Tower Hamlets Council tackles loneliness and isolation in a week of celebratory events for older people

A week of activities, talks, workshops and other events will take place across the borough, as Tower Hamlets Council alongside voluntary, health and community organisations mark United Nations International Day for Older Persons (UNIDOP) on 1 October.

In 2015, there were an estimated 16,700 people aged 65 or over living in Tower Hamlets. It is expected that this number will increase to 26,700 by 2030.

This year’s celebrations coincide with the tenth anniversary year of the LinkAge Plus programme - aimed at reducing isolation among residents over the age of 50, helping them to achieve a better quality of life and improved physical and mental well-being.

Mayor of Tower Hamlets John Biggs said: “Growing older should not reduce a person’s dignity and fundamental rights. Our International Day for Older Persons celebrations, which fall in the tenth anniversary year of our flagship LinkAge Plus scheme, reaffirm our commitment to promoting the independence, health and well-being of older residents.”

LinkAge Plus supports older people through its network of five centres funded by the council and Tower Hamlets Clinical Commissioning Group.

The centres - Toynbee Hall in Aldgate East; the Sundial Centre in Bethnal Green; Sonali Gardens in Shadwell; Age UK in Bow; and Neighbours in Poplar, will each host a celebration during the week, with the launch day at Toynbee Hall.

Sir Sam Everington, local GP and chair of Tower Hamlets Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG), said:  “Supporting people to remain healthy and active as they grow older is a priority for us in Tower Hamlets – age should be no barrier to a good quality of life.

“The International Day for Older Persons is the ideal time to highlight the valuable contribution made by the LinkAge Plus service in reducing isolation, and helping older people in Tower Hamlets to live independent and fulfilling lives.”

The theme of this year’s UNIDOP is Celebrating Older Human Rights Champions.

And events in Tower Hamlets will focus on priorities in the borough’s Ageing Well strategy such as: reducing isolation and loneliness; boosting independence and well-being; and making a positive contribution to the community. 

Earlier this year, Councillor Denise Jones, Cabinet Member for Adults, Health and Wellbeing was named Older People’s Champion. Cllr Jones is tapping into the borough’s diverse network of older residents to promote their interests.

Cllr Jones said: “Older people in our community are as diverse as the society in which we live. I am glad that we are celebrating this with a week of activities that highlight our support for older residents to lead healthier, happier lives.”