Is a greying UK population a time bomb waiting to go off?
A greying population is where as more people are live longer, the average age of the population increases. There are more elderly people. The UK’s population is greying. In 2010 the average population age was 39.9 projected to increase to age 42.2 by 2035. The UK’s population is greying because of the improvement in quality of life. Life expectancy is a lot longer because of things like better healthcare.
10 million people in the UK are over 65 years old. The latest projections are for 5½ million more elderly people in 20 years time and the number will have nearly doubled to around 19 million by 2050. The number of very old people grows even faster. There are currently three million people aged more than 80 years, and this is predicted to almost double by 2030 and reach eight million by 2050. While one in six of the UK population is currently aged 65 and over, by 2050 one in-four will be. The UK will have to face several challenges because of its greying population. One of these is health care. The average NHS spending for retired households is almost double that for non retired households. In 2007/08 the average value of NHS services for retired households was £5,200 compared with £2,800 for non-retired. This is because elderly people are more likely to have health conditions and become ill due to their age. Living longer puts more strain on the body, the elderly aren’t often physically fit so are prone to injury and medical conditions. Also mental conditions like dementia, osteoporosis, arthritis, diabetes and heart disease are common among older people. These all need to be treated by the NHS in order to give them better quality of life, but the more there are the more it will cost the NHS. It is not yet clear on how this extra health care will be funded, taxes may be increased. The Department of Health estimates that the average cost of providing hospital and community health services for a...
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