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Agenda for later life 2014: Public policy for later life

I am delighted to introduce the 2014 edition of Agenda for Later Life, Age UK’s annual overview of how public policy is meeting the needs of people in later life. We hope that this year will mark a watershed in ageing policy, and there is much to celebrate. Just before we went to press, two major pieces of legislation affecting older people – the Care Act 2014 and the Pensions Act 2014 – received Royal Assent. Both pieces of legislation are important steps forward in building a solid framework for ageing.

However, legislation alone cannot create the cultural change we still need if we are to create a world where everyone can love later life. We still see too many examples of poor quality health and social care; too many pensioners still living in poverty; and too many people who are isolated and lonely. To tackle these challenges, we need to re-design every aspect of life. And we are doing this against a backdrop of continuing austerity.

So this report covers all aspects of ageing: money matters; health and care; housing; and having the opportunity to participate and be recognised as a valued member of society. Each chapter also covers key global aspects of ageing. Age UK works through its partner, Age International, to improve later life in more than 40 developing countries, and we strongly believe that building a society for all ages is a global priority.

This will be a critical year for ageing policy, in the run up to a General Election in the UK, a referendum on independence for Scotland, and globally as the United Nations considers the successor to the Millennium Development Goals. I hope that you find this report helpful in setting out Age UK’s policy priorities for the year head.