Middle-aged Britons facing miserable retirement

15 February 2012
Millions of British people in their late 40s and 50s are facing a miserable retirement living in poor health for longer, residing in unsuitable housing and dying without adequate care and support, according to a new report out today by the National Council for Palliative Care (NCPC) and the National Care Forum (NCF).

The report, ‘A 2030 vision: building communities and environments to support people to live well and die well’ warns that urgent action is needed to deal with demographic and social changes, including an increase in the number of people aged 60 and over of over 5 million by 2030 to 19.9 million, more people living longer with chronic life-limiting conditions, growing numbers of people living alone and planned increases to the state pension age.

Amongst the report’s recommendations are proposals for the creation of a long-term government vision for older people and greater partnership and innovative working across health, social care and housing. The report also calls for more open discussion about getting older and dying within society, help for people to plan for the cost of later life, building homes that are capable of being adapted as people get older, new innovative models of housing and support, a better understanding of older people’s needs, work to combat social isolation of older people and better use of new technology to support older people to live independently.

Speaking today, Eve Richardson, Chief Executive of the National Council for Palliative Care said:

“Urgent action is needed to prevent a whole generation of middle-aged people having their retirement blighted by poor care and support, ill-health and unsuitable housing at vast expense to the taxpayer. As a first step the recommendations of the Dilnot Commission and the Palliative Care Funding Review should be implemented, but this must also be accompanied by a long-term vision for 2030 and beyond spanning health, social care and housing to ensure growing older in Britain does not become something to be dreaded but something to be enjoyed and embraced.”

The report by the National Council for Palliative Care and the National Care Forum comes just days after the Health Select Committee’s report on Social Care, which warned that older people are being led down by fragmented care services and which called on Government to accept the recommendations of the Dilnot report on funding of adult social care.

Des Kelly, Executive Director of the National Care Forum said:

“The fact we are living longer than ever before is something to celebrate. However longer life brings with it the need for more planning – both for individuals and for organisations that offer care and support services. It is self-evident that joining up housing, care and health services brings better outcomes for people. It is vital that the highly anticipated adult social care White Paper brings forward practical steps to encourage greater cooperation and the integration of provision.”

David Hughes, Senior Partner at Pozzoni Architects added:

“The scale and proportion of the UK’s population that is older and increasingly frail is growing rapidly. We fret about sufficient and proper school places for our current ‘baby boom’ but we must show that our society is also respectful of our older members. Pockets of passion and knowledge exist here and abroad to enable consensus in good housing design for our frailer relatives and friends. Allied to recent initiatives such as the Housing our Ageing Population: Panel for Innovation (HAPPI) Report, the 2030 vision can ensure a consistency of approach to housing for the elderly and dying to illustrate the maturity of our society.”

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