OAP poverty blight 'must be fought'
Poverty-stricken and lonely pensioners should be helped by specialist local teams, according to a new report.
Police officers, community leaders, older people's charities and council officers were called upon by the Centre for Social Justice (CSJ) to help combat "the epidemic of poverty and isolation in later life".
Researchers for "Age of Opportunity - Transforming the lives of older people in poverty" studied projects in the UK and the US before making their recommendations.
Gavin Poole, executive director of CSJ, said: "In this report we outline how government, communities, families and older people can work together to make later life an age of opportunity."
The study, sponsored by the charities Age UK and Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation and carried out by a group of experts on care for older people, warned pensioner poverty is an urgent issue that needs to be tackled now with an imaginative range of reform ideas.
It used one of its case studies in a crime-ridden area of Manchester as a model for its proposals.
Ardwick is the city's fourth most deprived ward, and volunteers from the local charity Healthy Ardwick have joined neighbourhood policing teams to knock on doors to reassure the elderly and bring them help.
Researchers also looked at a project in the US city of Seattle where older people are redesigning their communities and deciding where public money should is spent.
The study warned growing numbers of pensioners are living in their own homes but they are unable to meet repair and maintenance costs.
"The result is significant housing poverty among older homeowners, especially in the private sector," it said.