Still Kicking: Longevity and Ageing. The demographic climate change of our time.
1.8 million people aged over 85 in 2050. One in four people aged over 65 by 2056. Life expectancy at birth rising by 25 years in the last century. One million people with dementia by 2050. 85,000 more aged care places required in the next decade. Get the picture? None of this is news. We have known about the trends in ageing and longevity for a while now. We are, however, still immersed in a social structure which is designed for lives shorter than the ones we are living. This paper argues that increasing longevity and an ageing society together represent the demographic climate change of our time. We have started to see their effects. Without prompt and considered action on a number of fronts – political, social and economic – we risk a loss to our quality of life. For example, by delaying intervention it may mean that future adjustments to rein in the fiscal impact of ageing need to be done over a shorter period of time, making the impact of these policy measures more keenly felt.