Monday, 8 January 2018

Brexit: and ending the growing 'age aparteid'

There is clearly a 'generation gap' emerging:
Futures Forum: Old vs young: "Baby boomers have built an empire and empires need protecting: God forbid that house prices fall and housing becomes cheaper for young people!"

Especially post-Brexit:
Futures Forum: Brexit: and Britain's cities growing younger and its small towns growing older at a faster rate than at any other time in recent history

One way round it might be for the generations to live together a little more:
Futures Forum: A solution to our housing problems: an intergenerational home

A report has just come out looking at 'age apartheid – a country divided by age and generation':
A country for all ages:ending age apartheid in Brexit Britain

Here's the press release:


3 January 2018

‘A Country for All Ages’ report promotes greater integration between older and younger people, with ideas for action from wide range of national and local organisations

Urgent action is needed to end the growing ‘age apartheid’ in Brexit Britain, according to think tank United for All Ages in a report published today. It calls for the divisions of 2016 to be healed by bringing older and younger people together through building multigenerational communities, innovative two-way relationships and better communication between generations.

Age apartheid is growing as older and younger generations are more segregated than ever in Brexit Britain. The widening gap between generations is highlighted in the new United for All Ages report, ‘A Country for All Ages’, which includes analysis of recent research.

This shows that different generations are less likely to mix with other generations, with the oldest and youngest least likely to mix. Once family interactions are excluded, the average Briton has 56% less interaction with other age groups than would be expected if there was no social segregation.  

The housing market has exacerbated this separation, with a growing difference between rural areas, where more older people live, and urban areas with younger populations. Urban areas are also increasingly segregated between younger people living in rented accommodation in city centres and older people in owner occupation in the suburbs.

The generational divide in political attitudes seen in recent votes reflects a wider lack of trust and understanding between older and younger people. The report highlights the impact of ‘age apartheid’ from rising isolation and loneliness to ageism and alienation, and calls for social innovation to build mutual support and belonging and to reduce stereotyping and myths.

Tackling intergenerational inequity is the challenge of our times, according to United for All Ages. It says two economic measures are required urgently to address the housing crisis and implement fairer taxation. Investment in building many more affordable homes for both younger and older generations has to be accompanied by shifting the balance of taxation from income to wealth to reduce the burden on those of working age.

The new report’s key recommendations for bringing older and younger people together include:

-          Building multigenerational communities: support for community businesses; making public spaces and shops more accessible; opening up community facilities from universities to older people’s housing schemes for all ages; and co-locating childcare and eldercare schemes

-          Mutual support through two-way relationships: online mentoring of younger people; advocacy for older people needing health and social care; Homeshare schemes where younger people live with older people; and increased interaction between grandfathers and grandchildren

-          Better communication between generations: establishing a national council for all ages supported by an intergenerational convention bringing older and younger people together from across the country; building bridges between generations with shared identities and interests; and using theatre and other arts activities and street parties.   

A Country for All Ages features contributions from some twenty national organisations concerned about improving relations between generations - ranging from the International Longevity Centre and Grandparents Plus to the Intergenerational Foundation and the Challenge - together with younger and older people.  They have all shared ideas and projects to bring younger and older people together locally and nationally.

Stephen Burke, director of United for All Ages, said: “Britain is increasingly divided by age and by generation. Ending age apartheid and promoting social integration between generations can help build communities and a country for all ages, where we are united not divided. In Brexit Britain that is an ambition worth pursuing in 2017.

“By sharing our concerns and interests and sharing our experiences and community activities across generations, we can promote stronger understanding and trust between people of all ages. Starting in our neighbourhoods and communities, we can all take responsibility to make it happen. In our ageing society this is the big challenge for social innovation in 2017 and beyond.”

United For All Ages | United - not divided

The East Devon Watch blog looks at how the Times reports the story - and asks a couple more questions:


5 JAN 2018

Owl says: They don’t mention age segregation by affluence, where rich older people can segregate (and isolate) themselves in luxury apartments, leaving the poorer elderly to try to rent inadequate housing. Now where might they be …!

“Britain must create 500 cross-generational housing, care home, school and nursery sites to break down “age apartheid” and heal social divisions, a think tank says.

The first wave of institutions should be set up within five years, it said, to reverse decades of social change that has increasingly kept younger and older generations apart.

The report by United For All Ages, which seeks to bring people together across generations, said that Britain was one of the most age-segregated countries in the world, resulting in loneliness and divided communities. This was driven in part by trends in housing, with many families living farther apart. High house prices meant that market towns and rural communities often had ageing populations while more inner city communities were dominated by young people, it said.

The problem was exacerbated by the diminished role in some communities of local shops, churches, pubs and clubs as retailers moved out of town or online, church attendance fell and pubs closed.

Changes in workplaces were also a factor, it said, as some industries attracted younger or older workforces while flexible or home working meant it was less common for people to mix with colleagues from several generations at work.

The study called on care providers, schools, planners and developers, ministers and local authorities to help to reverse the trend by creating institutions for shared use.

One example is a network of more than 450 multigeneration meeting houses developed in Germany as part of a government response to its ageing population. These host day care services for older people, parent-andtoddler groups, homework clubs, education courses and caf├ęs, supported by volunteers. The report calls on nurseries, primary schools and care homes to develop similar spaces on their sites.

The Times reported in July how a nursery had become the first in Britain to open a site at a care home. Apples and Honey nursery opened its second site in a bungalow in the grounds of Nightingale House, a residential home for elderly Jewish men and women in Clapham, southwest London. Last month Downshall primary school in Redbridge, east London, opened a day centre three mornings a week for older people with dementia and depression to share activities with pupils.

The report urges planners to go further with cross-generation housing shared by older people and students, encouraging homeowners who want to downsize to subdivide their properties to create housing for families, and overlapping training for people to work in care homes and childcare.

Stephen Burke, director of United for All Ages, said: “Britain is dogged by divisions — we are divided by class, income, race, geography and age. The mistrust that arises from such divisions is fuelled by the lack of connection between different generations. This can breed myths and stereotypes, misunderstanding, ageism and exclusion. That’s why we believe mixing matters.”

Source: The Times (pay wall)

Age segregation in housing must end says think-tank | East Devon Watch

This is from the Unites for All Ages group's website:

United for All Ages builds stronger communities and a stronger country by bringing younger and older people together and promoting a Britain for all ages. Rather than dividing generations, social and economic policies and programmes should unite all ages.
Everyone should have the chance to work, somewhere decent to live and support for families with caring responsibilities. Underpinning action on homes, care and jobs should be fair taxation, shifting the balance from taxing income to taxing wealth.
Taking care of all generations highlights our interdependence. Let’s focus on what unites us – our mutual hopes and concerns; prevention being better than cure; technology working for all; support throughout life; and giving power to people.
We can create a Britain for all ages. To make progress, we need leadership and a new spirit in Britain that uses the assets and the contributions of citizens of all ages.
United for All Ages is a ‘think and do’ tank and social enterprise developing new ‘all ages’ approaches to key social and economic issues – from housing and care to work and technology.
We work with a wide range of national and local organisations to do things differently in our ageing society, building communities for all ages and developing shared sites where care and housing schemes are co-located with nurseries and schools. Join our network
News from United
#mixingmatters – United for All Ages’ new report published on 5 January 2018: Mixing Matters: how shared sites can bring older and younger people together and unite Brexit Britain – download Mixing Matters and News release
First primary school to host a day centre for older people with dementia – launched in December in Redbridge, the day centre at Downshall primary school brings together older people and children to learn and grow together. Featured on BBC Breakfast TV and in The Guardian
National conference: Innovation in Care – Stories of Intergenerational Action – hear more about how shared sites and other schemes are bringing older and young people together and improving quality of life and care for all involved. Monday 12 February 2018 at Goldsmiths College, London – details here
Making co-location of care happen in the UK – United for All Ages is working with providers of older people’s housing and care and of childcare to create shared sites bringing old and young together. For more on the ‘how to’, please contact us
Ending age apartheid – how the ‘care-home nursery’ can bring old and young together – our lecture to the Royal Society of Medicine’s Innovations Summit
The first ‘shared site’ in this country opened in September 2017 – Apples & Honey nursery has opened at Nightingale House, a care home, bringing older and young people together with their families. Lovely BBC news film here. It’s the first example in the UK of a shared site with integrated activities, following the USA, Japan, Singapore, Australia, Canada and elsewhere in Europe. See more here and here
Getting involved – many local groups are contacting us about building links between care homes and informal childcare. Here are some Tips for parent and toddler groups planning activities in a local care home
Making bridges with music –Evaluation Report by Plymouth University of Torbay council’s music project bringing older and young people together with childminders and care homes
How downsizing home can help all generations – see United for All Ages’ submission to the House of Commons Communities and Local Government Select Committee inquiry into housing for older people
Families get tougher on quality of care – the latest analysis of reviews left on Good Care Guide. See news release
A Country for All Ages: ending age apartheid in Brexit Britain: United for All Ages’ report on how different generations can be brought together – see report and news release
Creating age-friendly cities – a Parliamentary briefing for national and local politicians, planners, housing and transport providers
Tackling the care crisis – see United for All Ages’ submission to the House of Commons Communities and Local Government Select Committee inquiry into care funding.
Intergenerational fairness – see United for All Ages’ submission to the House of Commons Work and Pensions Select Committee inquiry into intergenerational fairness.
Fairness for all ages United for All Ages’ report Fairness for all ages – twenty radical ways to promote intergenerational equity features contributions from twenty national organisations on tackling inequality between generations
Downsizing home – United for All Ages’ latest website, www.downsizingdirect.com, encourages and supports older people and their families to downsize home. Providing free advice and practical support, the site aims to help older people to move to ‘the right place at the right time’ – a win-win for all generations
A Britain for All Ages – this report calls for a new contract between the generations, with ten ways to build a Britain where people of all ages can prosper. Read the report here See also this policy paper, A Future for All Ages

United For All Ages | United - not divided

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