An ageing population, so what is the current situation and what are the future issues?

Undoubtedly, we are seeing huge demands on healthcare, and being able to receive the care we need no matter what age, matters to all of us. An ageing population is perfectly demonstrated now by a vast majority of people who are reaching their sixties and seventies and enjoying good health, many not needing any form of additional help with daily living. As we move into our 80s and beyond more and more people are needing additional support, with only one in seven of us free of any diagnosed long-term health condition.

With this in mind we are now experiencing an increase by a third of people over 85 in the last decade, and this is proving to be one of the most significant factors in the rising demand for healthcare services across the country.

The changing demographic is pretty much considered a crisis by many, and a situation that requires potentially dramatic change to how we receive care, but also a more targeted approach on receiving the right kind of care.

The projection for the next 20 years is predicted as exponential growth in numbers of older people, and predicted to double by 2036. To repeat some of these statistics and put some realism around the current situation demonstrates just how the care provision needs to evolve now and in the future.

  • People aged 85+ in England have increased by almost a third over the last decade, and predicted to more than double over the next two decades
  • Of those in their late 80s, one in three will have difficulties undertaking five or more daily tasks unaided
  • A quarter of the 85+ group are frail and need care and support
  • Disability free life expectancy at age 65 has been falling since its peak five years ago
  • Huge socio-economic differences see a vast chasm between those who enjoy good health at 65 years old and those that don’t
  • Age UK’s recent report and analysis demonstrated that there are now nearly 1.2 million people aged 65+ who don’t receive the help they need with essential daily living, a 48% increase since 2010
  • It is estimated that close to an additional £5 billion a year is required now to ensure every older person who currently has one or more unmet needs has access to social care, and this figure will need to rise substantially by 2020.
  • The total number of people over 65 is estimated to grow by 48.9% over the next two decades

To put this in perspective, the need for more care is at epidemic levels, and both the public and private sector will have a huge task on their hands catering for the growing care demand.

One thing is for sure, we are certainly way off where we need to be to cater for the care demands of our growing older population. The figure of 1.2 million older people who are not receiving adequate care is rather daunting, and these numbers are rising every day. The local demographic in the east of the country has its own specific issues in comparison to other parts of the country. A highly recognised area for retirement with a large older demographic of people. It is not too difficult to predict it will be down to the private sector to take up as much of the slack as possible in providing care facilities. The expansion in private care homes in the region is most certainly evidential of this fact!

Source: Thank you to Age UK for the excellent report this information was gathered from! If you would like to read the full report, click here.

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