Ageing: Have we any choice?

Filed under: Health,Social Care — lenand @ 9:50 am
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The UK is predicted to have almost 20 million people over the age of 65 in 2030.

UK Ageing Population Growth

UK Ageing Population Growth

The proportion of older people relative to younger people is also increasing.  People are living longer and, in general, birth rates are reducing.  We have little choice in how we grow old.  After the age of 50 the ageing process means that our mental and physical capacity decreases until death.  The economic issues are are not going to disappear and however we play with the figures, the younger economically active people are faced with funding the growing ageing population.

The most obvious impact is in health and social care, where the Government have decided to cap the the budget in 2016, thereafter the value will reduce in real terms.  To give an idea of the scale:

  • Dementia results in health care costs of £23 billion (Age UK);
  • Falls currently cost £1 billion for health and social care, rising to £2.2 billion in 2050 (AKTIVE);
  • Adult social care costs for the elderly are £8.9 billion (HSCIC):
  • Chronic disease costs the NHS about £7 for every £10 it spends on patient care (College of Medicine).

People age at different rates, and they have different needs.  Whilst some are relatively healthy, an increasing number are suffering from chronic conditions.  Health and lifestyle are closely related.  The more active prefer to live independently as long as possible, the less healthy begin to need care assistance and may have little choice other than moving into care or nursing homes.  Choice is important, but options reduce with with reducing physical and mental capacity.

What is also clear is that the statutory services are reducing funding and that self-funding is going to increase after 2016.  Many families will have no choice about funding of care in old age.



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