THE BLOG

Let's Show That We Really Celebrate Our Centenarians

01/11/2016 17:28

There were more than half a million people over the age of 90 living in the UK last year and the number of centenarians has increased by 65% over the last decade, according to the Office for National Statistics.

At Anchor, we're proud to have more than 500 of these nonagenarians and centenarians living with us and it is older people like them that we champion. However, it saddens me that, despite increased discussion about our ageing population, many issues that have direct consequences on older people remain unaddressed by the Government

The golden equation for quality of life for older people - good social care, healthcare, and housing - continues to be neglected.

The Care Quality Commission recently declared that adult social care is approaching a tipping point. According to Age UK, the number of older people with unmet needs continues to rise - increasing to more than one million last year - due to drastic year-on-year cuts in local authority funding for care services.

These cuts to social care have direct consequences on the second key component of the equation - health care. A&E departments are currently stretched to their limits. There are more delayed transfers of care than ever, which see older people's recovery tragically slowed down due to unnecessary extended stays in hospital. As Claire Marx, President of the Royal College of Surgeons, rightfully said: with 3.9 million currently on the NHS waiting list, the NHS is on the brink of a "perpetual winter of Narnia".

It saddens me to say that the supply of housing for older people - the third element of the equation - is in a similar state of crisis. At Anchor we have demonstrated that building good quality retirement housing benefits everyone; older people can move into appropriate-sized housing while generation rent can move onto the housing ladder. In turn, the public purse would be £14.5billion better off.

Not only have successive governments failed to unblock the planning system so developers can build more retirement housing for sale. But proposals to limit housing benefit risk reducing the supply of specialist social rented housing for older people too.

As part of the Housing & Ageing Alliance, which has an event coming up soon to discuss these issues, we hope the Government will hear our collective voices.

One of the best parts of my job at Anchor is working with the inspiring, fun and lively generation of older people that prove older age is most certainly a time for living. We should celebrate the fact that, as a nation, we're living longer.

It is time the Government demonstrates how older people are truly valued and start prioritising this important and growing section of society rather than treating them as an afterthought.

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