Netherlands: ‘Build senior-friendly policies on local level’, call AGE members ahead of 2018 local elections
The AGE Dutch member organisation NVOG and its Dutch partner organisation KNVG, representing together 300,000 Dutch pensioners, have written an open letter to local political parties ahead of the 2018 local elections, to call for age-friendly local policies in their political programmes. This is triggered by the transfer of competencies from the national to local levels for policies that are important to senior citizens. The definition of policies for senior citizens should start well before the local elections in March 2018.
The pensioners’ associations have sent the letter to the leaders of all political parties in local councils. They emphasise that senior citizens more and more want to decide for themselves over the way they want to live their lives; but this implies from time to time help from local governments. NVOG and KNVG summarise the concerns of senior citizens and call local leaders to incorporate them into their manifestos and programmes.
The pensioners’ associations have developed a checklist for local leaders to see in how far the concerns of senior citizens are taken into account. Key calls are the following:
- To communicate clearly and in an understandable manner with senior citizens, using all communication channels and taking account of the fact that digital communications are still a challenge for many senior citizens
- Requests for help should be central and local leaders should respond to them creatively – even if the requests do not fit into the legal framework or the financial categories created by law
- To respect the right to independent guidance and advice on the solutions available to citizens
- To work in a sustainable manner and a long-term collaboration with care providers and care insurers. Agreements should be made in a manner that the financing allows care providers to provide high-quality care
- To take account of the central role of informal carers, who are often the ones who actually allow older people to stay in their homes for longer. Informal carers should be included into ‘kitchen-table talks’ on the care plans and respite care should be available to them
- To develop activities to simulate senior citizens’ health and to inform clearly and early about possible health risks; to invest into prevention togehter with health insurers
- To allow us to stay independently at home for as long as possible, by respecting our choices and by assisting them, for example by financing innovative housing solutions and by creating integrated housing-and-care-plans on a neighbourhood level
- To take accout of those of senior citizens that have financial problems due to high housing and care costs; local leaders should mobilise the opportunities and the resources dedicated to the fight against poverty in this sense
The checklist provided by NVOG and KNVG comprises mobility, housing, care and prevention, finances, communication and information and sets out details items for each domain that improve the quality of life of senior citizens.
For more information, please contact Phillipe Seidel, firstname.lastname@example.org