Lived Experience Forum 2021 Older People Tell it Like it is: Planning for Northern Ireland’s Ageing Population Needed Urgently By 2028, for the first time, Northern Ireland’s older population will outnumber the youngest, with a higher proportion of people aged over 65 than those under 15 Age NI report outlines significant agenda for Northern Ireland Executive Ministers at Pensioners’ Parliament Older people here have laid out a clear and challenging agenda for change for the Northern Ireland Executive in a report published today by Age NI (8 September 2021). The Lived Experience 2021 Report, from Northern Ireland’s leading charity for older people, says a dramatic shift in policy focus is required - right now - to respond to the needs of today’s older people and our future older generations. Age NI’s Lived Experience 2021 survey asked older people what matters most to them and the report’s findings will inform Age NI’s Pensioners’ Parliament next Friday (17 September) at Stormont. Dr Paschal McKeown, Charity Director, Age NI, presented the report. She said, “We heard directly from more than 750 older people, on topics ranging from health and social care to TV licences, from loneliness to bus passes, from pensions and end-of-life care to digital inclusion: everything that is important to living well and supporting independence in later life. “There’s no doubt that COVID has shone a spotlight on older people, particularly with regard to health and social care, but this report has revealed other day-to-day matters which become major barriers to older people if they’re not properly thought through or considered.” David Trelford, Chair of Age NI's Consultative Forum, said "The Lived Experience survey has revealed that older people want to be involved in decisions that affect their life, to be able to access the help and support they need to stay well and live as independently as possible, and to be protected from ageist attitudes and discrimination. The fact that Northern Ireland has an ageing population is something which impacts on us all.” Dr Paschal McKeown continued, “By 2028, the over 65s will make up 20% of our whole population, outnumbering the proportion of those aged under 15, for the first time. The contribution made by older people to their families, friends, workplaces and community is significant. “If we are aiming to add life to years and not just years to life, this will need a dramatic shift in attitude and attention from our decision- and policy-makers and society as a whole. “Age NI believes that everyone in later life has a right to influence how they will live their later years: decisions should be made with older people, rather than for them. “The Lived Experience 2021 report kick-starts an important public conversation, which begins next week in the Assembly Chamber at the Pensioners’ Parliament. Older people will have the opportunity to use their voice and – crucially – to receive meaningful responses from our political decision-makers.” The full Lived Experience report can be found here. The Pensioners’ Parliament can be viewed live on Friday 17 September at 2pm by clicking here.