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Older people a benefit, not a burden to economy and society, UL research says
15th May 2012
University of London
Older people are a benefit, rather than a burden, to the economy and society according to a new report from the UCL School of Pharmacy.
The report, Active Ageing: Live Longer and Prosper (produced with financial support from Alliance Boots) refutes the view that older people are a major source of economic problems such as reduced international competitiveness. It provides evidence that the benefits of living longer will outweigh the additional health and social care costs of population ageing.
“All too often old age is seen as a time of increasing dependency, vulnerability and frailty. But older people already contribute significantly to their families’ and wider communities’ wellbeing,” said Dr Jennifer Gill (UCL School of Pharmacy), co-author of the report.
Life expectancy at 65 has increased by six years since the 1950s. As people live longer they stay healthier, at any given age. Such advances have partly been generated by the pharmaceutical revolution of 1950‐2000. Medicines for conditions such as heart attacks, strokes and diabetes, are now well understood and have already contributed significantly to falling death and disability rates, despite problems such as obesity.
“In future decades, greater participation by people in their 60s and 70s in formal and informal work, alongside additional decreases in the number of life years spent with major disabilities, could increase national productivity by up to 10 per cent of GDP,” said Dr Gill.
People who live in disadvantaged areas have a greater risk of developing cognitive dysfunction than people in better off areas, a study by Professor Helene McNulty and colleagues at the University of Ulster has found.