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Claire Keatinge ends term as Northern Ireland’s first Commissioner for Older People

30 September, 2015
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The Commissioner for Older People, Claire Keatinge, has launched a report summarising her advice to Government throughout her term at a celebration event on International Day of Older Persons.

Claire Keatinge was appointed as Northern Ireland’s first ever Commissioner for Older People in 2011 and will complete her term in November. The creation of a Commissioner for Older People for Northern Ireland followed extensive lobbying by older people and was established with unanimous political support in the Northern Ireland Assembly. 
 
Over 150 older people attended the launch of The Commissioner’s Report – A Summary of Advice to Government 2011-2015 where the Commissioner thanked them for supporting her work, and the vibrant and positive contributions made by older people were celebrated. The Commissioner also spoke about the positive change which has taken place as a result of her advice to Government, but gave a warning to decision makers that they still have work to do. 
 
Speaking at the report launch the Commissioner for Older People, Claire Keatinge said:
 
“It has been a great privilege to be able to serve as the first ever Commissioner for Older People for Northern Ireland. Throughout my term I have had incredible support from older people and the organisations that work with them, particularly Age NI and Age Sector Platform. Our ageing population gives us much cause for celebration and I have used my time as Commissioner to promote the positive contribution that older people make to our society. 
 
“I have also listened to what matters most to older people and advised Government on a range of issues. These include the changes required to better protect older people in regulated care settings across Northern Ireland and to improve the services that they receive, the need for Adult Social Care and Adult Safeguarding legislation, and the need for better support for older carers. I have also issued advice on the case for valuing older workers, the need to reduce crime against older people and the need to value their contributions. This has brought about significant positive change for today’s and tomorrow’s older people.
 
“Whilst so much has been achieved to date, it is also important that I take this opportunity to remind Government of the need to implement the evidence-based advice I have given them over the past four years. The number of older people is set to increase by almost 87%  in the next 50 years, and so it is essential that Government develops clear, costed plans and legislation to respond to the needs of a changing population. Older people must be enabled to live their later years in the confidence that they are safe, valued and respected, and that the services they need will be available should they need them.”