Conference will support older people

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OLDER people and those who work with them in the Newbiggin area are invited to a conference focusing on the future.

It will be an opportunity to meet like-minded people, share experiences and contribute ideas.

The event at Newbiggin Sports and Community Centre on Tuesday, April 3, is free, but those attending must register by Monday, March 19.

Growth in the elderly population is more advanced in Northumberland than elsewhere in Britain.

Over-50s account for 40 per cent now and by 2021 will be 50 per cent.

Northumberland Care Trust says the “impact on the texture of life in the county will be gradual but profound”.

The conference, from 10am to 3.30pm, is hosted by Newbiggin Town Council, which has application forms at 7 Front Street on Wednesday, from 2pm to 4pm, by calling (01670) 811048, logging on to www.newbiggintowncouncil.gov.uk or e-mailing TownClerk@newbiggintowncouncil.gov.uk

Speakers will be Northumberland Care Trust associate director, Jane Bowey; members of Wansbeck Golden Age Forum; Age UK Northumberland’s Catrina Flynn; Lynn McIntosh, of Newbiggin Nipper bus service; Carol O’Connell, of the Weekday Clubs, and Josie Armstrong, of Friendly Faces.

The aim of the conference is to discuss current and future provision for older people in Newbiggin, to encourage collaboration between groups and individuals and to set priorities for older people’s issues.

Most people retiring now can expect many years of good health.

The care trust states: “They are also the generation hit hard by the structural changes in the economy which reached their peak in the 1980s when the collapse of employment in mining and heavy industries disrupted individual and community life and led to social and political conflict.”

Some are at the peak of their careers, some held back by ageism at work or retiring on low incomes, a problem especially for women.

Many will be caring for grandchildren or parents, some enjoying new interests, but eventually, most will need help to stay independent.

Their needs and hopes will be considered at the conference.