An ageing population is when the demographic of a country shifts so that the proportion of ‘older people is higher than it has been previously. In the UK, people are living longer than ever before. This means that the aged population is steadily increasing, with more people reaching and living well beyond the age of 65.
An increase in the ratio of older to younger people has a bigger impact than you might think – in fact, it can cause:
- An increased dependency ratio – The dependency ratio is worked out based on the number of dependents vs. the working population. In terms of age, anyone over 64 or under 15 counts as a dependent.
- Slower economic growth – As time goes on, an older dependent population means more people leaving the workforce, with not as many younger people there to replace them. This can cause an imbalance in the structures we have in place, leading to slower economic growth.
- Pressure on health and social services – As people age, they often naturally need more care from healthcare services due to age-related illnesses/diseases and an increased chance of having accidents. Common conditions amongst over 65s include dementia, incontinence, eye problems, hearing loss and diabetes. Services could be strained by a growth in demand for healthcare to treat illnesses and injuries, but this depends on the general health of the population as they age.
If you’d like to gain a better understanding of what the ageing population is, and what it means for the future of healthcare, our lifestyles, and society in general, please take a look at our infographic below.