Ageing Well: Older People

The focus of prevention in older age groups is around healthy active ageing and supporting independence so older people area able to enjoy long and healthy lives, feeling safe at home and connected to their community. As with life expectancy at birth, variations also exist across Devon for life expectancy at the age 65, with 65 year olds in the least deprived areas (21.8 years) likely to live 3.4 years longer than those in the most deprived areas (18.4 years). An older population structure and stronger population growth in Devon mean that current and future demand for health and care services in Devon are likely to be greater than those seen nationally. Levels of frailty, accidental falls, visual impairment and dementia are higher than the national average and future growth will be greater. Similarly demand for general health and care services will also increase accordingly. Due to higher living costs and lower average household incomes, fuel poverty in Devon is higher than similar local authorities nationally, and particularly affects older age groups.  The provision of unpaid care also has a major impact on older people, with those who are caring for 50 or more hours per week likely to experience more rapid deterioration in their own health as they get older.

The following section aims to identify topics that are of particular concern to older people. As identified in chapter four, Devon is expected to experience the greatest population growth in the older age groups. There are around 181,600 people aged between 65 and over in Devon, of which around 15,600 are supported in social care (2013-14 RAP return).