An ageing population


An ageing population

Ageing population- average age of population is getting higher, with a greater proportion of population over retirement age and smaller proportion younger people.

In 1950, 10.8% of population was over 65, increasing to 18% in 2018.

An ageing population increases the dependency ratio- proportion of the population who are dependent and those who are working. 

An ageing population means there are more dependents (not working) than people not working.

This is a concern for the government as fewer people working means lower National Insurance and Tax contributions, whuch fund key public services e.g. NHS and schools.

A fix that the government has put in place is increasing the retirement age, so that people pay into the system for longer.

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Impact on the increased dependency ratio

IMPACT of the increased dependancy ratio:

  • Increase in the pension age- by 2028, it will be 67 for men and women. Living longer means that people need sufficient pension savings to fund a longer retirement.

We will likely see a move to 'active ageing;- people work for longer and postpone retirement.

  • A strain on the NHS- elderly people have a greater need for healthcare and expensive specialist health services e.g. hip replacements.

NHS trusts have the power to choose which drugs/services to offer, they may have to withdraw some due to rising costs and the demands of an ageing population.

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Increasing the pension age

Increasing the pension age

By 2028, the pension age for men and women will be 67.

Living longer means people need sufficient pension savings to fund a longer retirement

We will likely see a move to 'active ageing'- people work for longer and postpone retirement.

IMPACT on families:

  • Less support with childcare- if grandparents are working until they are 67, they will have less time to care for grandchildren.
  • This may put a financial strain on younger family members who will have to pay for expensive childcare e.g. after school clubs.
  • Therefore, resulting in a decline in dual-earner families (both partners work).
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Bedroom Tax (2012)

Bedroom Tax (2012)

  • Council tenants of working age receive less housing benefit if they have a spare bedroom. 
  • An ageing population has increased demand for housing, as older people stay in their homes for longer.
  • The policy aimed to ease housing shortages and free up more homes for families.

IMPACT on families:

Poorest families hit the hardest- poorer families with one 'spare' room stand to lose, on average £11 per week in benefits, forcing families to cut back on essentials such as heating and food.

  • Many don't want to move because it would leave them isolated, cut off from family and friends.
  • Those who've moved into smaller homes, the children will have to share bedrooms.
  • This can have a negative impact on educational achievement e.g. no quiet space to do homework and tiredness at school because younger siblings disturb their sleep.
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Care in the Community (1990)

Care in the Community (1990)

  • The government can't afford to provide residential care for the growing numbers of elderly people.
  • Instead local authorities' means-test care needs, only those on low incomes qualify for limited state-funded services (e.g. meals and transport).
  • Some care has been privatised (pay private companies), which can be expensive e.g. hourly rate for a carer to visit a pensioner at home is £20.

IMPACT on families:

  • Women take on care responsibilities- due to expsneive care, many women care for elderly relatives.
  • This places a great strain on women, as they balamce caring for elderly relatives alongside looking after their own children.
  • Many women are 'sandwich' carers- caring for young children and elderly at the same time.
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IMPACTS of an ageing population on family structur

Increase in beanpole families

Beanpole families are multi-generation extended families. They consist of great grandparents, grandparents, parents and children. 

There are more great grandparents and grandparents due to the increase in life expectancy. 

Few aunts, uncles or cousins due to declining fertility rates.

Beanpole families can be mutually beneficial arrangement e.g. grandparents offer unpaid childcare, in return, the family will care for them in the future.

An ageing population has contributed to rising rents and house prices- older people stay in their homes for longer, resulting in a housing shortage.

Beanpole families can pool their resources across generations, sharing the costs e.g. mortgage, bills, repairs, services etc.

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More one-person households

More one-person households

Increasing number of pensioners live alone; they make up around 14% of all households in UK. 

Most are female, as women generally live longerthan men.

Many are lonely and isolated, as their friends and partners die and suffer from ill health.

Loneliness was made woese in the UK Covid lockdown, as elderly people living alone were cut off from family and friends.

The decline in extended families means that many elderly people have little or no family support.

Younger family members are busy with their own lives or live far away.

This puts further pressure on social care services provided by local authorities e.g. district nurse visits and 'Home Helps'.

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Increase in reconstituted families

Increase in reconsituted families (step families)

Living longer means people are more likely to separate, re-marry and start another family because their life is longer.

In the 20th Century, once people's children had grown up and moved out, people were often in the latter stage of their lives.

Whereas, today people see that there is a lot of life left.

Serial monogamy is common and it's normal to re-marry and perhaps start a new family.

One or both partners in the new family may have children from previous relationships, resulting in a number of step relations and half relations.

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