‘We’re all getting older’ is one of those statements-of-the-blindingly-obvious we tend to use in a whimsical moment.
But, it is even truer than we might think. Because the UK population as a whole is ageing.
In simple terms there are proportionately more older people and fewer young people.
Here in the Richmond constituency this trend is particularly pronounced. Those aged 65 or over make up almost a quarter of the local population compared to 18 per cent for the UK.
Part of the reason for this is that our brilliant NHS is getting better and better at treating the chronic illnesses – like heart conditions and strokes – which used to prematurely end of the lives of so many people.
While an ageing population has tremendous implications for Central and Local Government in making sure we provide the health and care services required, we also need to acknowledge that it is not just a problem to be solved. It is a national success story and at an individual level a wonderful opportunity for older people to enjoy really fulfilling lives in retirement.
That’s why I have organised an Older Persons’ Fair to be held at Northallerton’s Golden Lion Hotel on the morning of Wednesday, September 26.
The idea of the fair, which has as its theme Live Well in Later Life, is to bring together in one place all the opportunities that are available to older people. In dealing with constituent’s problems, I often find appropriate help is at hand but people don’t know about it or how to access it.
The event, which is entirely free, will be attended by more than 25 local organisations offering the latest information, advice and lifestyle opportunities to help people get the best out of their retirement years.
Organisations like Age UK and Citizens’ Advice will be able to offer information about a huge range of local services and the best ways to use them.
You can discover how to use internet banking. You can make sure you are receiving the correct benefits and get advice about making your home safe and secure. You can find out how best to deal with cold callers and scammers.
Have you thought about being more active? You can talk to representatives of Hambleton Leisure about what’s tailored for older people at our council leisure centres, to the Ramblers about their walks programme or the fun to be had at sports clubs in the area.
There will also be lots of advice about staying well from our local health service providers and charities including Diabetes UK and the Alzheimer’s Society.
Other organisations represented include the police and fire service, Broadacres housing and Veterans’ charities.
I’ll be present throughout the event to talk to you as well some of your local councillors. Members of my Northallerton office staff will be on hand to help too.
There is no charge for entry and free tea, coffee and biscuits will be served throughout the event from 10am to 1pm in the hotel’s Yorkshire Suite (through the archway).
I look forward to seeing many of my older constituents - and even if you don’t think you fall in to that category just yet I hope you will let your friends and relatives who do know about it.
You can find more information about the fair on my website and facebook page.