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.




Ageing: House of Lords should know

Filed under: Technology — lenand @ 6:26 am
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A recent report from the House of Lords Committee on Public Service and Demographic Change warns that the Government and our society are woefully underprepared for ageing.  During 2020–2030 they expect:

  •  51% more people aged 65 and over in England in 2030 compared to 2010
  •  101% more people aged 85 and over in England in 2030 compared to 2010
  •  10.7 million people in Great Britain can currently expect inadequate retirement incomes
  •  over 50% more people with three or more long-term conditions in England by 2018 compared to 2008
  •  over 80% more people aged 65 and over with dementia (moderate or severe cognitive impairment) in England and Wales by 2030 compared to 2010.

Among their many recommendations, these stand out as a message to everybody, before they, and their families, are too old to benefit.  People need to:

  • be more focused on prevention, early diagnosis, intervention, and managing long-term conditions to prevent degeneration, with much less use of acute hospitals
  • be centred on the individual person, with patients engaged in decisions about their care and supported to manage their own conditions in their own homes so that they can be prevented from deteriorating
  • have the home as the hub of care and support, including emotional, psychological and practical support for patients and caregivers
  • ensure older people only go into hospitals or care homes if essential, although they must have access to good specialist and diagnostic facilities to ensure early interventions for reversible conditions and prevent decline into chronic ill health.

Technology has a part to play – small in terms of overall costs – but a critical part of the Ageing Infrastructure.  Today, this is inadequate, fragmented and and inflexible.  This provides great opportunity for UK technology and the TSB is investing, such as the DALLAS programme. Innovation is key.

Another source of innovative ideas is coming from social media culture; informal meetings of people with ideas and energy.  Have a look at the Meetup network.  The Internet of Things has a very active group and Health 2.0 is looking at Dementia this week (there are spaces).

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