Older people shaping policy and practice

Older People's Steering Group

A summary of a research programme, defined by older people, looking at the experiences of older people, service responses and older people’s involvement in setting agendas.

This report draws together the programme findings of 18 research projects about issues that older people have raised as central to their lives.

The 18 projects covered:

  • information, advice and advocacy;
  • older people’s own definitions of quality;
  • the needs of black and minority ethnic older people;
  • unmet need;
  • issues relating to involving older people;
  • older people’s views on intermediate care;
  • the importance of money;
  • and older people’s definitions of comfortable healthy ageing and a ‘life worth living’.

Crucially, the programme was defined by older people (rather than by researchers or practitioners). Making older people’s experiences the starting point highlighted both the diversity of their lives and a range of ageist assumptions and practices. The report finds that the practice of involving older people (individually and collectively) in issues relating to their lives is still at an early stage, and there need to be clearer and better standards on involvement.

The Steering Group, over its four-year period, also set out to learn lessons about involving older people developing programmes. The report highlights some of the tensions as well as opportunities. There are wider messages for developing a model of the needs of older people which is centrally driven by older people themselves.

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