Preventing ill health key in unlocking longevity dividend

Preventing ill health key in unlocking longevity dividend

Experts are coming together to discuss importance of preventative health care in preventing ill health to ensure population ageing is a boost for UK plc.

A new report, Maximising the longevity dividend will be launched at the ILC’s conference tomorrow which highlights the increasingly significant contribution of older people to productivity. It will reveal that by 2040, the earned income generated by people aged 50 and over may account for 40% of total earnings – up from 23% in 2004 and 30% in 2018. Moreover, by 2028, more people aged 60 and over may work part-time than any other age group except for people aged under 30.

However, previous ILC research revealed that about 1 million of the 11.5 million people in the UK aged 50-64 are currently economically inactive due to involuntary labour market exits, largely resulting from health and care needs or caring responsibilities.

In 2017 alone, in better off countries 27.1 million years were lived with disability due to largely preventable disease, and this number is projected to increase by 17% within the next 25 years, according to ILC research.

At the ILC’s Future of Ageing conference on 5 December, key thought leaders Professor David Bloom from the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health and Shirley Cramer CBE, Chief Executive of the Royal Society of Public Health will discuss how society could reap a longevity dividend by investing in preventative health interventions, including early screening, vaccinations, preventative medicine and support with long-term conditions.

Prof David Bloom, Professor, Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health will argue: “The prospect of a longevity dividend is attractive but will not come to pass without an integrated set of policy, technological, and behavioural adaptions. Prominent among these will be increased attention to strategies aimed at preventing the onset or progression of disease.”

Shirley Cramer CBE, Chief Executive of the Royal Society of Public Health will argue: “Too often the story we tell ourselves about the UK’s ageing population descends into catastrophe rhetoric – witness the so-called ‘silver tsunami’ and ‘cliff-edge retirement’.  We have got this the wrong way around: in fact, it is only by capitalising on the positive opportunities presented by an ageing population that we can address some of the key challenges of the 21st century.”

“Government, employers, families and local communities must all play their part if we are to support those entering and living through later life to be healthy, skilled and active members of society. For such a longevity strategy to succeed, it is clear that prevention must be at the absolute heart.”

Also speaking at the conference, Dr Susan Thomas, EY will argue: “In order to maximise the value of living longer we need businesses and governments to create incentives that enable the shift from reactive disease management to proactive disease prevention.”

“Society needs to embrace new technologies and approaches that can shift the cost trajectory of ageing — and realise the value of health as a long-term societal asset, not just a near-term cost.”

ILC Chief Executive Baroness Sally Greengross OBE will conclude: “Longevity is one of our greatest success stories. However, for too many, poor health continues to be a barrier to working, spending and participating in society in later life.”

“If we are to realise the benefits that longer lives can bring, governments and health systems need an ambitious agenda to support people to keep active, productive and engaged for longer. Without proper governmental support and action, longevity could impose a huge economic burden. We have the agency to transform this challenge into an opportunity.”