Local councils will be required to develop plans to improve access to public toilets under new proposals to be announced next week. Older people's lobby groups have raised concerns about poor provision of public toilets, saying it plays a part in loss of independence.
Victoria Lloyd from Age Cymru has welcomed the proposals.
Ian Thomas from Age Cymru says we need to look after the elderly members of our communities at Christmas and during the rest of they year. Research by the charity revealed that 22% of older people in Wales weren't looking forward to Christmas because it makes them feel 'more lonely'
Charity Age Cymru says Welsh over 65s are facing a ‘perfect storm’ of challenges this winter that includes loneliness and choosing between heating or eating.
Age Cymru’s Chief Executive, Ian Thomas:
”Life is harsh for many older people across Wales, particularly in the Winter.Thousands will live in just one room in their home to keep warm and many will rely on the television as their only company."
"Age Cymru’s own statistics show that over 60% of Welsh over 65s are worried about the increasing cost of energy bills."
The charity says that with local authorities facing budget cutbacks, many of the services that older people use to make life bearable are under threat.
It says day centres, lunch clubs and libraries are lifelines for many older people and without them many more individuals will be isolated in their own homes.
A former Welsh Secretary is calling for governments to work with phone, internet and mail providers to clamp down on scams which target elderly people. Torfaen MP Paul Murphy is holding a debate in the House of Commons this afternoon. He's backing a campaign by Age Cymru and says,
I’ve been appalled at some of the examples I’ve seen. Peoples’ lives have been ruined by these dishonest operators, who target elderly and vulnerable people and rob them of their money and self-esteem. I’ve heard about a 76 year old widow conned out of her life savings. Others have been persuaded to send money abroad to claim non-existent lottery prizes, tricked into sending thousands of pounds to manipulative clairvoyants, or have paid several times over the odds for work on their properties.
These stories are disturbingly common. I’d urge people to look out for friends, family or neighbours who might be in danger. But Age Cymru are quite right - what is also needed is to get both Governments, Councils, charities, the police and the communications companies to work together to target these fraudsters and cut off their ability to con people.
Older people should have access to more services providing them with a voice and more control over their lives, according to Age Cymru.
The charity is calling on the Welsh Government to give older people access to 'independent advocacy services' in the Social Services and Wellbeing (Wales) Bill.
Louise Hughes, Age Cymru's safeguarding manager, said: "Our research shows that there has been a welcome increase in the number of trained advocates working in Wales in the last two years. However, the number of advocates overall remains low.
"Only 124 staff and volunteers are available to provide independent advocacy support to older people who need it across the whole of Wales."
The charity has launches a report into the availability of advocacy services across Wales, which found that of the 23 advocacy projects in Wales six projects will see their funding end in the next 12 months and seven do not know their future funding arrangements.
More pensioners in Wales are cutting back on heating and food than anywhere else in the UK, according to an older people's charity. Age Cymru says 26 percent of those living on a pension here reduced their heating over the winter months.
The charity says it's because they're increasingly worried about the cost of living. We've been speaking to an 84 year old from Cardiff who says he wears two cardigans to keep warm and has to dip into his overdraft just to get by.