Over the next 10 to 15 years the UK will experience an unprecedented change in the fabric of its society. As life expectancy increases, the proportion of the population aged over 50 will increase dramatically, eg in 2009, 17.7 million people were aged 50 or over – by 2029 this is predicted to increase to 22.9 million, around 40 per cent of the population of England.
An ageing society is all too often – and wrongly – seen solely in terms of increasing dependency. But the reality is that as the numbers of older people rise, society will be increasingly dependent on the contributions they can make. Many of today’s older people are already challenging age-old preconceptions:
• they are healthier
• they are breaking with the notion that old age and poverty are synonymous – pensioners are no longer any more likely to be poorer than younger people
• they are making a valuable contribution to our economy and society.
Local Government Association, August 2012