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 79.

    I can foresee the time when an absolute age limit will become mandatory and people will be assisted to die at that age. The only way to avoid the world being overrun by humans is either to prevent people living too long or to limit the ability to reproduce. What we really need is a big worldwide disaster that takes out more than half of the population.

  • rate this

    Comment number 78.

    "Ministers should do more", for the young, for the active, for the sick, for the old

    How long must we hear ourselves ask for 'help', for political action where there are 'no votes'?

    IF, from experience and history and imagination, we can see the good for all in democracy, in 'equal say' for all, our need is to extend the idea of 'personal budgets' to equal command, to equal incomes for all


  • rate this

    Comment number 77.

    I’m totally opposed to ‘charity’ It may be good for personal ego and standing in today’s superficial society, but also allows governments all over the world (esp ‘the Brits’) to negate their responsibilities... as well as creating financial loopholes for rich to siphon off even more money! Abolish all charities, tax the privileged, and make that money WORK for the people directly.

  • rate this

    Comment number 76.

    @ 49. Transition_Town_Man
    Fair Point & you'll be pleased to know I do consider myself lucky. Although luck had nothing to do with giving my employer many years of loyal continuous service & electing to contribute 7.5 % superannuation towards my index linked pension over 40 years. You see, I took the view that no one owes me a living - only I am responsible for that - so I worked for it.

  • rate this

    Comment number 75.

    I am paid minimum wage working for a hugely profitable business, if they paid better perhaps I could look forward to retirement instead of dreading it. And yes, I am looking for another job.

  • rate this

    Comment number 74.

    Inheritance tax reductions should be linked to care provided i.e. if the state has to provide the care then why on earth should the 'family' receive an inheritance?

    The problem is that the family want to have their cake and eat it but we can no longer afford to subsidise their responsibilities.

  • rate this

    Comment number 73.

    64, Transition etc
    'Given that...'
    So it's just about envy then.
    Instead of providing for yourself grab what someone else has worked for.
    Just keep whining about how unfair life is instead of doing something.

  • rate this

    Comment number 72.

    While science keeps trying to make people live longer, the problem will only get worse. I can understand the desire to have your relatives around you for longer, but the bigger picture is much more worrying. Diseases are there for a reason.

  • rate this

    Comment number 71.

    Charles himself is is getting older. Maybe he should shoot himself to set a good example.

  • rate this

    Comment number 70.


    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.
    Why? We've paid for our pensions, unlike the unemployed.

    If you're an example of proud black people I'm not proud of you! Disgusted perhaps. Get off your backside and start supporting your parents.

  • rate this

    Comment number 69.

    Substitute black or homosexual for elderly and some of these comments would be liable for consideration for prosecution. Time to identify the elderly with yellow stars?

  • rate this

    Comment number 68.

    If some of the posts on here are anything to go by. besides an ageing population we should also worry about am intellectually deteriorating population.

  • rate this

    Comment number 67.

    Raising the pension age and making people work longer to save on paying pensions denies younger people the chance of employment and a rung on the ladder. Where is the long-term saving? Plenty of kids with no job, no training, no cash and no future.

  • rate this

    Comment number 66.

    Future generations will have shorter life-spans than the current one, due to increasing rate of obesity/diabetes and associated morbidities, lower income (which correlates with lifespan), increasing rates of depression and eventually the NHS will collapse. I don't think we have too much to worry about.

  • rate this

    Comment number 65.

    I was under the impression I had contributed all my working life since the age of 15 even paying the rip off graduated pension toward my pension plus a private pension. Any way I believe IDS has a solution, a private company called Soylent Green, a lovely send off to be recycled and used as fuel and sold back to us by another private company a standing charge for services paid for by the family

  • rate this

    Comment number 64.

    This thing about current pensioners having paid "all their lives into the system" gets my goat.

    What they paid, in real terms, is far less than we're paying now, due to the obvious post war demographic changes.

    Given that pensioners are statistically the richest demographic group, maybe it's time for richer pensioners, who have benefitted enormously, to pay back a little more to society.

  • rate this

    Comment number 63.

    What is really wanted is an education programme that starts in childhood so that young people can understand their body and its functions and can learn how to care for it. Only by caring for it when one is young can there be a sustainable possibility of it continuing to function healthily in old age.

  • rate this

    Comment number 62.

    49, Transition etc. 'They enjoyed...'
    Oh dear, not to mention being born with no nhs and routinely suffering what were then common diseases as children.
    Starting work at 14, or 16 at latest, and working 7.30 to 530 daily.
    No central heating or tv, gas lights.....
    All to provide you today with all the things that you now take for granted and regard as essentials to perpetual adolescence.

  • rate this

    Comment number 61.

    What is also vital is that governments not just here but globally understand the unsustainability of increasing populations combined with diminishing resources.

    Quality of life for all will only degrade if this is not understood.

    Responsible governments would bring this to the attention of their respective electorates.

  • rate this

    Comment number 60.

    @56. Engineer

    Rub it in why don't you? Several members of my family will have to work until they literally drop. They put a lot of money into pensions and savings, but the government saw fit to help themselves to it - leaving them with a pittance and forcing them to work well into old age.


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