Five ways to help lives of our ageing population
I am urging people to seriously start to consider the future, no matter what age they are. It's time to future-proof your life.
When do we begin to think of someone as old? Policy changes implemented since the mid-1990s mean the eligibility for men and women will be 68 in the mid-2030s, and 69 in the late-2040s.
Northern Ireland has the fastest-growing population in the UK and, at the same time, life-expectancy here is also increasing.
Currently, 15% of the population is over 65. Estimates suggest that, between 2010 and 2025, the number of elderly people aged over 65 years is expected to increase to around 40%, and the number of very elderly (people aged over 85) is expected to almost double.
Ukip wants five simple policies for this older society:
- No more repossessing homes to pay for carer costs;
- Increased care in the home;
- More public nursing homes available when care in the home is not possible;
- Reduced prices in private nursing homes;
- A bigger say for families.
We need to think how this will impact on our lives. The Baby Boomer generation faces a huge challenge caring for elderly parents while not being given the time to save for their own care, which could be anything up to £40,000 a year.
Many are still living with the effects of past high interest rates, and 28% of 55- to 64-year-olds have no private pension.
The current legislation governing adult social care is outdated (with laws dating back to 1978) and fragmented.
Older people are being treated more differently in legislative terms than any other service-user group.
I believe that we should remove the cost of providing care for the elderly, emulating the successful Scottish model. It should not be a crime or a punishment to grow old.
Ukip is thinking about the future and urging you to future-proof your life today.
David McNarry MLA is leader of Ukip in Northern Ireland