First older people's assembly to be held at Holyrood

01/10/2009

Strong policies based on meaningful dialogue are what Scotland’s older people expect from the current and future governments, according to the Steering Group behind the country’s inaugural Scottish Older People’s Assembly, taking place at the Scottish Parliament tomorrow.

Up to 300 participants from across the country will gather in the Parliament’s debating chamber to hear Shona Robison MSP, the Minister for Public Health, Johann Lamont MSP, Sylvia Meehan, President of the Irish Senior Citizens' Parliament and Ruth Marks, the Older People’s Commissioner for Wales compare experiences in addressing the needs of an ageing population.

They will then discuss:

  • the increasing cost of care and how to foot the bill
  • the relative merits of means testing and universal benefits
  • the rights and responsibilities of an older population
  • the reality of having to work after the default retirement age
  • the advantages of lifelong learning
  • how to ensure older people’s voices are heard and opinions given serious consideration
  • the best ways of passing on a lifetime’s skill and experience to the younger generation.

The Scottish Parliament’s Presiding Officer Alex Fergusson MSP, who is hosting the Assembly, said: “I am delighted to welcome delegates to the Scottish Parliament and to the first Older People’s Assembly. The number of groups represented at this event is a testimony to a strong and vibrant ageing sector.

"The Assembly should serve as a public statement of the importance of older people’s views, issues and ideas. I hope the day will be a productive one and provide opportunities to discuss and debate a range of important issues."

David Manion, chief executive of Age Concern and Help the Aged in Scotland and chair of the Assembly’s Steering Group, said: “Finding solutions to the challenges posed by the steady, sustained growth of Scotland’s older population must become more of a priority.

"Population ageing represents, in one sense, a human success story of increased longevity, but family structures and work patterns are changing, economic and social systems are evolving and it is vital that our understanding of the Scottish situation, informed by the country’s older people, serves to assist decision-makers in their planning for the future.”

Members of the Scottish Older People's Assembly Steering Group:

  • Age Concern and Help the Aged in Scotland
  • Alzheimer Scotland; Change Agents Scotland
  • CoSLA
  • National Pensioners’ Convention Scotland
  • Scottish Government
  • Scottish Pensions Association
  • Scottish Pensioners’ Forum
  • Scottish Seniors’ Alliance
  • Scottish Trades Union Congress
  • West of Scotland Seniors’ Forum
  • WRVS