Older people (health and wellbeing needs in South Tyneside)
This refresh of the older peoples JSNAA (2024), builds on the previous version undertaken in 2016, explaining why the population is ageing and why this matters.
Whilst for some, ageing can be a heathy and fulfilling time, for others who are at increased at risk this can be a very difficult period in their life.
This refresh builds on the age friendly community's approach. An age-friendly community is a place that allows people to age well and live a good later life. Somewhere that people can stay living in their homes, participate in the activities they value, and contribute to their communities, for as long as possible.
When does old age begin?
- In the UK, 65 years of age has traditionally been taken as the marker for the start of older age, most likely because it was the official retirement age for men and the age at which they could draw their State Pension.
- However, this is no longer the case. In March 2023, it was confirmed that the State Pension age would rise to 67 years as planned between 2026 to 2028 and that a review within two years of the next Parliament will reconsider a rise to age 68 years.
- Generally, people are also living longer healthier lives than they traditionally were. In 2018, a man aged 65 could expect to live for another 18.6 years, while a woman could expect to live for 21 more years. So, on average, at age 65 years, women still have a quarter of their lives left to live and men just over one fifth.
- In terms of employment, whilst there is no formal definition of an 'older worker'. The term is commonly used to refer to those over 50 years of age. Many organisations will therefore include those over 50 as being eligible for their services or when referring to their staff.
What is population ageing?
- At a population level, ageing is measured by an increase in the number and proportion of those aged 65 years and over, and an increase in median age (the age at which half the population is younger and half older).
- On both measures, the population has aged and is projected to continue to age. In 2018, there were 11.9 million residents in Great Britain aged 65 years and over, representing 18% of the total population. This compared with the middle of the 20th century (1950) when there were 5.3 million people of this age, accounting for 10.8% of the population.
- Looking ahead to the middle of this century, there are projected to be 17.7 million people aged 65 years and over (24.8% of the population). The oldest old are the fastest-growing age group, with the numbers of those aged 85 years and over projected to double from 1.6 million in 2018 to 3.6 million by 2050 (5% of the population). 
Why does an ageing population matter?
- Measuring population ageing is important because it has multiple economic, public service and societal impacts. It brings challenges but also opportunities.
- From an economic and societal point of view, people can continue to contribute for longer. Either by longer working lives, volunteering, and possibly providing care for family members. For individuals it might mean the opportunity to spend more time with family and friends and to pursue personal interests with more time for leisure activities.
- When considering the challenges, more older people mean increased demand for health and adult social services and increased public spending on State Pensions. The key to shifting the balance from challenge towards opportunity, both at a societal level and at an individual level, is for older people to be able to live healthy lives for as long as possible.
Contribution of older people
- In 2017 the economic value of the employment, informal care, informal childcare, and volunteering of people aged 50+ in the UK amounted to £796 billion a year.