IDOP is the International Day of Older People and is marked by the United Nations every year on October 1st.
This year St Anne’s received some grant funding from Leeds Older People’s Forum to facilitate a special event at our Resource Centre, RAISE to acknowledge the link between homelessness, premature ageing and health inequality for our clients. This was an important discussion and was attended by RAISE clients as well as visitors from some of our other services.
Our staff and clients learnt that people who are homeless need to be actively included in conversations about older people, social isolation and health inequality. We learnt that due to significant health problems experienced by rough sleepers, our clients are subjected to premature ageing and ‘weathering’ and are likely to have a reduced life expectancy because of their complex needs. The learning from the event was that we must continue to be proactive in recognising the hidden experiences of older people who use RAISE, and those who are prematurely ageing because of being homeless. By creating a welcoming environment we can provide positive pathways in to primary and secondary health services by signposting our clients in an informal setting, such as more awareness raising events.
Our Homeless Resource Centre (RAISE) have continued to display a variety of information stalls for clients to understand the risk of their own health inequalities as rough sleepers which may affect them as prematurely older people. The Client Involvement Group used IDOP as the theme of their October meeting and have agreed to revisit the visibility of older clients within the services over the next 12 months.