Throughout the year we have campaigns for fund raising, social welfare in particular health and wellbeing, accommodation, housing and nursing homes, employment amongst the elderly community etc. Information on previous and forthcoming campaigns will be shown below.
SILVER SUNDAY IS COMING! 1 OCTOBER 2023!
BANKS MUST ACT TO INCLUDE OLDER PEOPLE AS LOCAL BRANCHES CLOSE OPAAL has worked with Manchester University Economics student Jude Atkinson to explore the devastating impacts of digital banking dominance upon older people, and whether this huge problem has any legitimate solutions. The shift to digital banking at the expense of in-person banking, has meant that many older people have completely lost control of their finances as they struggle to adapt to this change. But it has also been the banks who’ve failed to adapt, with them not showing any urgency, efficacy or care in providing sufficient digital banking support for older people. In this way banks have failed their customers, prioritising productivity and profit over people. Also, the closure of bank branches has also had, and is having, unimagined ramifications upon older people. So many older people can no longer perform fundamental banking tasks due to the lack of an in-person service, again leading to them being in less control of their hard-earned money. So many older people also now have fewer social interactions and interpersonal relationships, with older people no longer getting out visiting their local high-street or engaging with warm customer service. This in particular has been an impact which has been tossed to the wayside by policymakers and banks, but it must be recognised as regular social interactions are so integral for when you get older. This has been recognised by OPAAL, who propose an innovative initiative which would involve the development of informal spaces positioned in the heart of communities where older people can access the expertise of a banking professional, discuss their digital banking issues with others or simply just have a chat. Such spaces should be developed quickly to make up for the pitifully slow development of banking hubs, where, despite there being near to 250 bank branch closures in 2023, there are only 7 banking hubs.
Read our full article on this topic.
And check out our free resources designed to support anyone facing the closure of their local bank.
OPAAL is proud to be once again launching our annual Christmas Care Cards campaign once again. Christmas can mean a great many different things to different people, but for lots of older people in our communities, it is a mixed experience where they can experience loneliness, for people, places and bygone times. With this in mind OPAAL wants to encourage everyone to take the time and write, just maybe one or two Christmas cards, to those older people who would really appreciate a handwritten note in 2022.
We fully support all moves to limit our planet’s precious resources, and we know that we are facing a cost-of-living crisis – with the rising costs of greetings cards and postage on our minds. But for some older people, especially those who don’t participate in the online world, a card through the post to show you care can mean so much, So we say, show you care this Christmas! Send a card to someone who will really appreciate the thought. Give them that moment when they can be with you in spirit, if not in person and share with your friends the idea of sending Christmas Care Cards in 2022.
Let’s beat loneliness together!
OPAAL are supporting Leukaemia Care with their #SpotLeukaemia campaign – and there’s a very good reason why!
Did you know that nearly 65% of all leukaemia cases are diagnosed in those aged 65 and over? Worst than that – we often mistake the symptoms for those of “ageing”.
We are on a mission to #SpotLeukaemia and raise awareness amongst older people that they need to be aware of the symptoms and if they see a cluster in themselves or a loved one – take action fast!
And if taking action is difficult then independent advocates are here to help! Let this September be the start of us all learning how to #SpotLeukaemia so we all live healthy and happy lives together.
Learn more about all the valuable work undertaken by our friends at Leukaemia Care
Since 2001, OPAAL’s friends at the National Coalition of Advocacy Services has been promoting voluntary action in helping people in express themselves and speak up about what they want. We call this activity informal advocacy, and it can be undertaken by friends, relatives, neighbours, and others that meet in life. It can also be undertaken by people recruited via organisations, often to undertake another type of support. The need for this voluntary action to protect and promote dignity and rights within our communities has grown rather than diminished over these past few years.
The time seems right for us to look at how we best support informal advocacy in the years ahead. How do we encourage and support organic acts of human solidarity without inhibiting or over-formalising them? How do we support people when they are struggling with their role and best connect them to more specialised knowledge? How do we help people in identifying and dealing with conflict of interest? These are some of the themes that our Looking out for Each Other Project is currently exploring in drafting some definitions and helpful guidance for those involved in informal advocacy. A draft document will be produced for discussion at this event before being taken out for wider discussion.
To find out more, please email them at email@example.com or ring on 0151 734 5404.
OPAAL want to help shape the future of Breast Cancer Now’s services
Breast Cancer Now is undertaking an ambitious project to help shape our support services. If you’ve had a primary or secondary breast cancer diagnosis since the beginning of 2019, they’d love to hear about your experiences of accessing and receiving information, guidance and support (whether you got these from Breast Cancer Now or other places).
They’re particularly interested in finding out about the needs and experiences of people who are aged 70 and over, and want to hear from people across the UK.
We’ll use the survey results to review and improve the support we offer and will share news of changes or developments we make on their website.
OPAAL and the National Coalition of Advocacy Services (NCAS) published a hard-hitting report detailing the anger and frustration the older people experienced during the COVID19 restrictions of 2020 and 2021.
Over 40 older people in the Liverpool area, living in a variety of setting with a wide range of support systems, gave detailed information about how the restrictions impacted on their lives and those in their circles. The findings and recommendations have been published in a new report titled, “Learning from the impact of COVID19 to better promote the rights and dignity of older people”.
The report makes troubling reading, describing a lonely, frightening and potentially dangerous existence, devoid of human contact, or regulatory oversight, and where older people’s right and needs were the lowest priority. The de-humanisation of older people even extended to Do Not Attempt to Resuscitate (DNAR) orders placed on some individuals without their knowledge or consent.
Joe Monaghan, Chief Officer of NCAS and co-author of the report said,
“The strong sense of the absence of choice and a process of disempowerment for older people during the pandemic, cannot be ignored or be allowed to be repeated.
The idea that so many older people should simply “grin and bear” distress after distress in so many aspects of their lives in the interests of the public good, is both prejudicial and unacceptable. And the legacy of harm this has caused to the lives of older people and their contribution to and engagement with wider society will be with us all for many years to come.
The fact that for many people the distress did not end when people had died with so many other restrictions that prevented the grieving process from taking its usual course, speaks to the deep lack of understanding of what older people need, want and value.
Whilst we can all appreciate the enormity and magnitude of the pandemic and agree that everyone had a part to play in maintaining public health, our findings show that the burden of compromise fell far too hard on the older people in our communities, and this is not something that should ever be repeated in an inclusive and representative society.”
Copies of the full report can be obtained here.
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