Demogrpahic ageing is one onf the greatest challenges facing the UK today. The demographic trends predict that by 2050 the propportion of the population aged 65 years and ver will have almost doubled. the main impacts will be on healthcare, pensions and housing. The UK government predicted in itsmost recent review that:
· The ratio of people 65 years and over to those aged 20-64 will rise from 27% in 2001 to 48% in 2050. This marks a considerable change from the very slow increase in the previous 20 years.
· Average male life expectancy at 65, which rose from 12.0 years in 1950 to 19.0 years in 2001, will increase further by 21.0 by 2030 to 21.7 by 2050. Female life expectancy is higher, but will increase at a slightly slower rate
· The current low fertility rate of 1.7 children per woman will increase only slightly to 1.75 by 2025, levelling off thereafter
The 2001 census enumerated more than 1.1 million people ages 85 and over. There were more than 300,000 aged 90 or more. Life expectancy is influenced by socioeconomic class and by ethnic group.
Ageing and health
An ageing population places increasing pressure on health reosurces but it is important not to overstate the this impact. Average healthcare costs do rise with age, but the cost ofthis tend could be significantly offset by people becming healthier. Retired people continue to pay income tax and other taxes. Health costs tend to be compressed into the last years or even months of life – a process termed the compression of morbidity.
Ageing and pensions
The state pension system transfers resources from the current generation of workers to the current generation of pensioners. As the population has aged the level of resource transfer required has increased. The system cannot by sustained in the future without significant change. Four options have been suggested:
· Pensioners become poorer relative to the rest of society
· Taxes and National Insurance contributions devoted to pensions increase
· The rate at which individuals save for retirement increases
· The average retirement age increases
The grey pound – the money spent by people who are retired:
· In the tourist industry, cruising is a popular type of holiday with this age group
· Some companies for example Saga, provide a wide range of leisure services for older people, in this case the over 50s
· Some companies, for example B&Q and Homebase, target this age group for their workforce
· The growing number of elderly people who live alone has led to the provision of a range of support services, such as health visitors, meals on wheels, home-help cleaners and drivers for hospitals visits
Ageing and housing
As people get older they get more and more segregated by society. Segregation baed on age has manifested itself in a number of ways in thwns in the UK:
· On council areas there a clusters of purpose-built bungalows occupying one small part or parts of the estate – still be part of the community
· Sheltered accommodation – overseen by a warden or manager – flats or bungalows
· Nursing homes – increasing in number to cater for the growing number of elderly people. Can be a combination of council funded and private developers