Supporting and empowering our members
Advocacy means different things to different people; good advocacy enables individuals or groups of people to have their interests given the same consideration as those of other citizens.

The population of older people throughout Europe has been seen either as a cause for concern as a demographic time bomb or as a cause for celebration. Advocacy can be about ensuring that older people are not scapegoat for the ills of society and/or the current economic downturn. Advocacy can be viewed in the following way:

•Advocacy is pursuit of influencing outcomes—including public policy, that directly affect people’s lives.

•Put simply, advocacy is about speaking up.

•Self-advocacy is when a person speaks up for themselves. This can be done alone or as part of a group.

In this case it is older people speaking out to compel the government to be more alert to the needs of older people and their rights. Advocacy promotes participation.

Advocacy comes about because older people are demanding their rights, making their views known. Advocacy facilitates not only the participation of active older people who are involved in older people’s organisations or senior parliaments, but also the more vulnerable older people. It enables older people to be involved, to be full citizens, not just as users of services but ensures that people have a voice in all aspects of life, e.g. health services, social services, transport and education.

As Ireland’s largest community-based older people’s organisation, ARI can be a powerful voice for not just its 24,500 members, but for all older people. The local ARA can play a pivotal role in advocating for the most vulnerable people in the community, as well as its members.