Martina Anderson, herself a carer for her elderly mother pictured above, speaks on why age discrimination must end.
We at the Office of First and Deputy First Ministers recongnise that there are serious shortcomings in the existing older people's strategy and we have therefore been developing a new replacement strategy based on the five United Nations Principles for Older persons which are - independence, participation, care, self-fulfillment and dignity.
We have no doubt that the new strategy and associated action plans will when they are finalised go a long way to improving the lives of older people all over over the North.
The European Union has designated 2012 as the European Year of Active Ageing and Solidarity Between Generations and when I was in Brussels two weeks ago speaking to the Directorate General on Employment about our appointing an Older Persons Commission with statutory powers, he was very keen that other states in Europe could learn from the good practice taken forward by the Executive in the North.
We in OFMdFM will work with colleagues in other Deptartment and in incoming Commissioner for Older People, Claire Keatinge, and parners in the voluntary and community sector to develop a programme of events to promote the objectives of European Year 2012 which will inclue raising awareness, spreading good parctice and enouraging policymakers and stakeholder at all levels to facilitate active ageing.
Older people are the bedrock of any society and as such they deserve a strong voice and that is what the Commission will bring to the Executive.
That was why we put the commitment in the Programme for Government on end age discrimination through legislation on Goods, Facilities, & Services (GFS). Equal treatment for us all is important in all aspects of life, from community life, to public life, to employment, health care and education. But older people still face unfair age discrimination which occurs when that prejudice is allowed to influence what goods, facilities and services they can access and the price they pay for them - the Executive agrees that age discrimination must end.