Empowering Older People – Wednesday 3rd June 2009 at the Corn Exchange – ACE IT was recently invited to participate in the All Our Futures conference at the Edinburgh Corn Exchange. Jointly hosted by City of Edinburgh Council and the Scottish Government, the ‘stakeholder’ event brought together a wide cross section of organisations and service providers working within communities to improve the lives of older people across Scotland.
One of a series of events held throughout Scotland under the banner of the ‘National Forum on Ageing’ – The Edinburgh conference concentrated on the theme “Empowering Older People in Having Responsibility for Their Future”. The day long programme opened with an information fayre and networking session prior to a formal introduction provided by Liz O’Neill, Chairperson of the National Mental Health & Wellbeing Older People’s Steering Group. Bailie Alastair Paisley welcomed delegates to the conference on behalf of City of Edinburgh Council which was then followed by opening comments and a short question and answer session by Alex Neil MSP, Scottish Minister for Housing and Communities and John Storey, Head of the Scottish Government’s Older People and Age Team.
The main section of the event centred around a series of workshops dealing with matters of importance to older people including..
- Health, wellbeing and confidence
- Financial matters
- Preparing for care and support in later life
- Technology in later life
- Safety and protection
- Opportunities for volunteering and employment
Members of ACE IT participated in a number of workshops including the ‘Technology in Later Life’ group which covered the subjects of Telecare and the use of digital technology and the internet by older people. The core objective of the workshop was to explain and explore how equipment provided by Telecare services such as movement/fall detectors and home safety devices could provide greater independence for an ageing population.
The benefits of web and digital technology particularly in regards to improving wellbeing and combating social isolation through communication and social interaction were also discussed in detail. The Moose In The Hoose project was highlighted as an example of the positive impact web based interactive services can have at a grassroots level with the community. Following the completion of the workshops, the delegates came together for a final debate and question and answer session hosted by the panel and covering topics raised throughout the day. A number of important conclusions were reached..
- While older people needed to be better informed and consulted more on matters concerning their futures – Older people themselves need to become more directly involved in the decision making process.
- A culture change needs to be encouraged with Government, employers, service providers and individual older people accepting and encouraging a more positive attitude to ageing.
- A fundamental need was identified for greater communication, information sharing and the provision of better services and methods enabling organisations and agencies to “Get The Message Out”.
It was agreed by everyone involved that the event proved a
very positive experience and was one step further down the road to…
“Empowering Older People in Having Responsibility for Their Future”