The challenges of an ageing population


Better public health means that people are living longer. According to HelpAge International, by 2030, people over 60 will outnumber those under 15 - with the fastest growth in the developing world.

Where once people with infectious diseases dominated, there is now a need for public health strategies to focus on non-communicable or chronic diseases (NCDs) - including cancer, diabetes, cardiovascular disease, hypertension, dementia and neurological conditions such as Parkinson's disease.

These are commonly thought of as "diseases of affluence", yet four-fifths of deaths from NCDs are in low- and middle-income countries and older people in developing countries are particularly at risk.

In the UK, Office for National Statistics (ONS) figures in 1914 suggested that millions of people in England are set to die nine years earlier than they should and have their lives affected by ill health prematurely because they are poor.

Health Age International call to action

HealthAge International is campaigning for the World Health Organization not to set age limits on their targets and indicators for measuring progress on NCDs.

They want:

  • All people, regardless of their age, to be included in strategies on detection and diagnosis, prevention, management and treatment
  • The use of discriminatory language and concepts relating to older age in the NCDs debate to be challenged
  • Strategies against NCDs to recognise that including older people in prevention, promotion, management and care strategies will substantially reduce the health costs arising from rapidly ageing populations
  • Diseases prevalent in old age, ranging from blindness to Alzheimer's disease and other dementias to be urgently addressed
  • Governments to ensure the right of older people to primary health care offering prevention, diagnosis and treatment, as well as home and institutional care services.

Use Turn2us services to find support

Being older, having ill health or caring for someone are all situations that can have enormous effects on people's finances in the UK.

Pension reform, influenced by the ageing population, has meant that the age at which many people can claim their state pension has risen - and is likely to increase further. As a result, many people are needing to work for longer but having health problems or caring for someone who does frequently means that staying in or finding a job is impossible. And older people are often also struggling financially because recession and austerity.

Older people, anyone who has an illness, injury or illness and carers are important Turn2us user groups and we have services to help you find the support you need.

The following pages may be helpful to you:

You can check your benefit entitlement using the Turn2us Benefits Calculator or find out whether you are eligible for charitable grant using our Turn2us Grants Search.

If you need advice on your particular situation, we have a Find an Adviser tool to help you find national and local sources of further help.