Active Retirement Ireland is proud to announce that key findings gleaned from a comprehensive 2023 Members’ Consultation have played a pivotal role in influencing Ireland’s contribution to the latest AGE Platform Europe Policy Statement, which was published this month and is an influential assessment of EU policy coordination concerning older populations.
Active Retirement Ireland represents and advocates for the interests of older adults in Ireland and is the country’s largest membership organisation for older people. Earlier this year, the organisation conducted an extensive consultation among members focusing on crucial matters impacting people in later life, with key findings shaping the Irish perspective and contribution to the AGE Platform Europe report.
Recognised for their depth and insight, the findings have been acknowledged within the report, specifically highlighting Ireland’s valuable discernment of the challenges and opportunities faced by individuals in later stages of life.
Active Retirement Ireland CEO Maureen Kavanagh said “Active Retirement Ireland is committed to representing and championing the concerns of older people at all levels and we are delighted that the views of our members, taken from the findings of our 2023 members survey, have directly shaped Ireland’s voice in the AGE Platform Europe report, shedding light on critical areas that warrant attention within EU policy frameworks.”
Alison Bough, Policy and Programmes Manager at Active Retirement Ireland, said “The AGE Platform Europe report show that while some policies within the European Semester show potential, there are evident gaps that require immediate attention. Measures aimed at addressing the cost-of-living crisis lacked adequate focus on the most vulnerable, leading to the exclusion of many older individuals from crucial support. The narrow emphasis on long-term care dependency as synonymous with healthcare for older people must be reconsidered, with broader focus on positive ageing approaches that support older adults to age well and to live independently and fully, recognising the benefits of increased longevity.
“Feedback from our members show that they are concerned by their financial situations and access to health and care, and support the establishment of comprehensive positive ageing frameworks and the independence of the Commissioner for Older People in Ireland. The findings underscore the importance of understanding and addressing the diverse needs of older people in order to advocate for and implement policies that support and empower this demographic across Europe.”
The November 2023 AGE Platform Europe Policy Statement, AGE Position on the European Semester 2023, provides analysis from a national and EU-wide point of view on the 2023 European Semester process, the EU’s cycle for coordinating social and economic policies and implementing the after-COVID Recovery and Resilience Fund.
The report analysis focused on how far the recommendations made for twelve EU Member States reflect the ambition to adapt public policies to the ageing of the EU population. Active Retirement Ireland’s input to the analysis is the only inclusion for Ireland and members’ direct insights and experiences form the basis of the Irish perspective.
Active Retirement Ireland’s 2023 Members’ Consultation was conducted between February and May 2023. The consultation covered three main sections: Income, pensions and allowances, health and access to medical services, and national policies and frameworks supporting positive aging.
The findings revealed that three in five respondents (58%) expressed dissatisfaction with the adequacy of the state pension, feeling it falls short in enabling them to participate fully in life. An overwhelming 90% of respondents advocated for a state pension of at least 34% of the average wage, a substantial increase from the current 28%, which has been on a declining trend since 2021. In addition:
• 94% of respondents felts the state pension should be ‘triple-locked’ and rise in line with inflation and wage growth
• 96% of respondents agree there is a need for a comprehensive positive ageing framework in Ireland that looks beyond the care and medical needs of older people and protect all aspects of ageing
• 94% of respondents would like to see the establishment of an independent Commissioner for Older People in Ireland.