GHP April 2016

ghp April 2016 | 21 Health & Social Care Future of Ageing Bleak Without Better Planning The report, ‘Tomorrow’s World: The Future of Ageing in the UK’ describes the future challenges and oppor- tunities posed by an ageing population. The ILC-UK argues that our society is not adequately responding to ageing today: • The social care system is crumbling and health care is failing to incentivise the prevention of ill health; • The housing and planning system is failing to respond to ageing resulting in people living in housing which does not meet their needs; • Individuals are currently underestimating their life expectancy and risking running out of money in retirement. ILC-UK point out that without action today, the picture in 10 years’ time could be much worse. The report pre- dicts that average pensioner incomes will start falling as more people retire with a less generous state pension and without the benefit of final salary pensions. If urgent action is not taken to address the challenges posed by population ageing, ILC-UK presents a future in which health expenditure has increased debt as a proportion of GDP to 180%; more than 1 million addi- tional care workers are required to meet the demand for social care; and millions have failed to save enough ahead of retirement. ILC-UK predicts that: • Without action to better support more disadvan- taged social groups and communities, the gap in life expectancy between the wealthy and the poor will continue to increase; • Without action to address the current funding and workforce shortages in health and social care, the future needs of our ageing population are unlikely to be met; • Without action to better highlight how long people are likely to live, and the measures that they need to take to ensure financial security later in old age, even wealthier older adults may experience financial difficulties in later life; • Without action to encourage and facilitate longer working lives we will see a future drop in the UK’s employment rate and reductions in overall productivity; • Without action to build more houses, and houses which are adapted to the needs of older people, the housing shortage will continue. The report proposes 10 long-term indicators of pro- gress. ILC-UK plan to report against these indicators at their next Future of Ageing Conference on November 9th 2016. 1. Health must find a way to be more responsive and preventative; 2. Government must make progress in delivering a long term settlement to pay for social care; 3. Savings levels for working age adults must in- crease; 4. Average age of exit from the workforce should rise; 5. The number and type of homes built should be increasingly appropriate for our ageing society; 6. Government should make progress in facilitating greater risk sharing in accumulation and decumu- lation of retirement income; 7. We must have a more informed older consumer; 8. Our aspirations for retirement must be about much more than us spending more hours watch- ing television; 9. Businesses should better respond to ageing; 10. We must strengthen the social contract between young and old A recent report by the International Longevity Centre – UK (ILC- UK) argues that our ageing society offers significant social and economic opportunities but only if policymakers plan better for the long term.