Foreword by the Minister for Older People and Equalities
Christina McKelvie, MSP
Minister for Older People and Equalities,
People in Scotland are living longer, healthier lives and that is something to be celebrated.
However, I am also aware that older people can be marginalised. Maybe that is because we fear ageing and the impacts it can have on our lives through deteriorating health or because, quite simply, ageing is something most of us don’t want to think about.
Ageing is inevitable. It happens regardless of your gender, your ethnicity or your sexuality. Yet older Scots can face many barriers that not only impede their potential, but which can actually cause harm. That shouldn’t happen. Age is a protected characteristic under the Equality Act 2010, yet ageism persists in Scotland and I am determined to tackle it.
It is time to remove barriers, tackle inequalities and allow people to flourish and be themselves. That is why I am publishing this framework. It affirms our responsibility to ensuring equality for everyone as they age and outlines the clear steps we will take to deliver improvement.
This framework is the result of an engagement process with older people (which we define as being over 50 for the purposes of this framework) across Scotland through the involvement of many of the organisations that support them. They identified the issues that are key to ensuring people are healthy, happy and secure in older age. I would like to thank everyone who took part and the Older People’s Strategic Action Forum and their networks for supporting the development of this framework.
The actions in the framework define the initial set of priorities we have worked through with stakeholders. These will be the first focus of our work in government, which we will monitor and build on in years to come.
The framework provides a platform from which we can reframe our thinking about older people, to move from what can be a negative, problem-focused perspective to a positive and cohesive recognition of older people as a vital part of Scotland’s potential for success and improvement in the 21st century
Part of the role that I have, working with my colleague Shirley-Anne Somerville, Cabinet Secretary for Social Security and Older People, is to ensure colleagues across government are aware of, and sensitive to, the repercussions for older people of policy decisions in all areas of activity, and to work to make sure government decisions connect for older people’s benefit.
That is reflected in this framework, which sets the direction of travel from which government and nongovernment agencies can work. And we want the actions in the framework to be right and relevant for older people today as well as those in the future.
Importantly, the framework provides a platform from which we can reframe our thinking about older people, to move from what can be a negative, problem-focused perspective to a positive and cohesive recognition of older people as a vital part of Scotland’s potential for success and improvement in the 21st century.
We recognise that change will not occur overnight and will require years of sustained effort and a change in thinking. Ensuring multi-sectoral, multi-stakeholder cooperation and defining a framework that sets out the main areas in which action is needed is a good place to start. So I encourage people to engage with, and respond positively to, the challenges set out in this framework.
Scotland’s older people today and those older people of tomorrow are depending on us to deliver.