Since 2002, the number of people over the age of 105 has more than doubled. What’s more, there are five times more women than men of this age range – 690 women and 130 men. More than 400,000 women in the UK today are age 90 and over, compared with 183,000 men. Although we are all living longer, we must also think about how we carry on living well. This is about much more than just reaching a certain number.
While the ageing population is growing exponentially, economics still play a major role in determining your life expectancy and the quality of your later life. That is because in poorer areas of the country, according to the Centre for Aging Better, life expectancy remains lower overall. Shockingly, in 2016, the average life expectancy for women from the UK’s poorest areas was 79, while women from the UK’s most affluent postcodes had an average life expectancy of 87 years old – a difference of eight years. According to The Week, in 2001, the gap stood at six years – so the problem only appears to be getting worse.
The chances are that many more people will live increasingly longer lives – though this will naturally put pressure on the NHS. 2.8 million people over 65 will need nursing and social care by 2025 – largely because of a significant rise in dementia-related disability.
However, the healthcare crisis should not be a barrier to a full and happy life. Remaining socially connected, in thriving communities can help to alleviate the effects of loneliness, isolation and decline of physical and mental health.
Housing can play a big part in creating communities, but also in providing age-appropriate environments. Unsuitable housing not only impacts individual wellbeing, it also costs the NHS around £624 million for first-year treatment costs, mainly due to excess cold hazards and falls. At Guild Living, we believe that we can radically improve the way we age, and revolutionise later living – to the benefit of all.