Wales adopts Declaration of Rights for older people
Caring Times, September 2014
Wales has become the first country in the world to adopt a Declaration of the Rights of Older People, which sets out the rights of older people in Wales.
Last year, the deputy minister for social services Gwenda Thomas asked the Older People’s Commissioner for Wales to chair a working group to consider how the lives of older people in Wales could be enhanced through a declaration of rights.
The Declaration, which has received cross-party support in the National Assembly for Wales, is based on the UN Principles for Older Persons and sets out what older people have said they value and what rights they feel would support and protect them:
- I have the right to be who I am
- I have the right to be valued
- I have free will and the right to make decisions about my life
- I have the right to decide where I live, how I live and with whom I live
- I have the right to work, develop, participate and contribute I have a right to safety, security and justice
Ms Thomas said the Declaration was world-leading step for Wales in the drive for equality and human rights.
“As a government, we have a proud record of promoting the interests of older people,” said Ms Thomas.
“It’s because of that commitment we are determined to build a fair and inclusive Wales, and communities in which everyone can participate. The number of older people in Wales is growing and there is no dedicated set of rights for older people in the UK. Age discrimination and ageism are widely tolerated across the world. We must dispel old-fashioned stereotypes of people based on their age, and recognise and value the enormous contributions that older people make in all of our communities across Wales.”
Older People’s Commissioner for Wales Sarah Rochira said the Declaration would remind public services about the rights that older people have, illustrating in a practical way what this means on a day-to-day basis for older people and their duties around supporting and engaging effectively with older people across Wales.
“It also provides a clear framework and standard that can be used by older people themselves to ensure that they receive the support and services they need to live fulfilled independent lives,” said Ms Rochira.