Valuing the needs of older people: ‘When will our voice be heard?’
Story: Abtisam Mohammed and Gulnaz Hussain
On Tuesday the 24th April, over 100 older people from the Somali, Pakistani and Yemeni communities came to voice their concerns at a BME consultation day organised by the Yemeni Community Association and the Pakistan Community Association. The event allowed the many elderly men and women to voice their concerns about the services they wanted to receive. Key speakers from the community came forward to express their experiences and what they wanted to be done.
Many claimed they ‘do not know what’s on offer’. One older person argued ‘the service provision needs to take into account cultural preferences’.
One woman from the Yemeni community said: ‘My neighbour gets a minibus to come and pick her up several days a week to take her to a day care centre. No one has offered me such a service. Why does no-one do this for me is it because I can’t speak English?’
Many were disconcerted that despite the many years they contributed to support the economy working in dismal and underpaid conditions, they were now undervalued and ignored.
Countless frustrations amongst the older people were voiced at the lack of services available to them in their localities. One older person argued: ‘We’ve lost faith in major services and want services from our own community voluntary groups’
What was very clear from the comments of the older people was that their needs seem to have been ignored and they do not hold too much optimism for any change. A gentleman from the Pakistani community said:
“It seems that the council and the rest of the world do not care for the elderly. What little help is provided by the council if often inappropriate and too late”
Key officers listened as they heard what the older people had to say. A report based on the findings of the event, will be published and given to the people who have the power to make a difference.
Will the findings change the way services are delivered or commissioned, we’ll have to wait and see.