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Ageing Hub and Independent Age offer free online training sessions on Pension Credit and Attendance Allowance (September 2023)
Do you regularly talk to people of State Pension Age? Could you help an older person check that they are getting all the benefits they are entitled to?
Throughout September and October, national charity Independent Age are offering short introductory sessions on Pension Credit and Attendance Allowance to the Greater Manchester workforce via a partnership with the Greater Manchester Ageing Hub.
Colleagues who are frontline workers and volunteers are encouraged to sign up for a free 75-minute online training session.
Approximately £70 million worth of Pension Credit goes unclaimed each year in Greater Manchester alone, with around 36,000 eligible households missing out on the additional regular income.
Provided by an experienced welfare rights adviser, the sessions will also demonstrate how to use the online benefits calculator Entitled to Benefit – a free tool that signposts individuals to the support they can claim based on their circumstances.
This course is aimed at those who don’t work in welfare benefit advice roles. Up to 31 October, 14 training sessions are on offer with 35 places on each course.
By the end of the session you will be able to:
- Explain what Pension Credit is, who may be eligible and how to claim
- Explain what Attendance Allowance is, who may be eligible and how to claim
- Know when to ask for or signpost to specialist advice
- Use the online benefits calculator to enable someone see if they are missing out on benefits
- Use strategies for starting the conversation about claiming benefits with people that you work with
Sessions are currently available from 7 September – 31 October.
To book your place: Independent Age Events | Eventbrite
Paul McGarry wins outstanding achievement award (July 2023)
Head of Great Manchester Ageing Hub Paul McGarry has won the British Society of Gerontology’s Outstanding Achievement Award for 2023.
The award is the society’s biggest honour and is given to individuals who have made a significant and lasting contribution to gerontological understanding of ageing, or to improving the lives of older people. Gerontology is the study of the biological, psychological, and social impacts of ageing.
Paul was formally announced as the winner on the first day of the British Society of Gerontology’s annual conference at the University of East Anglia on Wednesday 5 July.
Since taking up his role in May 2017, Paul has worked on several projects including the Pension Top Up campaign, which generated more than £3 million of additional income for older residents in Greater Manchester (GM), the Winterwise campaign, which saw 300,000 booklets of important information and advice delivered to older people across GM, and the Ageing in Place Pathfinder, which is currently investing £4million into local communities over a three-year period to ensure older people’s voices are heard and valued in the places that they live.
This is the second award Paul has won over the past 12 months following his recognition as part of the Healthy Ageing 50 in October. The Healthy Ageing 50 is a UN Decade of Healthy Ageing initiative that honours 50 leaders who are working to foster healthy ageing.
New book highlights challenges of everyday life under Covid-19 (June 2023)
Older people were disproportionately affected by the emergence and spread of COVID-19, whether in hospitals, the community, or in care homes. A new book – COVID-19, Inequality and Older People: Everyday Life during the Pandemic – explores some of the challenges faced by different groups of older people over the course of 2020 and 2021, together with the community organisations working on their behalf.
Strategies to control COVID-19 led to various forms of exclusion affecting all age groups, but raised particular issues for older people, for example, the effects of social distancing, digital exclusion, loss of access to community support, and social isolation. Ethnic inequalities were a feature throughout all waves of the pandemic, with certain groups – for example, those from the Bangladeshi and Pakistani communities – experiencing very high rates of death from COVID-19.
COVID-19, Inequality and Older People: Everyday Life during the Pandemic describes the experiences of different groups of older people living in 30 neighbourhoods across Greater Manchester. It highlights both the challenges that people faced and the extraordinary resilience that people demonstrated in coping with a major crisis that affected many aspects of daily life.
Communities felt the impact of inequalities but also demonstrated ways of mobilising support to help those most affected by COVID-19. Community organisations across Greater Manchester played a vital role in developing new activities including meal deliveries, IT assistance, telephone befriending schemes, and bereavement counselling.
However, evidence suggests that neighbourhoods and the different groups within them have been at the receiving end of actions to combat COVID-19, rather than being treated as equal partners.
The impact of COVID-19 has been exacerbated by dramatic rises in the price of energy and fuel. This has hit those who live in low-income communities, and those from ethnic minority backgrounds who tend to be poorer, have lower pensions, live in overcrowded housing, and are often in poorer health, the hardest.
The book concludes by arguing for ‘community-centred’ strategies to support people in the likelihood of future pandemics. These strategies focused on: ensuring community organisations have the necessary resources to support vulnerable groups, re-opening community facilities closed through the impact of austerity on local authority budgets, recruiting community advocates to speak on behalf of individuals and/or groups at risk of discrimination from accessing services and finally, promoting digital inclusion through training and support for older people as well as reviewing the costs as well as benefits of moving services online.
COVID-19, Inequality and Older People: Everyday Life during the Pandemic. Camilla Lewis, Chris Phillipson, Sophie Yarker and Luciana Lang, Policy Press, 2023. Available as a free download:
Greater Manchester launches new video to support people to do digital in later life (May 2023)
A new video has been launched to support more older people to get online and benefit from doing digital in later life.
Research shows that many older people benefit from support and guidance from someone close to them to get online or use digital devices. In Greater Manchester 93,000 over 75s are digital excluded, with a third never having used the internet.
In May 2022, Greater Manchester Combined Authority and The Good Things Foundation joined forces to produce a brand-new resource – ‘Doing Digital in Later Life: a practical guide’. The guide is designed for anyone from relatives and friends to carers and front-line workers to help them get started and support someone they know to do digital in later life.
The guide was initially launched following Mayor of Greater Manchester, Andy Burnham re-election, where he announced ambitions for Greater Manchester to become one of the first city-regions in the world to equip all over-75s with the skills, connectivity and technology to get online.
This new video reinforces that there’s no one size fits all when it comes to going digital in later life. You don’t need to be a technical whizz to help an older person do things online – being patient and encouraging is what matters most, something we can all do.
The animated video version of the Doing Digital in Later Life guide will be another tool our people and organisations across the region can use to support older people in their digital journey.
Winterwise campaign launch (November 2022)
As the costs of energy, food and other bills continues to rise, the coming months are expected to be difficult for many older residents across the city-region.
With many older residents digitally excluded, Greater Manchester Ageing Hub has partnered with national older person’s charity Independent Age to produce a new printed information guide called ‘Winterwise - a guide to keeping well this winter’.
More than 325K printed guides are being distributed across Greater Manchester from mid-November 2022. The guide brings together key information for older people on cost of living support with messages focusing on three themes - ‘Stay warm’, ‘Stay safe’ and ‘Stay well’.
The guide builds on the Greater Manchester Pension Top Up campaign, also delivered with Independent Age, which encourages older residents to check they are getting all their financial entitlements, including support for energy costs. In Greater Manchester, £70 million goes unclaimed each year just in Pension Credit, with many older residents missing out on Attendance Allowance, Housing Benefit, Council Tax Benefit, and other entitlements which could make a massive difference to their weekly income.
With support from Talking About My Generation – the first older person’s led newsroom in the UK, a video has been produced with older residents in Greater Manchester to promote the guide. Please find the video in this YouTube link.
To get a physical copy for yourself, your loved ones or older people you are supporting, please look out for local distributions such as at libraries, pharmacies, warm hubs and more, or call Independent Age on 0800 319 6789. You could also call your local council’s dedicated cost of living phone line for more advice and support. If you’d like copies of the Winterwise guide (in multiples of 88 per box), please email email@example.com
The online version is available at GMCA’s website
Doing digital in later life: a practical guide (November 2022)
In May 2022, the Greater Manchester Ageing Hub and Good Things Foundation launched ‘Doing Digital in Later Life: a practical cuide’ to support more older people to get online and benefit from using digital devices.
As we move into the winter months, doing digital can help older residents in Greater Manchester keep well. Ordering grocery deliveries and repeat prescriptions online, getting to grips with digital heating systems or smart devices, and keeping connected with family and friends online can all help an older person stay connected and independent. This guide is aimed at family, friends and frontline workers who want to support an older person take their next step on digital.
The guide has been used across Greater Manchester by people like Liz, a volunteer at the Wigan’s TechMates, who has found it to be a great resource: Case Study: TechMates support residents doing digital in later life - Greater Manchester Combined Authority (greatermanchester-ca.gov.uk)
The Greater Manchester Ageing Well Workshop (October 2022)
The Ageing Well team in Greater Manchester recently came together at a workshop to share their ambition of creating a ‘Greater Manchester Ageing Well approach’ for the system.
At the Ageing Hub we are bringing the age-friendly approach to ageing well with the wider NHS programmes, to develop system wide outcomes to support older people to age well in place.
We are working towards a change in approach to health and social care to ensure that we have a more proactive care system in the right place, working to prevent poor outcomes through healthy and active ageing within a place, building on existing community-based age-friendly initiatives; and finally working towards quality improvement in existing acute and community services ensuring people get the right care when they need it.
The Ageing Well programme provides us with an opportunity to bring together primary care, social care, public health, age-friendly neighbourhood teams and specialist NHS trusts to support the shift towards prevention and create the conditions for older people to age well in place across Greater Manchester.
The workshop was a success, with a wide range of stakeholders from across the system attending, including older people, NHS, housing, transport, employment, physical activity, mental health plus many others.
There were some key themes which emerged from the day which will help shape this work as move forward to co-design shared outcomes for the system. You can see these themes in the image below. Some of the themes included falls prevention, how we use data to better target key populations, co-production, reducing inequalities and digital exclusion just to name a few.
We are committed to bringing the Ageing Well Eco-system back together in the very near future to continue the development of this work.
For any further information on this work, please email Bethany Mitchell (Ageing Well Programme Manager, GMCA)
Paul McGarry recognised as part of 'Healthy Ageing 50 Award' (October 2022)
Paul McGarry, Head of the Greater Manchester Ageing Hub, has been recognised as part of the Healthy Ageing 50!
The Healthy Ageing 50 is a UN Decade of Healthy Ageing initiative that seeks to honour 50 leaders who are working to foster healthy ageing. The individuals were evaluated by an expert panel of reviewers from across international organisations with over 500 nominations received across all Sustainable Development Goal regions.
The award aims to inspire others by celebrating individuals (not their organisations nor affiliated entities) around the world who are aiming to improve the lives of current and future generations of older people.
Paul was nominated for the award in recognition of his decades-long work on healthy ageing in Greater Manchester. Since 2003, Paul has led multi-agency urban ageing partnerships to develop pioneering approaches to increasing the power and influence of older people within local government and related institutions.
In 2016 he was appointed as the Head of the Greater Manchester Ageing Hub and has been keen on developing age-friendly environments across Greater Manchester, influencing in the process work on healthy ageing issues amongst the ten local authorities.
In addition, Paul has had a number of journal articles on ageing published, and given presentations to high-profile events in the USA, Asian, Europe and Australia.
‘Beyond Older Age’: New project helping researchers and practitioners to understand the everyday lives of older people (October 2022)
A new project, launched on International Day of Older Persons 2022 and led by Dr Amy Barron, Lecturer in Social and Cultural Geography at the University of Manchester, demonstrates how researchers and policy practitioners can generate rich material to better represent the lives of older people through the release of a booklet and animation.
The project advocates using an immersive, participatory, flexible and creative approach. Such an approach will help policy practitioners and academics to better understand the diversity of experiences which comprise ‘older age’.
Working with partner organisations across GM who aspire to make places more age-friendly (World Health Organisation), the project demonstrates how creative, participatory approaches can: i) offer inclusive approaches for researching with diverse older populations; ii) foreground the relations between individual ageing processes and cities; iii) create a living archive of everyday life that is of significance to policy and interested residents.
The project has culminated in a booklet, ‘Beyond Older Age: Approaches to Understand the Diverse Lives of Older People’, which showcases the different ways older age is lived in GM, and an accompanying animation. Endorsed, co-badged and disseminated by project partners, the booklet includes material from a photo and story collection Manchester University co-produced with older Greater Manchester residents.
The booklet also details how policy communities and academics can use a more creative, participatory approach when working with older people, and introduces a selection of methods that might be used. It argues that such an approach can be used to better represent older people’s lives in policy and research: something pivotal to the creation of age-friendly cities.
The project responds to calls from the Greater Manchester Ageing Hub about the need for new, innovative methods with regards to co-production. By showcasing how older age is experienced differently, the project responds to research and campaigns which have identified that representations of older age often fall back on medicalised, stereotypical accounts of what constitutes older lives.
Virginia Tandy, Director of The Creative Ageing Development Agency, said:
This booklet offers great insight into the diversity of life experience amongst older people and some practical and effective research methods. It also highlights the central importance of social connection and agency to ageing well.
Article Published: 26/09/2022 11:20 AM