The older contingent of Wales’ capital city came together yesterday to discuss issues affecting them.
Cardiff Older Persons Forum debated issues including the rising costs of care homes, city centre travel and the risk of falls at home.
The meeting, chaired by Tony Verderame, gave around 30 older residents from across Cardiff the chance to air their views.
Mr Verderame said: “We need to stand together and give people the chance to have their say. It’s important everyone here gets involved in their community, by everyone doing a little bit we can make a big bit.
Mr Verdame gave a passionate opening address to the meeting, showing newspaper clippings about the deaths of elderly people through neglect.
He said: “We are a growing population. We need to make sure people respect us and we cannot allow people to be victims in their own home.
“We need to educate young people so they have respect for us in the community.”
Mobility and getting around the city was a big theme for the meeting, with Mike Galloway, from Whitchurch, informed the meeting about the state of travel in the city centre on match days.
He said: “I have written to the highways department to ask how on event days someone from Cardiff North is supposed to get to the Central Station, and vice versa. The buses don’t go into the centre. It’s ridiculous.”
Travel inside the city centre was praised by Phylis Preece, who said the council’s mobility buggies – which replace the Free B Bus – were working well.
She said: “I’ve used it a number of times and I’m very impressed. It picks you up and takes you through the city centre. They even take you all the way to the station.”
Chris Lomax, from Grangetown Community Concern, spoke out about how their ‘meals on legs’ service had been shut down due to health and safety fears.
He said: “We had a great system where we delivered meals to people’s doors and looked out for one another. Why close down a useful community service?”
Judith Woodman, deputy leader of Cardiff council and ‘Older Persons Champion’, said: “The Cardiff Older Persons Forum provides a great platform for older members of the community to discuss and talk about matters that affect them. I am delighted that Tony will take the forum to venues across the city.”
This was the third in a series of meetings by the group, it meets every two months at different venues across the city.
Anyone interested in becoming a member can contact Tony Verderame on firstname.lastname@example.org or John Gorwill on 02920 872 647.
Views of older people from across the city
Jean Little, 78, from Rumney, a retired health visitor
“The playing fields in our area are the big issues. I use the leisure centre regularly, I go to swim and do line dancing classes. I’m worried about if they building on the playing fields it’ll be a big loss for our community. But I do agree the leisure centre needs updating, it’s very well used.
“I live in the top end of Rumney and we do have some problems with kids hanging around.
“I travel into the city centre using the buses. I like them and the free bus pass is very important to me.”
Betty Dickens, 87, Rumney, retired tailoress
“There needs to be a lot more communication with old people, and more regular. We finally had an information guide in our area but it’s taken a long time to come out. It’s important we get a lot of information.
“I am quite lucky as I have my family near me but for a lot of people they are on their own. I think people get very frustrated with how things work these days – it all seems so complicated. They need to make things simpler.”
Raymond Edwards, 66, Llanishen, retired bus driver
“I think as an older person the standards in the NHS are slipping, that’s definitely what I’m hearing from people near where I live. Personally the service I’ve had has been great but I hear all the time how people are struggling when visiting the doctor or the hospital.
“We have problems in our area with people hanging around by the local shops. It can be very intimidating going out late at night and I wouldn’t let my wife go out on her own.
Jeanette Edwards, 61, Llanishen, retired home carer
“We need to make sure we’re looking after our community services. I use and volunteer at my local library but it’s worrying with all the cut backs. The one nearest our house is only part-time.
“I’m really worried about life-long learning and whether with the cutbacks we’ll still get the opportunities to learn and take our education forward.”
Ken White, 80, Ely, a retired sales rep
“One of the things that really winds me up is a mobility allowance. You have to claim for it before you’re 65, but after that you can’t. I had a company car before, so I was fine – but now I’m older and need it I can’t get it.
“In Ely things are good, we have some good facilities and it’s easy to get around. “
Have you been to the Cardiff Olders Persons Forum? Are you an older resident of Cardiff, what are your views? Let us know your views in the comments below