Community Matters: Making our Communities Ready for Ageing – a call to action

Jul 3, 2014 | REPORTS

A report from ILC-UK and Age UK, taking a futures perspective on how communities need to adapt to an ageing society.

The report argues that policy makers must work to ensure that communities do more than cater for our basic needs. It argues that communities should be places of fun for all. The report highlights the importance of supporting walking and cycling in old age as well as the need to ensure housing is adaptable to an ageing society.

The report explores the Government’s plan for a new Garden City in Ebbsfleet and highlights ideas to make the new community “age friendly”. Ideas include the creation of shared facilities for fun and play, and the introduction of electric ‘pods’ to transport people around.

The report incorporates an ideas bank of suggestions to help ensure Communities are “Ready for Ageing including:

  • Making our communities fun (swings at bus stops): Local authorities should support provision of desegregated apparatus for fun in outdoor spaces that includes people of all ages.
  • Build more homes and ensure they are accessible and adaptable: The Lifetime Homes Standard should be made mandatory and Government should introduce a tax incentivised voucher scheme for housing adaptations.
  • Get us on our bikes: Increasing numbers of cyclists across the life-course should be prioritised as a public health, environmental and social goal by Health and Wellbeing Boards and Local Authorities.

The report sets out a 10 point action plan for local authorities, which includes:

  • Places to meet not places to hire – Offer free space to allow people to come together to talk and enjoy life.
  • Ensure people aren’t caught on a bladder leash – Maintain and keep open or incentivise businesses to open up their toilet facilities as a public resource.
  • Build neighbourliness – Find ways of breaking down “safeguarding” barriers that currently prevent generations working together.

The Community matters report was produced following three expert workshops and a conference attended by 100 people. Around 150 expert researchers, policy experts and older people contributed views during a 6 month process.