Exactly a year ago today the House of Lords Public Service and Demographic Change Committee's report Ready for Ageing concluded the UK was woefully unprepared for our ageing population. Government and our society must be bolder and braver in our response to demographic change. Failing to take this opportunity means that all our lives will be considerably poorer.
While policy progress has been made on pensions and social care we have mostly witnessed a year of 'business as usual', as politicians have collectively failed to respond to the call of the House of Lords to plan for the long term. It is tempting for policy-makers to postpone thinking about ageing in favour of more immediate crises, but in doing this they are overlooking a key challenge for current and future generations.
A failure to plan adequately could see a poorer older population living in increasingly inappropriate housing, lonely and in ill health. We also risk growing intergenerational tensions and the tragic consequences of health and care services failing to meet older people's needs.
On the other hand, our future economic growth is likely to depend on the extent to which we maximise the economic contribution of older people.
Ensuring the UK is Ready for Ageing is not a partisan issue, and in the run up to the 2015 general election all parties must do more to adequately address the challenge. The implications of an ageing society affect all of us and will touch every part of our lives - how we live together, work together and support each other - whatever our age.
Ready for Ageing Alliance Members:
Caroline Abrahams, Charity Director, Age UK;
Jeremy Hughes, Chief Executive, Alzheimer's Society,
Jane Ashcroft, Chief Executive, Anchor,
Heléna Herklots, Chief Executive, Carers UK,
Gilly Crosby, Chief Executive, the Centre for Policy on Ageing,
Janet Morrison, Chief Executive, Independent Age,
Baroness Sally Greengross, Chief Executive, The International Longevity Centre - UK
Julia Unwin, Chief Executive, Joseph Rowntree Foundation