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UK ‘not ready’ for ageing population – Lords

The Government is woefully underprepared for ageing, a Lords committee on public service and demographic change has concluded.

The steep rise predicted in the elderly population – with a 50% rise expected in the over-65s between 2010 and 2030. We will need a radically different model of care to support people in their own homes, their report stated and calls for Government to publish a White Paper setting out how to prepare for an ageing population.

After the general election, Government should set up two cross-party commissions to work with employers and financial services to ensure people are saving enough for retirement, and to look into how the care system should be funded to serve the needs of a greater proportion of elderly people. These commissions should report within twelve months, the Lords suggest.

Additionally, we must change our view of old age, with Government and employers working to end “cliff-edge” retirement, the committee recommends.

Lord Filkin, chairman of the committee, who recently spoke to PSE about the aims of the inquiry, said: “As a country we are not ready for the rapid ageing of our population.

“The amazing gift of longer life is to be welcomed, but our society and politicians need to address the implications, and the changes needed to attitudes, policies and services so people are best able to benefit from it.

“Health and social care need to be radically reformed; both are failing older people now. A big shift in services is essential so that the many more older people with long-term conditions can be well cared for and supported in their own homes and in the community and not needlessly end up in hospital.

“We need Government to support the choices each of us makes for our longer lives: people must be better informed and enabled to get a better idea of the income they may get in retirement from their pension savings; they should be able to work later if they wish to do so.

“This is not a distant issue; our population is older now and will get more so over the next decade. The public are entitled to an honest conversation about the implications.”

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