Ageing and the Social Services Bill - Wales

In early June, I attended an excellent seminar hosted by the good people at Policy Forum for Wales regarding the Social Services & Wellbeing (Wales) Bill, which is currently making its way through the legislative process.

During the discussion on growing older in Wales, several speakers – including Mike Hedges AM, as well as representatives of ADSS Cymru and the WLGA – talked about why we need ‘integrated services’ in order to meet older people’s needs. They argued that if we are to make Wales a great place to grow old, we need to adjust not simply our social care system, but a whole plethora of other services which affect our wellbeing.

I could not agree more with this sentiment – and I wanted to set out three examples of ‘non-social’ services which are valued by older people, and question where these fit within current narratives around the Social Services & Wellbeing Bill.

Firstly, take three short examples of wider services which contribute towards older people’s wellbeing:

Yet despite a clear consensus that we need to look more holistically at ageing, it is an inescapable fact that issues around ageing are still being placed in the ‘health and social care’ box. Indeed, the Policy Forum Wales seminar explored so many issues around ageing precisely because they are being tackled through a Social Services Bill – and most of the delegates who attended were from social services departments, the Welsh Government departments to which they are answerable, or the voluntary sector who provide so many of the services they commission. Where were the town planners, the heads of bus and rail companies or the directors of leisure facilities, all of whom play every bit as important a part in creating an age-friendly society?

There is no doubting that we can only improve lives for older people by making sure older people’s issues break out of the social care straitjacket. People in social care understand that – but do the people running the other services?

Posted by Dr Ed Bridges, Public Affairs Manager (Wales) at 00:00 Thursday, 13 June 2013.

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