DAVID Cameron will need to take bolder steps than any previous Prime Minister to deal with the rapidly ageing population, a group of charities said today.
In a letter to the Prime Minister, the charity Independent Age, backed by 15 other organisations, called on Government to deliver on its promise of security and dignity for people in retirement.
It said Mr Cameron must set an ambitious agenda to help all generations get ready for ageing, including addressing the threats of loneliness, inadequate housing and tackling a lack of proper care and support among growing numbers of older and frail people in society. By the end of this parliament one in five people in the UK will be over 65.
The letter also called on the Government to address the concerns of older people in getting the necessary support to remain well and independent at home in the face of “stretched” care services. 360,000 fewer older people received care and support from their council between 2008 and 2013, the letter said.
Chief executive of Independent Age, Janet Morrison, said: “The actions of the Prime Minister now will help determine the extent to which current and future generations really have security and dignity in retirement. With one week to go until the Queen’s Speech, crucial decisions are needed on health, social care, housing and other areas. Clarity on these will encourage people to consider how they plan to fund and experience their older age and take responsibility for their own health and wellbeing as they grow older.”
In February, Mr Cameron added his support to The Yorkshire Post’s Loneliness: The Hidden Epidemic campaign, saying loneliness would only become “more of an issue” in the face of the ageing population and calling on society “to step up and do more ”.
The letter was co-signed by Laura Alcock-Ferguson, director for the Campaign to End Loneliness, partners in The Yorkshire Post’s campaign, which is calling for loneliness to be universally recognised as a health care priority. It affects more than 92,000 people in Yorkshire.
Ms Alcock-Ferguson said: “We know that loneliness and isolation in older age increases the risk of serious health conditions including dementia, high blood pressure and depression. This is why we are urging the Prime Minister and the new Government to ensure they act to prevent older people from chronic loneliness, felt by 800,000 people in England.”