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Later Life in the United Kingdom – Too old to care?

This Overview report highlights the charity, health and care sectors problems in exploring the voice, choice and control of older people within the UK.

Sample introduction

Older people with high support needs constitute a large and growing sector of our population. Recent developments in independent living, which enable people who need support to have choice and control in their lives, have been slow to respond to the varied needs and aspirations of older people. This report: • presents the results of a scoping study exploring the current role of long-term care and sets out the policy context; • summarises key messages from older people with high support needs and presents their vision for a good life; • highlights the need for radical change in long-term care policy and services to achieve this vision; • recommends a multifaceted change programme to enable this vision to be achieved for individuals and their families; for local populations; and at a national policy and societal level
UK Population

‘It is no secret that ageing populations and rapidly increasing rates of chronic illness are
creating unprecedented pressure on health and social support systems in all industrialised
countries, often exacerbated by healthcare workforce insufficiencies. Health policy
responses have included, among other things, increased discourse and support f or patient
self-management ; which in practice often implicates family members and of people with
chronic illness.’ (Jowsey et al, 2013)
There are now 11.4 million people aged 65 or over in the UK.
There are over 23.2 million people aged 50 years and over, over a third of the
total UK population.
There are now 14.9 million people in the UK aged 60 and above.
1.5 million people are aged 85 or over.
In 2010, approximately 640,000 people in the UK turned 65; in 2012, it the figure was
about 800,000. The number turning 65 is projected to decrease gradually over the next 5
years to around 650,000 in 2017.
There are now more people in the UK aged 60 and above than there are under 18.
The number of centenarians living in the UK has risen by 73% over the last decade
to 13,350 in 2012.
When asked what stage of life they were currently in (given choices), 55% of 60-64
year olds said ‘later life or old age’, but 43% of them said ‘middle adulthood’. For 65-69 year
olds, the split was 75% ‘later life’ and 23% ‘middle adulthood’.
Yet people’s ideas of when ‘later life’ started were quite early: in the 60-64 year old
group, men said age 61 and women said 64; in the 65-69s, men said 62 and women
said 66.

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