Election 2024: Who’s taking the OATH for Safer Ageing?

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Hourglass take the OATH

Veronica Gray DCEO Hourglass


Publishing a charity manifesto in the midst of a Westminster Election is becoming a common sight in recent campaigns.


Age International, Age UK and the Carers Trust are already pushing hard to have their voices heard. However, putting a date on a headline pledge or objective is a braver move. Especially when the charity in question has less than thirty staff, a policy team of only four and less than six months of reserves in the bank. But then again, Hourglass, the only UK-wide charity focused on ending the abuse and neglect of older people, has never shied away from the headlines.

A Safer Ageing Society by 2050. That’s Hourglass’s big ask. The charity wants to create societal change and focus minds, enabling older people to age safely and free from abuse. We’re even asking people to sign an OATH to support this grand plan, but more on that later. 

So, will the political parties involved step up and rise to the challenge? Sadly, probably not. Because despite older people being the most committed voters and the most engaged in the political discourse – they still appear to be the last thing on the minds of Westminster hopefuls. 

Instead, let’s look at why Hourglass is making such a pledge and has the 2050 target.

Let’s think about it from the opposite perspective. If we knew there was to be a population boom in the next twenty-five years, we’d be planning, wouldn’t we? If the UK was about to be faced with nine million more bouncing babies, there would be a strategy to accommodate and ensure their safe arrival into the world. There would be new schools, nurseries, perhaps maternity hospitals and safeguarding teams. Early years planning, investment into midwives and ante-natal units would be on the horizon. Our parliamentary representatives would be falling over themselves to promise a safe future for the impending influx of babies. Not just kissing them for the cameras. 

With that in mind, we KNOW that we are going to see a city the size of London created of over sixties by 2050. That’s 9.6 million more older people in the UK. And, for the first time, they’ll be more over 60s than under 16s. This is unquestionably a population boom – just at the other end of the spectrum. With me so far? 

This ageing population needs to be celebrated, safe, independent and free from abuse. This seems like a fairly obvious step and worthy of support and understanding. 

Therefore, what plans have the four legislations of the UK made for this impending increase of older people? Well, in terms of protecting them from harm, abuse and neglect, there has been precious little forward planning at all. Hence the Hourglass target of creating a Safer Ageing Society by 2050. 

Hourglass’s own Safer Ageing Indexes, produced over the past eighteen months makes the point repeatedly. These indexes, for three out of the four nations (Scotland’s data is either unavailable or non-existent), underline that nowhere is prepping for this new ageing generation – and this includes social care, safeguarding and care home provision, let alone how independent living is prioritised. 

The political dialogue is even focusing on taxing older people, the current Prime Minister embarrassed himself by dishonouring the D-Day veterans and social care remains near the bottom of the agenda for the vast majority of political parties and influencers. 

Over the next few weeks, Hourglass will be looking at a range of indicators to determine which of the political parties is taking safer ageing seriously, listening or - at the bare minimum - referencing the needs of older people. The charity will then publish this as an Election 2024 Safer Ageing Index. This isn’t about naming and shaming. It’s about framing the debate. 

But a manifesto and its targets isn’t just for the week of the election, it’s a blueprint for future performance and impact measurement. That’s why Hourglass is asking ALL the candidates and the voting public (as well as our private, public and third sector partners) to sign the OATH. This stands for Older Age Tomorrow’s Hope. 

Because, Hourglass believes, with the increasing older population and over 2.5 million people affected by the abuse of older people annually, they need as many active voices as possible to make the case. 

So, what’s stopping you? Take the OATH, support the Hourglass pledge to create a Safer Ageing Society by 2050 and make the political decision-makers across the four nations sit up and listen. As, whilst who gets the keys to Downing Street is important, ensuring our future is one of safety and appropriate service provision is a basic human right. Time is ticking for us all.



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Veronica Gray

DCEO and Policy Director, Hourglass. June 2024