Published: Wednesday, 30 September 2020

Oxford City Council is recognising UN Older People’s Day on 1 October.

Older People’s Day celebrates the invaluable contributions made by older people in our communities, as well as raising awareness of their particular needs.  This year’s theme is healthy ageing.

Sadly, the Covid-19 outbreak has impacted our older community enormously this year, with premature deaths and illness affecting many people in the city. The over-60s have been at particular risk, both of contracting the virus and of increased isolation and loneliness.

These conditions have been met with unprecedented community response as volunteers and Council staff have come together to support vulnerable people. Oxford locality hubs and voluntary groups including Oxford Together sprang into action in March to provide support to vulnerable residents, many of them older people - delivering food, collecting prescriptions and making regular social phone calls to isolated individuals. Oxford Talking News has also provided a free talking newspaper service for people who are isolated at home.

Oxford 50+ Network usually organises an event at the Town Hall to mark UN Older People’s Day, which this year has been cancelled due to the pandemic.  Oxford City Council has instead developed digital initiatives to support older people in staying healthy and connected to the community. The Go Active Outdoors webpage was launched to encourage continued outdoor activity during the pandemic. Oxford Health Walks programme has also restarted recently, providing support for older people to exercise outdoors, socialise and enjoy Oxford’s parks.

In recognition of UN Older People’s Day, volunteers are encouraged to stay connected with older people in Oxford, who may otherwise be isolated and suffer loneliness.

UN Older People’s Day coincides with the first day of Black History Month, which will also be celebrated by Oxford City Council.

“It’s vitally important that we value and support older people in our communities, and that’s what this day is about. On this tenth anniversary of UN Older People’s Day, we recognise that the Covid-19 outbreak has created unprecedented challenges for our older people, but also invigorated neighbourliness and support in our communities as well.

We must remain vigilant in case of a second peak of the virus, and Oxford City County remains dedicated to ensuring that older people are supported throughout this difficult time.  We have been working hard to make sure the needs and aspirations of older people are met.  I’d like to thank the volunteers and community champions for their help and encourage others to get involved too”

Councillor Pat Kennedy, Older People’s Champion for Oxford City Council

 “Our organisation is run by older people for older people. In spite of the challenges posed by Covid-19, there has been a lot of community development with many new groups forming in response.  We are hopeful that next year’s Older People’s Day will see a surge of new groups joining in as a result.

“We would like to spread that message that if you have any need whatsoever, please do contact somebody.  There is support available and there will be lots of people available to help you.”

Margaret Simpson, Oxford 50+ Network

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