How do we find new ways to keep people in their 50s and 60s active and as valued members of their local community, so that ageing becomes a positive experience?
That was the challenge we set ourselves in 2010 with the launch of our Age Unlimited programme. Over the past 18 months we have developed and trialled some exciting new services to answer this challenge.
The Age Unlimited England programme has supported a total of ten hugely diverse and innovative projects, including:
- a new online network to help companies support people with caring responsibilities
- focusing on retirement right from the beginning of your career in the NHS
- peer mentoring to enable retirement planning amongst men in Hackney.
All of the projects have been developing their services with potential end users.
They are bringing to life and testing ideas out in practice, using prototyping, to ensure the services being developed are what people really want and need.
The Age Unlimited programme is coming to an end in December 2011, but we still have a long way to go if we are to capitalise on the opportunity an ageing society presents, rather than dwell on the problems society will face if we don't respond.
Over the next few months, I will be blogging about some of the things we have learnt on Age Unlimited such as:
- What older people might want from their services
- Details on the journey the ten Age Unlimited projects have taken
- What we can learn about involving people productively in the design and development of services.