I went to the Age UK Later Life Conference at the start of July; walked into a lot of doctors which is by far the best way to remind you that you have reached the age to go to an Age UK Conference.
Curiously the title of the conference was “Loving Later Life” which held out the prospect of some positive images of retirement, but sadly Age UK swiftly went back to its roots and focussed mainly on “helping the aged” and “age concern”. Seems like they can’t break free of the burden of their history!
Lots of talk by the doctors about integrating health and social care. A subject that has been discussed by doctors for years, but since it challenges the independently funded empires of primary care, hospital care and local authority controlled social services, little is likely to change for many years to come.
Government Ministers and Shadow Ministers danced around the subject trying to look positive but say nothing controversial before next years’ election – so that guarantees nothing will happen soon.
Age UK Executives, wanting to be friends with everyone, agreed with everything and congratulated themselves and everyone else about what a good job they were all doing. The few challenging contributions from audience members were quickly glossed over leaving no disharmony on yet another year of little progress.
The changing demographics of the elderly population adds pressure to all elderly services to the point where the NHS is overwhelmed with older people and some services are beginning to be rationed or not offered at all to older people. GP’s are sinking under the weight of patients with multiple chronic conditions, while their patients wait and wait to see them at all. Social Services have been starved of cash by Central Government to the point where they are forced to look for excuses not to care for people at home.
Meanwhile, in the parallel universe of Age UK’s later life conference, all is sweetness and no light.
NO RAGE ABOUT AGE HERE