Chris Lyttle MLA said: “Older people make a valuable contribution to our economy and society, both in terms of jobs and providing other roles such as childcare for relatives, which can help maintain and sustain employment for parents. The report from the Commissioner for Older People will play an important role in promoting positive attitudes towards and about older people.
“A previous report from the Commissioner’s office stated that if the Government can enable older people to remain in the workforce for as long as they wish, the benefit could be as much as £2.3 billion by 2037. Older people are also a valuable resource for Northern Ireland in terms of volunteering, caring or acting as kinship foster parents.
“Northern Ireland is an aging society with the percentage of older people in our society expected to rise. However we must challenge the misperceptions that some may have of this section of our society. The Economic and Social Research Council even argue that ageism is still the most commonly experienced form of prejudice in the UK. We must therefore ensure that Northern Ireland is a place that respects and supports ‘active ageing’. OFMDFM’s older person’s strategy will play a key role on this issue and presents a real opportunity for government to increase participation and ensure the care and protection of older people in our community.
“Alliance is delivering on this issue, with the Employment and Learning Minister’s investment in initiatives such as ‘Steps Ahead 50+’, showing our commitment to lifelong learning and skills development to help older people remain economically active and independent.”