Call for Guernsey to plan for older population

image captionDr Bridgman said older people wanted more independence

Guernsey's authorities need to do more to meet the needs of the island's growing elderly population, the director of public health has said.

With the number of people aged 85 or more set to triple by 2050, the Bailiwick faces a shortage of working-age islanders needed to support them.

Dr Stephen Bridgman said more services had to be put in place just to maintain current levels of support.

He said: "It's important we help people to stay healthier for longer."

He added: "The first challenge is that the increase in older people means we're going to have to provide more services just to stand still, that's going to have major costs both in recruiting people to carry out those services but also financial cost.

"Some of the challenges we're working on or need to continue to work on include continually trying to improve the efficiency of our services, getting more out of the same resources.

"In social care two thirds of costs are about providing services for those over 65 so it's really a concern about how we plan for it."

He said: "We need to strengthen the way we prioritise based on scientific evidence, as there may be different choices over what services we can afford."

He added that there was also a change in the attitude of older people as surveys have found the biggest concern for them was retaining their independence in their own home.

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