Claire Turner is Head of the Ageing Society Research Team at the Joseph Rowntree Foundation. She is interested in what an ageing society means for all of us.
All blogs are the views of the author, and do not necessarily reflect the views of Independent Age.
The case for thinking and acting differently is clear, the demographic make up of our population is changing and these trends are set to continue. The implications of an ageing society affect all of us, across generations and will touch every part of our lives – how we live together, work together and support each other - whatever our age.
No one radical solution is going to provide a silver bullet to make the most of the opportunity and respond to the challenges of our ageing society. But the single most important innovation we can focus on is changing our attitudes towards ageing. So what might this mean for Government, for our communities, for individuals?
Government – take the long view
It’s tempting for policymakers to postpone thinking about ageing in favour of more immediate crises. So far UK governments have failed to look beyond health, social care and pensions and to think big and bold about how to address the implications of an ageing population. It is time for a long term, cross-governmental strategy which attempts to age proof the UK.
Communities – look beyond services
We need to look beyond services for ideas and solutions for a good old age. This involves widening choices for care and support beyond the traditional offer. Public services are important but too often they are ill equipped to help people enjoy the ordinary and the everyday things that matter to them most. This means looking for creative solutions in people, neighbourhoods and communities as well as services. It means involving a ‘new frontline’ which could include the bus driver, hairdresser, shopkeeper, cinema manager, café owner.
Individuals – think and talk about ageing
We must start thinking and talking more about ageing. It is all too easy to ignore, to dismiss because it is too depressing, too difficult or too far away. We need to reimagine our longer lives and what a good later life could be like and take steps across the life course to make it happen. It can be hard to look ahead, particularly in times of austerity, but preparedness for ageing begins with shifting our own attitudes.
What do you think needs to happen to make the UK the best country to grow older in?
What concerns you most about growing older and why?
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