Ritchie Pledges Hourglass OATH Campaign For Elderly

Social Care ‘Timebomb’ Warning: Hourglass Pushes for Safer Ageing Election Agenda with landmark OATH Campaign

With an extra NINE MILLION older people, a population the size of London, set to populate the UK by 2050, Hourglass is calling on all Westminster hopefuls to underline their Safer Ageing plans – and take the OATH – a new campaign to increase awareness of the social care timebomb.   

Hourglass, the only UK-wide charity dedicated to ending the abuse and neglect of older people, has launched its own manifesto entitled ‘A Safer Ageing Society by 2050’ and is urging the political elite and general public alike to sign up to support it HERE:   

The campaign, OATH (Older Age Tomorrow’s Hope) is a pledge to support their 2050 target and to work alongside older people, the age sector and Hourglass itself in raising the profile of this often-unspoken issue.  

The charity points to the creation of a London-sized city, full of over sixties by 2050. That’s 9.6 million more older people in the UK. And, they say, for the first time they’ll be more over 60s than under 16s.

Baroness Margaret Ritchie has taken the Hourglass OATH to help protect the elderly population.

Margaret Ritchie Supports Hourglass and Safer Ageing.

Baroness Ritchie said: “Since 2022 I have been a patron for Hourglass (Safer Ageing). I support the aims of Hourglass to end abuse and neglect of older people.

“We live in an ageing society where there are now more older people over the age of 65 than ever before. 

“Yet we are not investing in older people’s services for preparing for an ageing society.

“We see this is in Health and Social Care, where successive Governments have kicked the can down the road in terms of social care reform.

“We see it with investment in dementia research, where despite promises to increase funding for dementia research at the last election, this was not followed through with investment.

“And we see it with abuse of older people. The current government have made commitments to specialist older people services in the Victims and Prisoners Act.

“Yet funding to Police Crime Commissioners to provide this specialist support ends next year, and no announcement has been made what happens after this.

“More broadly, we live in a society which continues to discriminate against older people. Older people are still too often viewed as unproductive, a burden on society and not a priority for policy makers. In an ageing society, this needs to change.”

Margaret Ritchie added: “We saw during the pandemic how older people were treated as expendable. Thousands of older people were discharged from hospital without being tested for coronavirus. Our care home became covid hot spots and many lives were needlessly lost.

“In Northern Ireland, after two long years we finally have a government in Stormont.

“On the government’s programme includes legislation that will strengthen adult safeguarding and provisions that will help protect vulnerable older adults against abuse. However, at present, legal protections in Northern Ireland remain weak.

“In other parts of the UK, legal protections and services of older people against abuse are patchy and require considerably more investment.

“The aim of building a safer ageing society free of abuse and neglect by 2050 is a noble one. it would be great to get there sooner, but with the challenges we currently face it will likely take us to 2050 to make real progress. But to achieve this, the work will start today.

“Therefore, I see a safer ageing society as one which has specialist services supporting older victim-survivors of abuse in every community. These services would be well funded and signposted by other agencies.

“Older people would be considered an important part of our society and valued, rather than being neglected and forgotten about as they are at present.

“I urge everyone to sign up to Hourglass’s Older Age, Tomorrow’s Hope campaign and help us build a society where it is safe to grow old,” added Margaret Ritchie.

Hourglass Says A Social Care Timebomb Is About To Explode

Hourglass underlines that this is a social care timebomb waiting to explode.  As the charity’s Policy Director and Deputy CEO, Veronica Gray, illustrates, Hourglass’s big ask isn’t quite as unreachable as it first appears.

She said: “Let’s think about it from the opposite perspective. If we knew there was to be nine million extra bouncing babies in the next twenty-five years, governments across the UK would be planning now. 

” There would be a strategy to accommodate and ensure their safe arrival into the world.  

“There would be new schools, nurseries, perhaps maternity hospitals and safeguarding teams. Early years planning, investment into midwives and ante-natal units would be on the horizon.

“Our parliamentary representatives would be falling over themselves to promise a safe future for the impending influx of babies. Not just kissing them for the cameras. 

“This is unquestionably a population boom – just at the other end of the spectrum.

“This ageing population needs to be celebrated, safe, independent and free from abuse. This seems like a fairly obvious step and worthy of support and understanding.

“Hence the Hourglass target of creating a Safer Ageing Society by 2050.” 

Therefore, Hourglass is also scrutinising what plans the political parties in England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland have outlined in their manifesto.

We can’t escape ageing. The elderly population needs to be cared for and protected from harmful and abusive influences.

And so far, in terms of protecting older people from abuse, harm, exploitation and neglect, the charity believes there has been precious little forward planning at all.  

Richard Robinson, CEO of Hourglass, said: “Hourglass believes, with the impending older population surge and 2.5 million people affected by the abuse of older people annually, we need as many active voices as possible to make the case.

“The political dial now needs to move to address this significant upsurge and the social care needs of this population shift. 

“We are working to analyse, with a variety of indicators, how seriously each political party is taking the notion of a Safer Ageing future.

“We will be announcing the results next Friday (21st June) and this, Election Safer Ageing Index, will also be used to scrutinise performance as the new parliamentary term takes shape.” 

Hourglass, which has been working to support older-victims of abuse and neglect since 1994, has a unique 24/7 helpline, instant messenger and Knowledge Bank service.

These services are already under threat due to delayed decision-making on future funding mechanisms.

Richard Robinson added:  “Whoever comes to power after 4th July, has to urgently secure service provision and agree funding for charities like Hourglass.

“This will go some distance in paving the way for a Safer Ageing future – but this is the bare minimum.

“The Violence Against Women and Girls (VAWG) commitments, whilst inspirational and much-needed, need to be replicated for older victim-survivors.

“This is another key consideration for the next Downing Street resident.” The charity was recently in the headlines for working to develop and script the story of Yolande Trueman, in BBCs EastEnders.

This, along with many other factors has seen the charity’s calls hit over 700 a week and with a likely 50,000 contacts per year.