Care in an ageing society

On 4 December 2019, two major new resources on care in our ageing society were launched at a gathering in London, co-ordinated by Caritas Social Action Network.

First, the ‘Care in Time’ report explores how senior leaders of Catholic organisations can address the increasing concerns of charities and carers about the prospects for the care of older people in England and Wales. Longer lives are a great sign of progress, creating new opportunities in our society. But challenges remain, from developing positive attitudes to ageing and public awareness of care, to the impacts of regulation and markets on care provided by Catholic organisations among others. In the report, Peter Kevern, Professor of Values in Social Care at Staffordshire University, has extended Catholic social thought on ageing in our national context. Dr Kathryn Hodges, an independent consultant and researcher, completed field research with residents in care homes, religious sisters and working age adults in Catholic parishes, in three areas of England. Many directors and diocesan representatives in the Caritas network also contributed evidence to the report.

Secondly, ‘Reaching Out’ offers parishes and groups some guidance on discerning and organising local group-based social activities that older people feel right for them. This resource is a fruit of a three-year collaboration – the Embrace Project – between Caritas Salford, Catholic Care (Diocese of Leeds), Father Hudson’s Care and the national team in CSAN, with over 20 activities established by Catholic parishes involving over 1,000 people of all ages within and beyond the Catholic community.

The new resources are available to download:

Further pointers for practical action in local churches are offered on our site as ‘Resources for parishes and groups’.

A film of the launch event is available online (these are external links):

Part 1

Part 2

The Catholic Bishops of England and Wales welcomed the conclusions of ‘Care in Time’ at their plenary meeting in November 2019, and in a joint resolution:

  • Noted the need for increased national co-ordination to counter negative portrayals of ageing, frailty and care. In addition, the Bishops’ Conference recognised the need to develop Catholic care provision that attends to longevity, changing patterns in household formation, parish attendance and pastoral ministry;
  • Supported the creation of a plan to maintain, and where possible enhance, provision for care of older people, and encouraged the joint discernment of the Conference of Religious, Diocesan Financial Secretaries, the Catholic Trust for England and Wales, and Caritas Social Action Network in this work.


Picture – copyright Mazur/, reused with permission.