The number of people aged over 65 needing social care could reach 2.8 million by 2025 in England and Wales, according to scientific research published in The Lancet earlier this week
The report revealed that the number of people aged 65 and above will rise by 19.4% between 2015 and 2025 from 10.4m to 12.4m, with total life expectancy at 65 years forecast to rise by 1.7 years with disability free life expectancy up by one year.
Life expectancy with disability will increase more in relative terms by 15% between 2015 and 2025.
The Lancet said the rise in older people with care needs will mainly reflect the ageing population rather than an increase in disability.
Lead author of the research, Dr Maria Guzman-Castillo, said: “The societal, economic, and public health implications of our predictions are substantial.”
“Spending on long-term care will need to increase considerably by 2025, which has serious implications for a cash-strapped and overburdened NHS and an under-resourced social care system.
“More cost-effective health and social care provision will be needed, such as increased availability of institutional care, and better financial support – such as tax allowances or cash benefits.”
For those aged 65 in 2025, life expectancy is projected to increase by 1.7 years to 86.8 years, however a quarter of later life is expected to be spent with disability, with dementia rates expected to increase by 49% in over-65s throughout the decade.
The second-largest cause of disabilities are expected to be other diseases such as mental health problems, diabetes, musculoskeletal disorders, and other chronic diseases, which are forecast to increase 37% by 2025.
The report says: “The substantial expansion in life expectancy and population ageing during the 20th century is continuing into the 21st century.
“Rapid ageing of populations in developed countries is set to continue.The rising burden of age-related disability accompanying population ageing poses a substantial societal challenge and emphasises the urgent need for policy development that includes effective prevention interventions.”