AGENDA information for older people
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IN THIS ISSUE:
Catch the Bus
Caring for Others
to the third Edition of Agenda, the Scottish Executive's newsletter for older people. Inside you will find a variety of information and articles which we hope you will find interesting and helpful. If you want to know more about what's out there to help you stay active, get information on Concessionary Travel or where to get help if you are a carer then this newsletter is for you. It will signpost you to other sources of information and give you details of the people to contact if you want to find out more.
"Since the last issue of Agendacame out in March a lot has happened including the introduction of Free Local Off-Peak Bus Travel and Free Personal and Nursing Care.
I want to ensure that older people are seen and valued as individuals in their own right, and have the opportunities they need to live life to the full. Older people tell me that they want to continue to participate in many ways as volunteers, as carers, as workers, and as active members of communities. Our job is to help make that possible.
Listening to older people is a key part of that work. That's why I was very pleased to recently chair my first meeting of the older people's consultative forum which brings together the main national older people's organisations".
Frank McAveety MSP,
Deputy Minister for Health and Community Care
This is your newsletter, if you have any comments, questions or suggestions please do not hesitate to contact us, or log on to our new website www.scotland.gov.uk/olderpeople.
CATCH THE BUS!
ONE MILLION Pensioners and disabled people throughout Scotland will now benefit from the national minimum of free local bus travel, within existing travel scheme boundaries, after 9.30 am on weekdays and all day at weekends. The Scottish Executive has worked in partnership with local authorities and bus operators to put these extended arrangements in place and is now working hard to ensure that those who are eligible for this new benefit are made aware of the changes. You may have seen this poster in your local newspaper or on bus shelters.
"Ensuring that public transport is available to all is a priority for the Scottish Executive and I am delighted to see our commitment to providing free travel to older and disabled people become a reality."
Iain Gray MSP, Minister for Enterprise, Transport and Lifelong Learning
Local authorities are also able to extend the minimum to provide additional benefits for concessionary travel. If you want further information on what is available in your area contact your local authority. Alternatively visit the Scottish Executive Older People's Website www.scotland.gov.uk/olderpeople for more information.
CARING FOR OTHERS
THERE ARE at least 600,000 carers in Scotland. Carers are people who regularly provide support or care to relatives or friends who are unable to look after themselves through illness or disability. Many carers are older people helping to look after husbands, wives, partners, children, friends or neighbours.
If you are a carer you may not need any support to help you with your caring responsibilities but you may want to know what your rights are. You may only need advice and information from time to time but want to know where to go for help when your needs change. You may simply want the benefit of talking to other carers and want to know if there are carer support groups in your area. Or you may be finding it difficult to cope with the physical, emotional and financial aspects of caring. In which case you need to know that you may be eligible to receive practical support and/or financial assistance.
Whatever your situation help is available by calling the NHS Helpline free on 0800 22 44 88. Lines are open from 9 am to 8 pm every day.
Helpline staff can help you access contact points for national organisations that help carers throughout Scotland, details of carer support centres operating in your area and connect you with someone in your local authority who can help arrange practical support as well as offer advice on any financial assistance available.
From 1 September 2002 new laws have been introduced to better support Scotland's carers. Guidance on the carers' measures contained in the Community Care and Health (Scotland) Act 2002 is being consulted upon between November 2002 and January 2003. The draft guidance is now available by logging on to: www.scotland.gov.uk/olderpeople. Alternatively, copies can be obtained from Hayley Brown - 2 East Rear
St Andrew's House, Regent Road, Edinburgh EH1 3DG.
0131 244 4040 (national rate)
WHETHER YOU live in a rural area or a city like Glasgow there is often a wide range of vibrant arts activities to get involved in. Many retired people are in a good position to participate - theatres, concert halls and cinemas often provide concessions, and entry to art galleries is free.
Yet many who have spent their lives working hard and bringing up families may have had limited contact with "the arts". As a result there is often a belief among many older people that "the arts aren't for the likes of us, they're too elitist". So they exclude themselves from even tasting all the exciting possibilities that are available in their community.
'Encourage' is a new initiative started earlier this year. Its aim is to break this self-imposed barrier by helping more older people engage in arts activities, especially those who would normally be excluded because of ill-health, lack of mobility, or just not being able to afford it.
Clio Barr, co-ordinator of the project is optimistic that they can get people who are often marginalized involved in the arts. "We've worked closely with Glasgow City Council's Community Action Teams (CAT) and locally-based pensioners groups to arrange trips for older people in the outlying areas around Glasgow to various events and performances in the city centre. 'Encourage' also provides lifelong learning tutors to help the people on these visits fully appreciate the experience and they can often enjoy a workshop or visit backstage. We also understand that difficulty travelling can be a barrier to engaging in the arts so we aim to provide free transport to the venues where necessary."
There have been enthusiastic responses from those who have taken part in Encourage's "toe-in-the-water" spring programme for experiencing the arts. Visits to the Scottish Ballet's "The Two Pigeons" and the RSNO Proms were both huge successes and enjoyed enormously by all involved, even though many had never considered going to them before.
"The ballet was wonderful ... I'd had no experience of it before and initially didn't even want to go," wrote one convinced participant. Visits to Glasgow's Art Fair in a Tent and Gallery of Modern Art also proved popular. "The Art Fair went far beyond my expectations, I'd expected just an old tent with pictures in it."
For more information on 'Encourage' contact Clio Barr, project co-ordinator at the Senior Studies Institute. University of Strathclyde, on 0141 548 4974 (national rate) or email at firstname.lastname@example.org
'CALL THAT SINGING!' is a Glasgow-based community arts programme aimed at encouraging people of all ages and abilities to take to the stage, especially those who think they can't sing!
Founded in 1989 for Glasgow's Year of Culture celebrations, the group has proved particularly attractive to older people and meets every week to raise the rafters with a wide range of songs - from Scottish folk music to Country and Western to Opera.
However, as well as providing a warm environment in which to enjoy and participate in music,'Call That Singing!' has also provided an opportunity for research into the health benefits for older people participating in the arts. Project Director Sue Hillman has undertaken research over a 12-year-period among people over the statutory age of retirement who have participated in 'Call That Singing!' Her findings indicate that singing can provide a host of worthwhile benefits:
"We found that participants perceived improvements to their general quality of life, including emotional well-being, levels of self-confidence and a more active social life... Culturally, participants also see an improvement in their understanding and enjoyment of music and the arts, encouraging them to go to theatres, shows and museums, which contributes to the cultural value of Glasgow as whole".
'Call That Singing!' meets on a Monday night at 7 pm at Renfield St Stephen's Church Centre, 260 Bath Street, Glasgow. For more information visit their website at www.callthatsinging.co.uk.