At a Commons debate last Thursday, MPs put pressure on the government to create a ‘minister for older people’. The proposal has received cross-party support with ministers suggesting elderly members of society are often overlooked by politicians.
10 million people in the UK are aged over 65 and much of today’s public spending on benefits is focused on elderly people. The government already has ministers who specifically represent the interests of women and children, so it’s only fair that this increasingly large and vulnerable section of society feels it has a voice.
In recent years there has been recognition of the need to look after and provide for our aging population and measures have been introduced to protect and promote their interests. In October 2007 the Mental Capacity Act became fully effective in the UK. The entire “raison d’etre” behind this was to empower individuals to make their own decisions as to who should care for them and who should make decisions on their behalf should they ever lose the capacity to do so themselves.
It’s pleasing to see that the need for this growing sector of our community to have an advocate is being recognised at parliamentary level. More and more of us are living longer and whilst there will always be competing priorities, the elderly deserve to have their specific needs and interests listened to.
Here at Napthens we have a specialist elderly client team, with four of our lawyers being members of Solicitors for the Elderly, a national group of lawyers committed to providing quality legal advice to our elderly community.