PPL Perspectives

The State of Ageing in 2019

11 April 2019

Ellie Tobin, Junior Analyst

One mission of the Industrial Strategy Grand Challenges was to ensure that people can enjoy at least 5 extra healthy, independent years of life by 2035, while narrowing the gap between the experience of the richest and the poorest. For those wanting to rise to challenge, the Centre for Ageing Better’s “The State of Ageing in 2019: Adding life to our years” provides an excellent baseline of where we are today. It details the current state of later lives in the UK today, spanning work and finances, health, housing, communities, and what needs to change.

With so much demand on health and care services already it is easy to be consumed by the immediate pressures facing services today. What the Centre challenges us to do is think about how to make making lasting changes for those approaching later life who are at risk of missing out on happy, healthy, and disability-free lives if we don’t act now.

Full of clear statistics and interesting graphics to illustrate evidence of health and wellbeing inequalities across the country, most notably between geographical areas, age groups, and between different social strata, this report shows why ‘ageing better’ cannot exist in a vacuum. People’s socioeconomic situation has a notable impact on their likelihood to age ‘well’, or indeed, to age ‘better’. It is vital that any changes put in place to help combat the issues currently facing the UK’s ageing population simultaneously tackle the vast inequalities of health and wellbeing between different groups in society.

At the end of each section of the report, there are helpful suggestions of “what needs to change?”, with excellent idea steers for future plans. From our work we know that there are many best practice examples from around the UK -or indeed from other countries- of programmes on various scales that are helping older people to age better, such as some of the good work that The Centre for Ageing Better is already doing across the UK. The challenge we see is how the principles and practices that underpin these good practice examples can become more wide spread and how the Centre can help provide direction in helping turn information, insight and ideas into coherent, collaborative systems that help everyone age better.

This is recommended reading for those working across place-based population health management planning, especially the conclusion that “there is much to gain if we take action now but also much to lose if we fail”.

Download the full report here: https://www.ageing-better.org.uk/publications/state-of-ageing-2019.