People are living longer than ever before; yet, many are not enjoying this longevity in good health. As demographics continue to shift and older people continue to make up a growing proportion of the population, the need to ensure all people have access to health and care services becomes increasingly critical.
Drawing on a new Centre for Ageing Better report, a recent Guardian article discussed existing disparities experienced by older people in Britain. Titled “The State of Ageing in 2019“ the report brought together publicly available data to highlight the different ways poverty negatively impacts health and wellbeing of older people, emphasizing that “pensioner poverty” is rising, predominantly impacting women and people of colour.
Research illustrates that adverse lived experiences significantly impact a person’s ability to live a healthy life. For example, “the poorest people [both men and women] are three times more likely than the wealthiest to retire early because of ill-health” and within the 50-64 age cohort, almost one in four have at least three chronic health conditions. Additionally, the Centre for Ageing Better report illustrates the role of the built environment in promoting health, showing that at least 1.3 million people who live in substandard housing are ages 55 and over.
One of the key points raised throughout the article and the referenced report was the importance of structural changes – changes to policies and practices that currently replicate patterns of inequity – to address disparities in health outcomes. Leading such initiatives is IFA expert Dr Debra Whitman, Chief Public Policy Officer at AARP is an international leader in supporting and advancing policy that improve the lives of older people and their families.
Contact experts like Dr Whitman today and discuss tangible ways to address these types of disparities.
Dr. Debra Whitman Chief Public Policy Officer
Debra Whitman, PhD, is an economist and expert on aging issues with extensive experience in national policymaking and global research.