Your vote counts – this is the message going out to elderly residents in South Holland.
Today, the Orders of St John Care Trust, which runs Southfield House in Spalding, is launching a Trust-wide campaign to empower and encourage residents to have their say in this year’s election.
It is part of National Voter Registration Day, which also starts today.
Carol Hillier, manager at Southfield House, said: “The elderly are too often ignored when it comes to voting time.
“But they are impacted by what happens when it comes to health and social care – and how homes are funded.”
Never before has it been so important for those coming up to retirement to take the opportunity to have a say on their future care.
An article in the Guardian predicted the political battleground of 2015 would be dominated by the economy, jobs and growth. But it also highlighted the future of the NHS and how the elderly is cared for.
South Holland has an ever-growing elderly population. The latest estimates from 2013, show there are 21,200 over 65’s in in the district. The total population is 89,200.
Government funding reforms in passage through parliament include a new capped-cost system in which people will be expected to insure themselves against capped lifetime care costs of £72,000, with state support kicking in for the one-in-eight people who face higher costs. The cap does not include substantial accommodation and food costs for those in residential care.
Pensioner bonds with interest rates of up to four percent also went on sale last month. And with new relaxed rules on pensions set to come into force, giving people more freedom to do what they want with the money they have saved for retirement, there are a lot of issues to consider.
OSJCT is working in partnership with the Electoral Commission to make certain that every one of its residents is properly registered before the April deadline to avoid them “disappearing” from the electoral registers through lack of access or information.
The Trust will also host in-home debates, as well as inviting key players on all sides of the political campaigns to come and visit.
Resident Irene Day, 90 on Saturday, says she has voted all of her life. Irene moved into Southfield House in April last year. In spite of not being as active as she would like to be, she said the thing she would never allow to be taken from her is her right to vote.
She said: “I worked until I was 65 and stayed independent for as long as I could.
“I once had my own florist business – it’s what you did when jobs were scarce – you started your own business. There weren’t so many benefits then, you had no option but to work.
“Having worked all my life it would be nice to have a bit more money now. The Government needs to know how we feel – that’s why I’ll be voting.”
Nancy Parkinson (73) said: “I’ve voted ever since I was old enough. If you don’t have a vote you can’t have a say.”
Jean Peachman (77) is a volunteer at Age Concern. She said: “I think everyone has a duty to vote.
“I’d like to see care one of the priorities of the election campain and more money put into how to cope with ageing.”
Also heading for the polls will be a group of active retired people from a line dancing class at the Fitness Company gym in Spalding.
Lorna Durrant (68) has firm ideas about how she would like to spend her future. She said: “I’d love to be able to move to a retirement village with sports facilities and a bar for socialising. Making that possible would get my vote.”