Age Scotland has released its election manifesto, urging the next Scottish Government to bring forward policies to support the older population and to establish the role of an Older People’s Commissioner.
The charity believes the treatment of older people during the Covid-19 pandemic has, more than ever, demonstrated the need for politicians to speak up for them and establish a new, independent commissioner who works to protect and promote their human rights.
It wants the next Scottish government, when they are elected next month, to establish the role and give the commissioner powers to hold public bodies to account and take up casework on behalf of older people.
Age Scotland said the commissioner would be responsible for advancing and safeguarding the rights of people living with dementia and would be a key figure in helping to tackle age discrimination and ageism across Scotland.
The charity’s election manifesto also urges the next Scottish government to reform social care and establish a National Care Service; end pensioner poverty; and build more accessible, affordable and energy efficient homes suitable for older people.
Brian Sloan, Age Scotland’s chief executive, said: “Older people are an incredibly valuable asset to the country but too often under appreciated. Our main ask at this election is for the next Scottish Government and parliament is to establish an Older People’s Commissioner to help protect and promote their rights. Over the last year we have seen just how important this role has been in Wales and Northern Ireland. In Scotland, along with a cabinet secretary and minister responsible for older people, this new commissioner would be incredibly valuable.
“We also need action on tackling loneliness and social isolation; rebuilding the public services and the voluntary organisations that have been greatly impacted during the pandemic; reforming social care and boosting health services; ending pensioner poverty and health inequalities; building more good quality, accessible, affordable and energy efficient homes. There must be better support for older workers, creating age inclusive workplaces; and a national effort to tackle ageism head on.
“Scotland’s older population is growing at a faster rate than the rest of the UK. We want to see every political party in this election bring forward policies to help our older population, those in the greatest need above all, and for Scotland to be the best place in the world to grow older.”