Marmot recommendations: D - "Ensure a healthy standard of living for all" ; E - "Create and develop healthy sustainable places and communities"
The United Nations Population Fund (2012) describes the ageing population as both a celebration and a challenge; stating that ‘ageing is a triumph of development. Increasing longevity is one of humanity’s greatest achievements.’
In Southampton, as nationally, average life expectancy is increasing and as a consequence more people are living longer. The fastest growing sector of the population is that aged 65 years and over. Forecasts made using known residential development plans predict the over 65s will rise by 11% between 2011 and 2018 whilst the number of people over 85 years is forecast to grow from 5,300 to 6,000, an increase of 13%. Longer term projections, based on past trends, predict a 42% increase in over 65’s in Southampton between 2010 and 2035 with the number of res idents in the city aged over 85 reaching 10,000 by 2035.
The increasing proportion of older people creates challenges for individuals and policy makers alike. On the one hand we can expect to live longer than ever before but the number of years with a limiting illness or disability has also been increasing. This is creating pressures on social care resources and other public services. Medical advances are meaning people who previously might have died at a young age are living longer, often into adulthood, but frequently with long-term conditions and needs which require support to help them live as independently as possible. Like wise, with old age being extended, demands for social care and support are increasing.
However, we must be clear that ageing is not a burden and it does not necessarily decrease a person’s ability to contribute to society especially if an asset-based approach is adopted. In Southampton ‘opportunities for good health need to be optimised so that older people can take an active part in society and enjoy an independent and high quality life’ .
Each year about 460,000 people die in England and around 1,790 residents in Southampton (3 year average). End of life care is about enabling people to live their life to the end with dignity and having their choices respected. Not all people will be able to plan for their death, but for a majority of people planned end of life care has enabled them to expe rience a peaceful and dignified death.
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