For the first time in history in the UK the number of people over 60 outnumbers those under 16. A common reaction to this is pessimistic. This breeds social pessimism; as if we have created inexorably longer lives but are powerless to make the choices we need to if we are to reap the benefits. This in turn feeds ageism and deepens individual pessimism about our own future and those of our loved ones.
Without shying away from the enormity of the challenges ahead, Yvonne Roberts argues for strategies that see active ageing – and older people – as assets rather than burdens, that focus on people as active contributors, not passive recipients.
Drawing on the work of the Young Foundation and international examples, she outlines and recommends new kinds of sustainable and scalable services with strong roots in voluntary action and the community.