Guest blog: Stuart Fox – Young people won’t vote tomorrow, and older people will – but we won’t notice the difference…

Tomorrow the country will head to the polls to vote in the European elections. As far as most voters and the media is concerned, the outcome of the election will have much more significance for domestic politics than European. The campaign has been dominated – as will the days and weeks following the election – by speculation about what the results mean not for the European Parliament, but for the electoral fortunes of the major parties in the 2015 General Election.
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Guest blog: Professor Philip Cowley – Age and the politics of presence

All the mainstream British political parties are – to varying degrees – now signed up to the underlying principle that political institutions should broadly reflect the social characteristics of the people they represent.  David Cameron’s very first speech as party leader in 2005 contained the claim that ‘We will change the way we look’. Ed Miliband has made several speeches on the same theme.  The idea that what Anne Phillips called ‘the politics of presence’ is important is now a widely, if not wholly, accepted part of political discourse in the UK.
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Call for action: Hydration for older people

‘More than 1,000 care home residents have died of thirst or while suffering severe dehydration over the past decade’ reports The Daily Telegraph. The article also mentions that the figure could be higher if care home residents who die in hospital are included. The figures obtained under the Freedom of Information Act are the result of an analysis of death certificates by the Office of National Statistics. The article highlights the outcry by various charities for improvements in hydration for older people, and demands action by policy makers and the regulator.

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Guest blog: Lorna Warren – From Look Me In The Eye to Look At Me!: Representations of Gender and Ageing

I was 22 and in the first year of my PhD when I stumbled upon the book Look Me In The Eye.[1] I’d gone to Manchester’s independent bookshop, Grassroots, in search of holiday reading. Barbara Macdonald’s uncompromising front-cover stare stopped me in my tracks before I could reach the fiction section. Her collection of essays, with contributions by her partner Cynthia Rich, was on ‘old women, ageing and ageism’ (1984). It was radically different from the texts that had so far informed my developing thesis on social care provision for older people. Continue reading

Guest blog: The Last Outing: Call for research participants – Dr Kathryn Almack

Consultation for the English End of Life Care Strategy Equality Impact Assessment noted that in terms of quality of end of life care, LGBT people were most at risk of discrimination [1]. While LGBT and heterosexual individuals may share end of life care experiences and concerns, there are likely to be separate issues that need to be addressed among LGBT people.

The oldest generations of LGBT people grew up at a time when coming out resulted in serious negative repercussions including job discrimination, family disapproval, psychiatric interventions, criminalisation, and various other forms of prejudice or intolerance. Continue reading

Guest blog: John Turner, Swiss Re – Gender equality at older ages from an insurance perspective

The European Court of Justice ruling on the use of gender in insurance is widely known, and has been in force since December 2012, but what does this mean to the older members of society when it comes to buying insurance products?

The key product purchased by older people is traditionally a retirement annuity and here women are thought to benefit from the ruling, as they will be able to buy annuity rates on a unisex basis, i.e. the size of the annuity they can buy for the same lump sum should be positively influenced by the fact that men on average have a lower life expectancy.

Obviously this is bad news for male retirees as they will now receive a lower annuity amount due to the need to cross subsidise the female rates. But is it that simple and just a matter of re-balancing the rates to the benefit or detriment of one or the other gender? Continue reading

A double discrimination? Older women representation within news broadcasting

Recent reports have disclosed that Labour are to establish a new special commission to address discrimination against women over the age of 50. The Labour Commission on Women will be led my Miriam O’Reilly, former presenter of BBC Countryfile, and Arlene Phillips, former judge on the BBC’s Strictly Come Dancing. The Commission will be chaired by Harriet Harman [1]. Continue reading

Making a case for bridging the gap between younger and older LGBT people

Yesterday at the House of Lords, the ILC-UK launched four publications that examined the potential of younger and older LGBT people to work together to improve intergenerational relations, in partnership with Age UK. This work, sponsored by Pfizer and vinspired, was based on three ground-breaking projects that brought younger and older LGBT people together to work on projects themed around the arts, service needs, and local history.

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Equalities and Human Rights Commission Inquiry highlights breaches in the human rights of older people receiving care at home

Three days after the World Elder Abuse Awareness Day – a yearly event underlining abuses and encouraging prevention and awareness – the Equality and Human Rights Commission released early findings from an inquiry into home care that highlighted instances of clear breaches of the human rights of older people receiving care at home.  Baroness Sally Greengross, commissioner at the EHRC and ILC-UK’s Chief Executive, expressed her concerns about the situation, revealing that in some cases, care delivered at home is so rudimentary and provided in such haste that it breaches older people’s basic rights, including their human dignity. Because home carers can have excessive caseloads, carers do not have the time to interact, socialize or even or even provide for the basic individual needs a vulnerable older person has. In most of the cases, older people do not complain about the standard of care received due to their frail status, and because they may not be aware of the proper channels for making a complaint.

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Is an international convention on the rights of the older person necessary?

The international bill of rights is universal, which means that it applies equally to everybody. However, in reality some groups of people do suffer a disproportionate harm, due to their gender, age, race and/or other attributes, and it has been argued that additional rights for vulnerable persons would increase their legal protection. The first group who obtained a set of special rights were women through the Convention on the Elimination of all forms of Discriminations Against Women (CEDAW), on the basis that a protective framework was needed to curb the discrimination women suffered. Conventions related to children and indigenous people followed shortly after.

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