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

Related Stories

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.


More on This Story

Related Stories

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external Internet sites


This entry is now closed for comments

Jump to comments pagination
  • rate this

    Comment number 39.

    Perhaps if the government allowed people to keep their pension savings to provide an income (rather than give it away for a poor value annuity) then remove Inheritance Tax on anything under £5 million, we might be able to pass something on to our kids so they can support themselves during their retirement.

    It's called joined upo thinking Dense Dave.

  • rate this

    Comment number 38.

    If one of these wretched do-gooder charities turn up to my house they will be told two words and the second one is "off".

  • rate this

    Comment number 37.

    A civilised society is judged on how it treats its elderly and its children. Clearly we are no longer a civilised society where people who have worked for 45 years and paid into the system are regarded as "a burden". Even those of us who have saved are being penalised by this government in order to prop up an overheated housing market.

  • rate this

    Comment number 36.

    Is it just me thinking there is a charity for every damn thing in this country these days. I surprised there isn't a charity for charities or may there is.

  • rate this

    Comment number 35.

    Governments for the past 50 years have not been able to put forward policies that have impacts 50 years ahead because we the voting public don't elect or reelect those that actually act on long term planning. We want tax cuts and spending on things that affect our lives NOW...especially those voters in their 20s.

  • rate this

    Comment number 34.

    Stop the government pampering and let people do as they please. We all end up in hospital sooner or later to die. Let those who want to indulge get there quicker and those who want to skimp enjoy the benefits later. What it costs on early medic care will be far out-weighed by pension savings and old age costs.

  • rate this

    Comment number 33.

    @27. Mrs Vee
    Who's paying for it? thats right working people how else you going to get the money for it.Working people deserve more we are the ones paying for you not the other way round.

  • rate this

    Comment number 32.

    Is there any subject where the unemployed won't get a kicking on HYS? Unemployment is a byproduct of free market capitalism and technological advance. Want to play the game of elimination of groups of people not useful to society? Given the rate of technological advance very few of us are actually required. These ideas are already circulated by some intellectuals. Target world population 500k

  • rate this

    Comment number 31.

    Yesterday HYS conveyed worries about the potential lack of burial space.

    Today it is worries about an ageing population......

  • rate this

    Comment number 30.

    16. Jason
    The answer Jason is better management of what resources we have.
    We need to improve our NHS, social services,& healthcare by using properly trained and qualified personnel and not some well meaning agency trainee. We are awash with self trained supervisors who though self motivated are inefficient because they don't understand the system, (plus there are too many bosses).

  • rate this

    Comment number 29.

    3 Minutes ago
    I would hate to have to endure what my mother has recently. The medics have finally stopped with their crusade of propping her up, while causing endless pain and distress - for her and the family. Society must learn to let go when necessary.
    You could have said "NO". My children will.

  • rate this

    Comment number 28.

    I watched a Tomorrows World prog. on the BBC in the 70's that warned about the current situation and said politicians should start to plan ahead for this eventuality. The situation has arrived and still the state is unprepared. It says a lot about our bunch of clowns in Parliament that even with ~50 years warning they still cannot have a plan in place to deal with it.

  • rate this

    Comment number 27.

    I hate the way the elderly are looked upon as a 'challenge' and
    a 'burden to society'. These people paid their way and brought up the next generation but, now, in the twilight of their lives they suddenly become a 'problem'.

    Why is the OA pension lower than the minimum wage? Why are the elderly supposed to live on less than the young?

    Treat the elderly with respect - you'll be old one day.

  • rate this

    Comment number 26.

    I have already enjoyed my first 70. We allow abortion so the next step is obvious. I suggest people read p259/260 of Tomorrows World by Baxter & Burke BBC Publication 1970 SBN 563 10162 8. Before the "Liverpool Pathway" we had the infamous Neasden Memo but it is still happening. Todays pensioners started work at 15 or 16, now it is 21 or 22 after uni so 70 is fair. Put in 45 yrs & then retire.

  • rate this

    Comment number 25.

    The ageing people form a part of a wider problem. Consider the number of people out of work (and have little intention of doing so) who consider it 'their right' to have as many children as they like, these children contribute to the 'lost generation' which intensifies the burden on the tax payer. Maybe we need to tackle these people so the system can look after the people who need looking after!

  • rate this

    Comment number 24.

    They need to increase funding for research in to alzheimer's disease and other age related diseases desperately. The amount spent in comparison to cancer is shamefully low.

  • rate this

    Comment number 23.

    Hang on a minute! We have been told we are going to lose a generation to obesity and because of that the govt' is spending millions to ensure we don't eat an excess of sugar, junk food, salt, etc, etc, etc, etc. Many others will die young of smoking related illnesses.
    Somebody is telling porkies

  • rate this

    Comment number 22.

    Medicine has improved so much in the last few years, unfortunately a lot of people are kept alive against their wishes. I would hate to have to endure what my mother has recently. The medics have finally stopped with their crusade of propping her up, while causing endless pain and distress - for her and the family. Society must learn to let go when necessary.

  • rate this

    Comment number 21.

    "Charities warn government over ageing population"

    Do they expect people to be growing younger, another badly written BBC headline they actually warned of the "Impact of an ageing population" which has a different meaning

  • rate this

    Comment number 20.

    8. alan loughlin
    why not enlist the help of the long term unemployed
    'enlist'. You've nicely summed up all that's wrong in modern Britain: you hate the unemployed but you'll do anything to avoid employing them. You're all right, Jack.


Page 12 of 13


More Health stories



BBC © 2014 The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.