Research shows ageing population in parts of Devon

Image caption, The number of people aged over 50 is due to increase by 2029 research shows

Parts of Devon have some of the biggest populations of the over-50s in England, research commissioned by the BBC has found.

The study, conducted by Experian, found the percentage of people aged over 50 and living in East Devon was 49.2%.

Torridge had the second highest growth rate of 50-year-olds in England at 2.7%, compared to 1% nationally.

The research looked at how areas of England would be affected by an increasing, ageing population.

In East Devon 49.2% of the population is aged over 50, compared to the national average of 34.5%, making it the sixth largest population in England.

But that is predicted to rise to 38.6% nationally by 2029, and to 55.3% in East Devon.

Contact the Elderly, a national charity, which runs tea parties on Sunday afternoons to ensure people have social interaction, said more provisions are needed to cater for an ageing population.

Suzan Hyland who co-ordinates the groups in East Devon, Tiverton and Torquay said: "In Torquay alone we've had people on the waiting list for over two years.

"We definitely need to provide more facilities because people are living longer, people are healthier but the facilities seems to be disappearing rather than appearing."

One project tackling the ageing population is the Abundant Life Project in Dartington which is planning an entire community for the over 55s.

The plans, which are yet to be submitted to South Hams Council, include residential apartments, a library, cafe, and small shops as well as access to health care and support.

Pamela Silkstone said: "By providing accommodation of this kind, we will create an environment where older people can live active, engaging and fulfilling lives, free from isolation and worry about lack of support.

"There is much evidence to show that many older people desire company and are worried about social isolation.

"Providing social opportunities will be as important as properly designed, affordable apartments and the security of accessible healthcare."

Ms Silkstone said the plan was not for a retirement village, but would provide small units for people to run their own businesses from as well as providing employment opportunities, making it a self sufficient community.

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