The overall proportion of older people is increasing across the United Kingdom, however, this demographic trend is even more pronounced in Wales. People over 50 in Wales currently account for 35.9% of the total population, whilst those over 60 constitute 22.7%.
In Wales, local government has been identified as the key agent for change, being the main deliverer of the Welsh Government’s Strategy for Older People in Wales, and plays the leading role in taking it forward.
The emphasis of the second phase of the Strategy is on mainstreaming which means the consideration of older people’s issues across all areas of an authority’s work broadening the focus beyond health and social care. There is also continued emphasis on the participation and engagement of older people and ensuring that the diverse communities of older people have opportunities to make their voices heard.
Each local authority has appointed an Older People Champion, who is normally a Cabinet Member, who has a role to ensure the issues of older people are kept at the forefront of policy and service development. There is also an Strategy for Older People Coordinator in each authority whose role is to develop new approaches to the development of policy and service development in conjunction with other departments and agencies, including, Local Health Boards, NHS Trusts, the local voluntary organisations and with older people. In each area a local action plan is developed which feeds into the local Community Plan and the local Health, Social Care and Well-Being Plan.