I will try my best to attend Age UK’s summer reception, Parliamentary business permitting, to learn about the state of health and care for older people in 2023.
My ministerial colleagues and I are aware that it is becoming more common for people to spend their later years with multiple health conditions. The percentage of people aged over 65 years old with two or more health conditions is projected to increase from 54 per cent in 2015 to 68 per cent in 2035.
In light of this, the Government works to support the health needs of, and prevent ill health in, older people through a variety of actions. This includes the NHS Health Check, which detects people at risk of developing cardiovascular disease in later life, and an ambitious prevention agenda to tackle the most common preventable diseases among older people. For example, encouraging people in mid-life to stop smoking, reduce their alcohol consumption and improve their diet to help reduce the risk of developing dementia, disability and frailty in later life.
You may be interested to know that the Government engages with a wide range of organisations on healthy ageing, and the Office for Health Improvement and Disparities is taking targeted actions to tackle the most common preventable diseases, improving access and uptake of prevention services, and embedding prevention across health and care.
To further support the health of older people, the Government will be publishing a Major Conditions Strategy which will set out a strong and coherent policy agenda that sets out a shift to integrated, whole-person care. The Strategy will tackle conditions that contribute most to morbidity and mortality across the population in England including cancers, cardiovascular disease, including stroke and diabetes, chronic respiratory diseases, dementia, mental ill health and musculoskeletal conditions. An interim report will be published in the summer.
I am also aware that the Government recently launched an Older People’s Housing Taskforce earlier this year. The panel will meet regularly and focus on overarching themes, including, the needs, preferences and concerns of older people, their families, and their carers, maximising the potential of technology, building design, and regulation to ensure homes are suitable for the future and understanding what needs to happen at the local level to enable progress in increasing the volume and diversity of housing options for older people. The taskforce will run for up to 12 months, producing an independent report to Government when it concludes.
Finally, I will try my best to attend Age UK’s summer reception, Parliamentary business permitting, to learn about the state of health and care for older people in 2023.