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Event report: 'Older People: Choice and Independence'


Joseph Rowntree Foundation

Type: Report
Region: Republic of Ireland
Northern Ireland

 Event details Wednesday 25 February 2009BelfastAbout the eventPolicy-makers, service providers and commissioners, charities and service users have been discussing the care of older people in Northern Ireland, at an event hosted by the Joseph Rowntree Foundation (JRF).The event, called ‘Older people: choice and independence’, was held in Belfast on 25 February, and was endorsed by 11 key organisations (see below) in Northern Ireland. It was chaired by Julia Unwin CBE, Chief Executive of JRF and the Joseph Rowntree Housing Trust. The event included presentations and discussions on models of care and housing, older people and best practice, and the difficult question of caring for people with dementia. Michael McGimpsey, Minister for Health, Social Services and Public Safety, Northern Ireland Executive, spoke about the importance of independence and choice for older people. He said that the principles at the heart of his vision were protecting the vulnerable and providing rehabilitation.Dr Jeremy Harbison, CB, Chair, Northern Ireland Social Care Council, then emphasised some of the issues facing an ageing society, such as inequality and poverty. He reminded the audience of the valuable contribution the increasing number of older people in society can make. Read an opinion piece by Dr Harbison here.An open discussion raised a number of interesting questions, such as what provision will be made for carers in harsher economic times, and these were tackled by the panel, including Claire Keatinge from The Alzheimer’s Society.This was followed by a series of workshops and the conference concluded with feedback from the workshops. You can read this feedback in the event report.The event also included a challenging 20 minute drama performance from The Spring Chickens, an older people’s group from Belfast, funded by Atlantic Philanthropies.Julia Unwin said: “The combined knowledge and experience of those attending represented a huge asset in terms of finding ways to ensure older people are fully engaged in debates about their care and treated with dignity and respect.”Older people: choice and independence was endorsed by:Age ConcernAge Sector PlatformAtlantic PhilanthropiesAlzheimer’s SocietyCentre for Ageing PartnershipCentral Ageing Research Development InstituteCarers Northern IrelandChanging Ageing PartnershipCommunity Foundation for Northern IrelandHelp the AgedIndependent Health and Care ProvidersQueen’s University BelfastNorthern Ireland Social Care CouncilMichael McGimpsey opening address (MP3 - 2.5MB)Jeremy Harbison speech (MP3 - 7.2MB)Discussions and debate (MP3 - 21MB)



Rights: Public
Suggested citation:

Joseph Rowntree Foundation. (2009) Event report: 'Older People: Choice and Independence' [Online]. Available from: [Accessed: 18th November 2019].


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