Charities warn government over ageing population

Elderly woman's hands The charities backed calls for a cabinet minister to be appointed to represent elderly people's interests

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Ministers should do more to prepare for the impact of an ageing population, a group of leading charities has warned.

A poll by care provider Anchor of 2,200 adults found more than three quarters (77%) said the government was not ready to cope with changing UK demographics.

The survey results prompted the Ready for Ageing Alliance to say that action now was "crucial for a happier old age for future generations".

The government insisted it had an ambitious programme for the elderly.

Some 76% of those polled also said they wanted a cabinet minister appointed to address the issue.

Jane Ashcroft, chief executive of Anchor, said: "We ask government to prove to the public that they can future-proof policy. 137,000 people signed Anchor's petition for a minister for older people.

"Government cannot bury its head in the sand on the issue."

George McNamara, head of policy and public affairs at the Alzheimer's Society, added: "By failing to prepare for the effect of an ageing population, we could be preparing to fail.

"While the government needs to plan for the impact of an ageing society, the public also needs to give more consideration to planning for their own old age.

"We ignore the challenge of an ageing population at our peril."

The survey came as Office for National Statistics figures showed there were 12,320 people aged over 100 in England and Wales in 2012 compared with just 2,560 three decades ago.

Centenarians in England and Wales

  • 1982: 2,560
  • 1992: 4,460
  • 2002: 7,090
  • 2012: 12,320

Source: ONS estimates

The number of people aged over 90 has tripled over a similar time.

The government said changes to pensions and public services meant people would be able to save for retirement and get excellent care when they needed it.

A spokesman said: "We want to make the UK one of the best places to grow old in and we have an ambitious programme to achieve this.

"We are making radical changes to our pension system so people can plan and save for a decent income in retirement.

"We are reforming our public services so that older people get excellent care and support when they need it and are enabled to live independently.

"It is vital to make the most of the skills and talents that everyone has to offer."

The Ready for Ageing Alliance comprises eight charities consisting of Age UK, Alzheimer's Society, Anchor, Carers UK, Centre for Policy on Ageing, Independent Age, International Longevity Centre UK and Joseph Rowntree Foundation.


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  • rate this

    Comment number 19.

    Pay pensioners the same rates as Job Seekers Allowance and cancel all their freebies that no-one else gets (e.g. winter fuel allowance).

    It's only fair.

  • rate this

    Comment number 18.

    Don't smoke or drink. Eat your 'five a day'. Exercise. These and many other initiatives/directives are keeping us healthy and we are living longer. Now the whingeing starts "How will we cope with all these extra people"? It's like hitting yourself on the head with a hammer then complaining that you have a headache. Duh!

  • rate this

    Comment number 17.

    Giving people the right to die would be a good start.

  • rate this

    Comment number 16.

    How will younger generations pay for the costs of an increasing elderly population (pensions/healthcare etc), repay the enormous national debt, save for their own future whilst doing so when living standards / wages are falling?

    Taxing individuals/businesses until they bleed or move overseas is unrelaistic. Cutting spending on services inclusing pensions & NHS will have to be considered too.

  • rate this

    Comment number 15.

    giving to charities is a waste of money, they just line their own pockets, I give them nothing.

  • rate this

    Comment number 14.

    These changes may help those under 30 but it will not address the problems faced by those of us who are already over 60 even if we have saved for our old age. I would like to see less emphasis put on how we can live longer and more on controlling the ever upward trend of how much housing, food, utilities etc cost everyone. Competition does not seem to lower the cost of anything in the long run.

  • rate this

    Comment number 13.

    Great... There is only one possible solution to the impending crisis and it doesn't involve the Nanny state! There has to be/ will be, a return to the more traditional cohesive FAMILY being the guarantor of our health and well being!

    That is most definitely a non 'conservative' observation by the way! ;-)

  • rate this

    Comment number 12.

    Find me the ( Liverpool ) pathway,amid the encircling gloom

  • rate this

    Comment number 11.

    Hmmm.... A return to true socialism might be the solution.
    Move away from this uncaring oligarchy where money and power is in the hands of so few.

  • rate this

    Comment number 10.

    Based on his current performance I would suspect that IDS is considering the 'Logan's Run' solution to the problem (with exclusions for elderly politicians and their mates of course)

  • rate this

    Comment number 9.

    As most people only pay into a state pension thats all they should get.
    And to all the I payed in all my life lot that are bound to post I too will pay all my life and I will have to wait longer to get some back.

    Im putting away for my old age as well as paying into the state you should of done the same too.

  • rate this

    Comment number 8.

    why not enlist the help of the long term unemployed to do the work to help the elderly to continue receiving benefits.

  • rate this

    Comment number 7.

    This is a clear case of medical science being allowed to forge ahead without anyone considering how we deal with the consequences of its success.

  • rate this

    Comment number 6.

    Successive governments have closed day centres, capped resources for the elderly, turned a blind eye to care home abuses and disregarded chicanery in the equity release markets.

    Our elderly ought to be a cherished resource instead of an inconvenient burden or a source for exploitation.

    Shame on us for letting it happen.

  • rate this

    Comment number 5.

    #2 Reynolds 1986

    I'll go for that! Somewhere in the Canaries or similar please! Not Scottish islands! Plus so long as there's a post office there for our pensions! :)

  • rate this

    Comment number 4.

    We are all going to be old, at the least the lucky ones are. This is US they are talking about!

  • rate this

    Comment number 3.

    Yeh, we want more help for the elderly, we want more pensions, we want retirement homes with two bedrooms and a garden and a gardener to tend them (this was from a survey in Cambridge - I kid you not!).

    However, the other side of the coin is how to pay for it!

    Well Anchor et al. why not produce a balanced appraisal rather than a self interested wish list?

  • Comment number 2.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • rate this

    Comment number 1.

    We are forever being told we are the unhealthiest, overweight generation ever and yet at the same time our life expectancy is increasing rapidly.

    So, which is it ? Are we all living much longer or dying of being unhealthy ?


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