Older people are an integral part of vibrant rural community life. ACRE believes they should be able to easily access support and services that enable them to live full and active lives and remain within their communities for as long as possible.
The number of older people living in rural areas is increasing faster than in urban areas. However, although people are living longer they inevitably increase their use of health services and other facilities.
With the recent centralisation agenda and cuts to outreach services, many older people are now faced with difficulties in accessing services which were previously available locally. Getting to these services is now a major consideration for many who no longer have their own transport or cannot afford the cost of taxis.
Older people are also the single largest group on low incomes in rural areas and they are further disadvantaged by the extra costs of accessing essential services and impacts of heating older, less fuel efficient homes. This means that the rising level of elderly people who find themselves financially excluded and the availability of local services are inextricably linked.
Given the long history of our work within rural communities, the ACRE Network has a strong understanding of older people’s needs. We are involved in many local initiatives aimed at meeting these needs – such as village halls, community-owned shops and transport schemes.