The “taskforce to transform older people’s housing” has been announced… with not one older person on it. If this isn’t ageist, what is? asks Tony Watts OBE.
Great to see the new “Taskforce to transform older people’s housing underway”, as the government press release trills.
Equally great to see the 19 people on the taskforce. Oddly, there’s lots of people representing the companies who build older people’s homes, but no-one who actually lives (or wants to live) in one.
Not one. Zero. Zilch. Zip.
Is it just me, but if you are going to set up a new taskforce to shape the future of something (anything, really) you’d want at least some representation from the people who will be using or buying the product? You know, to get their input or sense check the findings?
It’s not as though the people setting up the taskforce don’t know we’re here. We’ve told them, honest. We have older people steeped in the housing sector, already acting as housing champions, willing to help.
They have simply chosen to ignore us and decided that they know what we want and what will work for us.
If this was a taskforce set up to look at a problem, say, relating specifically to ethnic minorities, and there was no one on that taskforce from an ethnic minority, what would be the reaction?
If this was a taskforce set up to look at a challenge relating specifically to women, and there wasn’t a woman on the taskforce, what would be the reaction?
Or one set up to examine issues relating to disability? Or LGBTQ? I could go on.
But because this is an issue relating specifically to older people, the decision was made: “No need to involve old people. We already know what they want – even without asking them.”
Make no mistake. This is patronising. This is ageist. This is discriminatory.
Well good luck. Whatever you come up with won’t be anywhere as good, or as relevant, as what it could have been had you simply asked one of us, just one of us, to make that 19-strong taskforce into a 20-stronger one.