Abstracts: October 14th, 2014

The Ready For Ageing Alliance has called on the Government to act now to prevent a huge gap in care for the elderly over the next twenty years.

The Ready For Ageing Alliance is made up of representatives from specialist organisations including Age UK, Alzheimer’s Society, Anchor and Carers UK.

The scale of the ageing problem can be summarized in the statistics that by 2030 there will be 51 per cent more people over 65 than today and 101 per cent more over 100.

In March 2013 a cross-party Committee in the House of Lords published a ground breaking report about the UK’s preparedness for an ageing society. The Committee called their report “Ready for Ageing?” and their answer to the question in the title was essentially ‘nowhere near’.

This report sets out the Ready for Ageing Alliance’s recommendations for action so that we can be ready for ageing, organised around a series of key themes.

Unlike most such reports it also includes a section on wha the reader can do to ensure they are ready for ageing too, since demographic change isn’t about ‘them’, it is about ‘us’.

At a top line level, the Ready for Ageing Alliance believes that policymakers must lead the way: and adapt to the future challenges of demographic change. Government must focus on delivering health and social care investment and innovation for today’s and tomorrow’s retirees. There is a need to build more and better homes for people of all ages.

Government must help create the conditions in which individuals can keep making their economic and social contributions into later life. Communities must be able to meet the aspirations of people of all ages and help reduce loneliness and isolation. And age discrimination must stop.

Individuals must be better prepared for ageing. All individuals have a responsibility to ensure that they are ready for ageing. But with that responsibility must come rights. People must have a right to learn, a right to an adequate income and a right not to be discriminated against.

The voluntary sector has a responsibility too. The sector needs to help tackle the challenges of ageing. There must be innovation, challenge and breaking of traditional boundaries. It must help deliver new projects whilst supporting what we know works. It has a responsibility to set a new agenda for ageing.

The Alliance set out what needs to stop or be reversed: a list of current policy and practices that run counter to what needs to be done to prepare for an ageing society. Preventing these ‘own goals’ is arguably the right place to start.

Ken Deary, UK managing director of Right at Home, said: “We completely agree with this report that more provision needs to be put in place now to help ensure that the UK’s ageing population is properly looked after in the years ahead. It’s a fact that our demography is changing significantly and quickly, so it is imperative that this is not ignored. Action is needed now to ensure there is not a huge provision gap in the market. This means there will be substantial demand for high quality care at home services.”