Timebomb of our ageing population

A TIMEBOMB is ticking in Suffolk today - the growing problem of the county's rapidly aging population.

A TIMEBOMB is ticking in Suffolk today - the growing problem of the county's rapidly aging population.

Suffolk already has a disproportionately high number of elderly people and shocking statistics show the numbers will continue to rise dramatically.

The increase is worrying experts in health and social services because the population trend will also see a large increase in the cost of caring for older people.

The statistics show:

The number of people living in Suffolk aged 65 and over will increase by an estimated 49 per cent by 2021

Those aged 85 and over will rise by 90 pc

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The number of people with dementia is set to rise by 62 pc by 2028

Within 20 years half the population will be over 50

One in four children born today will live beyond 100, whereas 50 years ago only one in ten would reach the landmark.

All the figures point to a series of headaches for county chiefs trying to plan services, especially now the public sector has been warned that it will need to slash its budgets as a result of the recession.

Daphne Savage, chief executive of Age Concern Suffolk, said: “It shouldn't have been a shock. We've been reading the census figures for a long time and we've know this was going to happen for ages. But there hasn't been enough done to prepare.

“People move to Suffolk to retire because it is a nice place to live, so Suffolk has a larger proportion of older people than the national average.

“Whatever the problems are nationally, we will have more of them in Suffolk.

“The key aspect is health promotion because if we keep people well and active they are not such a demand on resources of healthcare of social care and they contribute in the community.

“We need a much bigger investment in good quality preventative services and a real investment in care services.

“In a civilised society we should be ensuring that every older person can get a decent quality of care with some dignity.”

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