Gateshead and South Tyneside over 50s 'vulnerable'
- 7 November 2010
- From the section Tyne & Wear
People aged over 50 living in Gateshead and South Tyneside are among the most "vulnerable" in the UK, BBC-commisioned research has found.
More than a quarter in Gateshead - 27% - have health problems, are socially isolated and living on very little money, the Experian research found.
But the research was not all bad news for the North East.
More people in Northumberland than anywhere else in the UK - 96% - were "satisfied" with their home care.
Gateshead is ranked 12th worst in the UK for vulnerable older people in the UK, according to the research.
The figure for South Tyneside was only slightly better at 25.6% - a ranking of 16th worst in the UK.
Northumberland is likely to have one of the biggest concentrations of over-50s in England by 2029 - 48.4% of the total population, the research also found.
Simon Reed, Northumberland Council's executive member responsible for adult care, said: "We are very conscious that Northumberland is greying faster than most of England.
"We need to take a balanced view of this - there are many very positive aspects of this change.
"For instance we estimate that there are now up to 70,000 'third agers' in the county - people who have retired from work, and are still in good or reasonable health, and often - though not always - have enough money to live in the way they want to.
"Older people contribute hugely to the quality of life in the county - running voluntary organisations and looking after family members."
But he said thousands in the county still needed social and health care, but no longer wanted the traditional day care centre.
Mr Reed added: "Another key step we have taken is to integrate social services for older people as closely as possible with related health services.
"Early in the last decade, we created a 'Care Trust'- an NHS organisation which runs adult social services under an arrangement with the Council.
"We are now making plans to develop a new partnership with the NHS Foundation Trust which runs the local hospital services.
"This will mean we can pool our resources to make sure that older people who have just had a serious illness or accident are given the best possible support to rebuild their lives."