The Care Crisis
Advances in medicine, diet and improved access to good health advice mean we’re now living in a world where, for the first time, people over the age of 65 now outnumber those under 16 and where the fastest growing social group is aged over 85.
But the advances that help us live longer don’t mean we won’t continue to suffer with age-related conditions – in fact, the truth is older people will simply live longer with those conditions, generating greater demand for permanent residential care, rather than less.
This already volatile situation is made more uncertain as the Baby Boomers who represent the spike in Britain’s birth rate begin to retire and the number of people of working age continues to reduce proportionally. Where now there are 4 people in work to every retiree, there will be just 2.5 in the next 20 years and, not long after that, this number will fall to 2.
This widening of what’s known as the dependency ratio, together with a projected sharp increase in diagnoses of long-term conditions requiring long-term care, such as dementia, multiple sclerosis and those affecting mobility, creates even greater pressure on a social care system that is already struggling to cope.