David Cameron will need to take bolder steps than any previous leader to deal with a rapidly ageing population. And the Prime Minister and new government must deliver on its promise of security and dignity for people in retirement. That’s according to an open letter to the Prime Minister signed by sixteen organisations concerned about the needs of our ageing society including the charity Independent Age, the International Longevity Centre – UK, Anchor, the National Council for Palliative Care, the United Kingdom Home Care Association and the Campaign to End Loneliness ¹.
By the end of this parliament one in five people will be over 65 ².The letter calls on the Prime Minister to:
· Set an ambitious agenda to help all generations get ready for ageing, including addressing the new threats of loneliness, inadequate housing and tackling a lack of proper care and support among growing numbers of older and frail people in society.
· Address the concerns of older people in getting the necessary support to remain well and independent at home.
· Action to prevent older people from requiring hospital or other forms of costlier care, in order to avoid the elderly being caught up in unnecessary A&E visits and long hospital stays.
· Have an honest debate about how the cost of living longer lives is met and building on the Secretary of State for Health’s ambition, explain how the UK can become the best country in which to grow old.
Janet Morrison, Chief Executive, Independent Age, said:
“The actions of the Prime Minister now will help determine the extent to which current and future generations really have security and dignity in retirement. With one week to go until the Queen’s Speech, crucial decisions are needed on health, social care, housing and other areas. Clarity on these will encourage people to consider how they plan to fund and experience their older age and take responsibility for their own health and wellbeing as they grow older.”
David Sinclair, Director, International Longevity Centre – UK, said:
“Delivering a sustainable older society is critical for our future. Yet the UK continues to be unprepared for ageing. While the Government has recognised the importance of supporting older people today, we are lacking a coherent set of policy measures intended to address the long term challenges posed by an ageing population. It doesn’t have to be this way. With a coherent vision about how we face up to the challenge of ageing we can drive-up health and prosperity across the generations.”