Older People

As the population ages the health and well being of older people and the provision of services to meet their needs becomes increasingly important. There is no agreed definition of older or old people and people differ widely in what they consider to be old. Members of each age band are a very heterogeneous group and age is a very unreliable indicator of state of health or mental or physical capacity of any individual.

However it is also true that the probability of death or of suffering a wide range of health problems and limitations of function increase with increasing age. Any grouping into age band is arbitrary but in order to plan services it is helpful to consider the needs of the different age groups within the population.

The commonest causes of death in those aged 75 years and over are Heart disease, Stroke, Cancer, respiratory disease and Gastro-intestinal disease.

Images from the NHS Photo Library

WMPHO publications

  • Data for figures in APHO Indications of Public health in the English Regions: Older people
    Figures with supporting data from the "Indications of Public Health in the English Regions 9: Older People" report.
    Items: 12
  • Rich in Experience and Years: Issues of Ageing for the West Midlands
    Demographic change has already made a big difference to the West Midlands Region and will be even more significant in the future. This short report seeks to identify the implications of these changes for our region. It aims to highlight the areas where signatories of the West Midlands Regional Assembly Concordat should be proactive to develop policies that address the challenges and opportunities of the population as it will be in 2020 rather than as it was in 1980.
  • Indications of Public Health in the English Regions 9: Older People
    This Indications of Public Health in the English Regions report on older people aims to describe the health and quality of life of older people living in Britain. By looking at their demography, mortality and morbidity, physical and mental functionality, quality of life, lifestyle, and services used it seeks to identify areas of concern which can be rectified and to lay down a baseline against which future progress may be judged. The main focus of the report is on England but the final chapter reviews the position in Wales, Scotland, Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland.

  • Community Health Profiles: Hip fracture in over-65s
    Health Profiles provide a snapshot of health for each local council in England using key health indicators, which enables comparison locally, regionally and over time.
    The main indicator that is relevant to older people is the "Hip fracture in over-65s".
  • Opportunity Age Indicators: 2008 Update
    Opportunity Age was published in 2005 with the aim to end the perception of older people as dependent; ensure that longer life is healthy and fulfilling; and that older people are full participants in society. Thirty-three indicators were used to monitor older people’s well-being and independence, with the aim of measuring improvements in overall quality of life.
    The following document provides an overall summary of the results as well as a discussion of the latest data and trends over time where possible. The discussion will be broken up in to the five domains identified in the original Opportunity Age report: Independence in Supportive Communities; Healthy Active Living; Fairness in Work and Later Life; Material Well-Being; and, Support and Care. An overall measure of subjective well-being is also included to provide a general picture of older people’s quality of life.
Publication and policy documents from DH and elsewhere

  • Building a society for all ages
    This strategy sets out the governments vision for a “society for all ages” – a society with individuals, families, communities, business, government and government organisations all working together to help older people live longer healthier more active lives.
  • National service framework (NSF) for older people
    A National Service Framework for Older People has been established to look at the problems older people face in receiving care in order to deliver higher quality services. The key standards that underpin the Framework are outlined. These include plans to eradicate age discrimination and to support person-centred care with newly integrated services. A new layer of intermediate care is being developed at home or in care settings, while general hospital care should be delivered by the appropriate hospital staff. The NHS is also to take action on stroke prevention, in the promotion of health and active life and a reduction in the number of falls for older people. Integrated mental health services are to be provided for older people. The process of translating these nationally supported standards into local delivery is outlined.
Links to important organisation(s)

  • Age UK
    Age Concern and Help the Aged are now Age UK. The UK's largest charity working with and for older people.