Age UK’s Charity Director, Caroline Abrahams, sees a time when councils will be ‘conductors of orchestras’ rather than ‘one man bands’.
Increasing longevity means that over the next thirty years the proportion of the population aged over 65 is set to rise from under a quarter to approaching a third. The biggest increase will be among the over 85s whose numbers are expected to more than treble over this period.
Because of the scale of these demographic trends, ensuring the health and wellbeing of the older population is likely to be an even greater concern for councils in 2043 than now. In addition, these trends will have differential impacts locally, so regardless of how successfully central government grips the risks and opportunities of ageing, councils are sure to have a key role in developing and implementing our response.
Technology is likely to be a more prominent feature of how services work in 2043 than it is now but, in the end, for most older people face to face relationships will still matter much more.
Rather than ‘one man bands’ I think and hope that councils will be ‘conductors of orchestras’: demonstrating leadership by bringing diverse people and organisations together, brokering solutions with individuals, families and communities and making the most of all the available local assets, of which older people’s contributions comprise a substantial part.
You might say this is what the best councils are doing already and you’d be right, but I hope that by 2043 every council will be doing it everywhere.
Why no mention of social care in this vision? Because by 2043 I trust that we will have resolved the current crisis and created new ways of working that place social care where it should always be: central to our efforts to support the health and wellbeing of older and disabled people, and resourced accordingly.