Living Longer and the Impact on the Care System

After a recent parliamentary inquiry, details surrounding the currently ageing population and it’s very possible and likely effects on the care system and social services have emerged. The current system would mostly likely be unable to cope with the demands made on the system as the population of citizens over the age of 65 is increasing exponentially. Not only are the ageing population living longer but they are also leading less healthy lives. This means that not only does the system have to support increasing numbers but it also has to support a heightened number of consumers who have not lived healthy lives and will most likely need far more care and services.  The impact of less healthy lifestyles on the healthcare system may prove detrimental as the system struggles to support the services needed by an increasing population.


Growing Number of Citizens over Age 65

Because of the rapid growth in the part of society currently above the retirement age, the NHS, public spending, and the social care system could come under dramatic pressure and subsequently may need reforms and changes to support the increasing population. Half of those who were born after the year 2007 can expect to live past the age of 100. During the years between 2010 and 2030, the population of people over the age of 85 will double, with the number of people over the age of 65 is expected to increase by 51%.


Living Unhealthier Lives

Not only are citizens living longer lives, but they are doing so in a much more inhealthy way. This means that the system will come under pressure not only because the population of those needing services is continuously and rapidly growing but also because the services needed maybe me more intensive and more frequent.

Even though the UK has improved life expectancy by 4.2 years, that number lags far behind other countries that have improved their life expectancies much quicker. Spain, Australia, and Italy all heave healthier and longer life expectancies. There has been much speculation as to why this is the case. What has been determined is that it is actually the way in which UK residents live their lives that may be holding back an increase in their life expectancy. The diet, as well as the smoking and drinking habits of its citizens are what may very well be holding back the progress of the UK. The leading causes of death in the UK have changed very little, if at all, over the course of the last two decades. It remains that heart disease, stroke, lung cancer, lower respiratory infections, and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease are in the top five killers of UK citizens. Smoking is the biggest risk factor of all of these diseases. These diseased create an even bigger impact on the care system.


Care System

The increased life expectancy partnered with the continued unhealthy lifestyles of those living in the UK is what has been putting an increased pressure and impact on the care system. And it is expected that this pressure will continue. That is because not only is the system supporting more citizens, but it also challenged with supporting and providing more tests, more surgeries, and more long term care. The diseases and conditions that are killing those living in the UK, especially the top five killers listed above, are those that require the most care. This means that citizens are being forced to fund long term care or are depending on their local authorities or the NHS to support their needed residential or in-home long term care. Pressure is being placed on citizens while also creating an impact on the care system.