspects of getting older in the community languages. Everyone can develop dementia and other problems and we all need to know how the get support, so we can get on with our lives”.

“There are so many barriers to people who live in care homes being part of our local communities. They should be encouraging the links as part of keeping us active and well, people learning from us and more positive results that save money in the long run.”

“We want to keep helping other people. Why don’t they let us?”



Featured image from when Scottish Older People and Equalities Minister, Christina McKelvie MSP visited the East Renfewshire Fairweather Group to talk about the importance of tackling isolation and wellbeing for older people with our Local People Linking project. 




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