Friday, 11th March 2011
UK: The Ageing Population
Currently, 16% of the population is over the age of 65. with 19% under the age of 16. By 2034, these figures are set to change, with 23% of the population projected to be over the age of 65 and just 18% under the age of 16. The fastest growing age group is projected to be those over the age of 85 (also known as the ‘oldest old’). Currently there are 1.4 million, but this is forecast to increase to 3.5 million by 2034.
An ageing population will lead to an increase in such illnesses as dementia and diabetes. In the UK today, 700,000 people are affected by dementia. This number is expected to double within a generation. Dementia currently costs the UK economy £20 billion per annum and a 2008 King’s Fund study projected a rise to £50 billion by 2038. There are 2.6 million people in the UK with Type 2 diabetes and this is expected to increase to 4 million by 2025. The costs of diabetes are high because of associated complications such as heart disease, stroke, visual impairment , kidney diease, nerve damage and amputations...
Engineering underpins many of the actions required to improve the quality of life of older people, including medical, social and infrastructure needs. As well as enabling advances in medical technology, engineers are helping to provide a clear vision for building homes and communities with the ageing society in mind. They are also actively working to improve the transport infrastructure so that independence and socio-economic activity can be enhanced in old age.
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By Adrian Janes
Having begun his career in academic libraries, Adrian Janes is currently an Information Services Librarian with the London Borough of Havering.
In this role, he has particular responsibility for information from both the UK Government and the European Union. He wrote a detailed report on sources for the latter which was published by Free Pint Ltd. in 2007. He is also involved in training and publicising online reference resources and is a regular contributor to DocuTicker.
Adrian can be reached at email@example.com
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