A longer life brings many opportunities for older people, their families and communities, particularly when they experience good health and live in an enabling environment which values their contributions and supports them to live the life they choose. However, too often, later life is associated with declining physical health and poor mental wellbeing, compounded by ageist attitudes or inequity of access and opportunities. COVID-19 has exacerbated existing inequalities in Scotland, not least for our older citizens. The experience and impact of loneliness and isolation, poor mental and physical health, and digital exclusion are surfacing. However, the pandemic has also shown us what can be achieved when organisations work together more creatively and with local communities: better collaboration and trust, and an ability to pivot, innovate and make changes at pace.
The Wellbeing in Later Life (WeLL) Co-Lab is an exciting discovery programme that will bring together a learning network of older people, community leaders and activists, housing, third sector and public sector partners to test, share and grow opportunities to improve the lives and opportunities of older people, their families and the communities in which they live. The programme will draw on the learning from examples of dementia friendly and compassionate communities to create a collective of age friendly compassionate communities across Scotland.
The programme is organised by the Health and Social Care Alliance (Scotland), in conjunction with SOPA, UWS and IFIC Scotland (International Foundation for Integrated Care).
Bob Hume, our SOPA representative, will attend the meetings on behalf of the 3Ls, with support from the delegated group of the 3Ls Steering Committee. The Flash Reports from the meetings will be posted here. We hope that members will find them of interest in the context of the 3Ls and their own communities. Click on the heading at the start of this article to access the Flash Report.