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Research into Older People Launched

15 November, 2007

Ensuring older people have access to the food they need for good health must be a top priority the Sinn Féin deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness said today.

Launching "Silver Service", a new Consumer Council report into older people's shopping experiences, the Minister said:

"Having easy access to food and other products is a basic human right but it can also benefit our health system and wider economy.

"Yet this report shows many older consumers experience difficulties in getting what they need for a healthy diet. Low income, poor mobility and dexterity and poor public transport can stop older shoppers from having the nutritionally balanced diet they need to maintain good health.

"Our recent announcement to extend free public transport to those aged 60 and over is a welcome contribution to reducing at least one barrier. But more must be done," the Minister added.

The Consumer Council, which carried out the research in partnership with Age Concern and older people, outlined potential solutions as well as securing a public commitment from major supermarkets to tackle the problems identified.

"Improving food access for older people should not be seen as an additional cost but rather as an investment in their current and future health and quality of life." Mr McGuinness added.

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