The challenges facing an aging population

Jun 18, 2014
Tagged with: The challenges facing an aging population

Thanks to improved social and health care in the UK many people are now living longer. In fact, there’s not only been an increase in centenarians (individuals over 100), but a rise in super-centenarians (those who live to see 110 and beyond). While this is great news in many respects, there are also many challenges facing an aging population including:

 Care

There are many things we’re doing right when caring for the elderly. There are plenty of care homes dotted around the country, including those that offer a wealth of impeccable services and supplies from trusted providers such as Hidden Hearing, as well as a bank of dedicated staff who do all they can to make the lives of older people happier. According to a report by Age UK, however, challenges still remain with more than 200,000 people aged 75 and over being readmitted to hospital within a month during 2010-11, suggesting they were released too early or didn’t receive adequate care at home.

 The report also states that more than 300,000 carers were forced out of the workplace in 2012 because they were not able to work flexibly, something that is sure to have a knock-on effect upon the elderly in society. Moreover, a quarter of older households now live in non-decent housing which impacts not only on the size of their bills (with heating being a particular concern) but also on their health!

 Poverty

Age UK statistics have revealed that 1.7 million pensioners are still living in poverty, with half of Bangladeshi and Pakistani pensioners and a quarter of the older Caribbean community living below the poverty line. While this is extremely worrying, especially seeing as people tend to become more vulnerable with age, there are things which are being done to ensure the elderly can live full and content lives for as long as possible. For example, in the space of a year (2012-2013) the number of people aged 65 and above in employment rose from 885,000 to 967,000. This not only gave elderly residents more freedom, it allowed them to top up their incomings and improve their quality of life.

 Social

Studies suggest that there’s a relationship between depression and loneliness. As people grow older they often lose family ties, find themselves disconnected with their roots and become insular, and this can severely affect their mental health. With many elderly people wanting to remain as active and social as possible, it’s essential they’re given the opportunity to meet people and get out of the house. The good news is there are plenty of befriending schemes and clubs to enable the older population to mix and mingle with other people. There are also opportunities for the elderly to work with nearly 4.9 million people aged 65 plus taking part in volunteer or civic engagement schemes.

 So while there are many challenges facing an aging population and work still needs to be done, it’s clear that vital steps are being taken to improve the quality of life for our older generation.

Author: Chris Meloni