Government bosses have launched an initiative to help older people stay healthy and independent for longer.
A YouGov survey of people aged 40-60 found that 62% worry their physical health will affect their ability to be financially secure, 55% are worried it could impact how physically active they can be and 43% were concerned it could affect the kind of home they could live in when they reach 65.
With that in mind, the Centre for Ageing Better and Public Health England (PHE) have partnered up to create a manifesto that prioritises healthy living in later life.
The initiative, which has been backed by more than 60 leading public and voluntary sector organisations, outlines five aims that PHE England says will help make the government’s ambition for everyone to have five extra years of healthy, independent life by 2035 a reality.
The aims include prioritising prevention, creating opportunities for people to contribute to society as they age, narrowing inequalities, fostering inclusive homes, workplaces and communities, and challenging ageist attitudes.
A spokesman for PHE said the goal is to make England the best country to grow old in the world. The spokesman said:
‘Improved living standards, medical advances and public health initiatives have given many of us longer lives. Someone 65 years old today can expect to live to 85, nearly 10 years longer than their parents’ generation. By 2041, one in 4 people living in the UK, around 20.7 million individuals, will be aged 65 and over. These additional years of life offer great opportunities for us as individuals, for communities, for society, and for the economy.
‘However, not everyone benefits equally from longer lifespans. An accumulation of disadvantages in education, employment and living conditions and variations in social care and health services mean that people in the most deprived circumstances can expect to spend 20 fewer years in good health than those who are better off and live in the least deprived areas of the country.
‘And many of us, wherever we live and whatever our income, may have mental or physical health conditions and functional limitations as we age that we need to manage well to enjoy a high quality of life in later years.
‘Our vision is for England to be the best place in the world to grow older, giving everyone the opportunities and support they need to have a healthy and good quality later life and making the best use of the strengths, skills and experience of older people.’
Leeds City Council is the first local authority to join the initiative. Cllr Rebecca Charlwood, Leeds City Council’s executive member for health, wellbeing and adults and chair of Leeds health and wellbeing board, said:
“I am delighted that Leeds will be a part of this fantastic initiative. As Chair of the Age Friendly Leeds Board, I am passionately committed to making Leeds the best city to grow old in – and this will bring our city one step closer to achieving that ambition.
‘Working with our dedicated partners across the city, from all sectors, I’m proud that the council is already working hard to put the best conditions in place for people to live happy, healthy and fulfilling lives by providing high-quality services.
Joining the consensus statement further demonstrates our commitment to make Leeds a safer, healthier and more accessible place for people as they get older and I can’t wait to see this vital work develop.’
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