Brighouse, Calderdale, Halifax

Survey reveals biggest issues for Calderdale’s Over 50’s

Ahead of Ageism Action Day on 20th March* a survey of older people in Calderdale has found that the biggest issues affecting the lives of the over-50s are staying fit & healthy, accessing community facilities, pursuing hobbies & interests and meeting other people.

In December and January 2023/24, Calderdale Forum 50 Plus, the community group and online newspaper for older people, conducted a survey with visitors to their website.

Key Issues For Older People

The survey asked them to identify the key issues that are impacting their day-to-day lives.

·        A significant majority (89%) said that staying fit and healthy was an issue for them

·        55% said access to community facilities (libraries, shops, leisure centres, banks etc.) was an issue

·        53% said finding things to do and meeting people was an issue

This survey suggests that, as our population ages, there is an increasing need for Local Authorities, NHS and other organisations to improve the availability and accessibility of services locally including healthcare, banking, entertainment, leisure and transport.

Interests

Calderdale Forum 50 Plus, also asked survey participants to say what their interests are and what they most like to read about on the Calderdale Forum 50 Plus website. The most popular interests are:

·        reading and books chosen by 70%

·        followed by the home & garden, 63%

·        history (including heritage & museums) 63% 

·        theatre and film, 61%

·        music, 60%

This was also reflected in what they want to read about: events, activities and local & community news.

News & Information

Survey respondents, who are all online and using the Calderdale Forum 50 Plus website, appear to be at ease with the online world and making good use of the Internet.  When asked where they get their news, information and events:

·        67% said browsing the internet

·        57% said social media

·        41% said specific “go-to” websites

·        35% chose local newspapers and local directories.   

 As this was an online survey, it is interesting that people still use a mix of sources for their local news and information. Clearly, the survey was not representative of all older people in Calderdale many of whom are struggling with digital access and frustrated by inaccessible public services.

The survey included space for respondents to share their thoughts on topics of particular concern to them. Here are some of their comments:

“Lack of any public transport through West Vale for the GP. Lack of education opportunities for older people in nearest town Elland. Lack of opportunities for swimming locally. Elderly are getting more and more fit in the period around retirement. Our brains don’t just stop working after a lifetime of using them.”

“I live in Warley Road and used to walk to King Cross to get a bus into Halifax. My mobility is not 100%and this was far enough for me to walk. Since the cycle lane was put in place the buses do not come through King Cross towards Halifax, and I would have to walk to the stop at Queens Road. I now have to use taxis. which I cannot really afford, therefore I hardly ever go to Halifax anymore.”

“Being a 24/7 electric wheelchair user , pot holes, uneven pavements, bus access.”

“Difficulty exercising now pool is closed.”

“I am missing the local Leisure Centres since they both closed. Halifax Town Centre needs a leisure centre.”

“Poor bus services.”  “Lack of buses & trains.”

“I don’t go out much as I have problems with mobility and I would need regular access to a toilet.”

“More volunteering opportunities, especially those not based in Halifax, as many of us just can’t access opportunities that are not very close to where we live.”

“More opportunities for further education eg U3A in Elland. Language classes etc in Elland.”

“You (Calderdale Forum 50 Plus) should act as a pressure group to ensure that pavements/paths are regularly maintained and kept clear of debris and leaves by the council so they are walkable with confidence and enjoyment. Our lives become so much smaller when we can’t access such basic health sustaining things because of long-term neglect.”

“Public services continue to go into decline and CMBC policies on volunteering not being implemented. Unable to get (this) across in surveys and consultations.”

Conclusion

With ageism on the agenda, thanks to Ageism Action Day on 20th March, it is significant that the older people of Calderdale share many of the day-to-day concerns of the adult population as a whole. Staying fit and healthy is a major focus. The need to easily and conveniently carry out day-to-day activities such as shopping and local travel is also vital. Meanwhile, taking part in activities, events and social groups, is just as important for older people as it is for all adults. Ageism can leave us with a negative image of the lives of older people. But the reality is that their needs and goals are identical to the adult population as a whole!

Information about the survey sample

·        102 people in Calderdale completed our survey, 56% of which said they are retired but still active, 17% retired but not very active, 15% still working and 11% not working or in retirement. 

·        The majority of the sample were in the 60 to 79 age bands (49% aged 60 to 69 and 29% aged 70 to 79).

·        Males were not well represented with 81% of the sample stating they are female.

·        All areas of Calderdale were represented with slightly more respondents living in North Halifax and Brighouse & Rastrick.

About Calderdale Forum 50 Plus

Calderdale Forum 50 Plus aims to support and represent people aged 50 and over in Calderdale and to promote a collective voice on issues that matter to them. The Forum is a voluntary group that supports and represents people aged 50 and over in Calderdale and highlights information and issues which are useful and important to this age group.  We also signpost and connect older people to local groups, clubs, societies, charities, as well as events and service providers. We collate guidance on key later life issues such as housing, benefits and finance, care of all kinds and physical and mental health.

In 2020 we were nominated for a Community Spirit award for our communications during the COVID-19 crisis.

For more details contact us at info@calderdaleforum50plus.com

The full survey can be found at: https://calderdaleforum50plus.com/2024/02/19/our-reader-opinion-survey-results-winter-2023-2024/ 

Picture: Courtesy of The Centre for Ageing Better.

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