Older People

Introduction

In order to fully understand the health and social care needs of older people in Warwickshire, it is important to provide some context in terms of their demographic and socio-economic make-up.  This forms the basis against which other data can be analysed, helps to identify inequalities and is a key building block in modelling service requirements.

According to the mid-2015 estimates, there are approximately 112,433 people aged over 65 years living in Warwickshire which equates to 20% of the total population. This proportion is above the equivalent national (18%) and regional (18%) figures. Across Warwickshire’s districts and boroughs, Stratford-on-Avon District has the largest percentage of its population (25%) who are older people. Conversely, in Warwick district 18% of the population are aged 65 years and older.

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What are the big issues?

The largest demographic issue facing the County is that of a rapidly ageing population. According to the subnational 2014 based projections, between 2014 and 2039, numbers of people aged over 65 in the County are projected to increase by 60,100 or 54%. The rate of growth increases with age, with those aged 75 and over projected to almost double in size (from 49,565 to 98,677) by 2039. When we consider the population aged 90 years or over, this is expected to increase substantially by 269%. This trend is reflected across all the Districts and Boroughs.

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Whilst an ageing population can be thought of as positive, reflective of improved healthcare, this is also perhaps the largest demographic issue facing the county. As a result the dependency ratio is set to increase. This places a higher burden on the shrinking working age population, and leads to a number of challenges for public services, particularly around health, social care provision, and publicly managed infrastructure such as the transport network.

Though an ageing population places additional pressures on existing services, older adults are able to contribute to society through increased spending power, tax payments and volunteering.

Life expectancy at birth and healthy life expectancy

What are the big issues?

Life expectancy at births refers to the average number of years a person would expect to live based on contemporary mortality rates. The health of people in Warwickshire is generally better than the England average which is reflected in life expectancy being higher than the England average. However, this masks some variation across the county, most notably that life expectancy for both males and females in Nuneaton & Bedworth Borough is statistically significantly lower than the England figure.

Of particular concern, in Warwickshire, is that life expectancy is 9.6 years lower for men and 12.3 years lower for women in the most deprived wards than in the least deprived wards. Interestingly, this difference is most pronounced for females in Warwick District where there is a difference in life expectancy of 10.4 years between those in the most deprived and least deprived wards. The picture in Rugby Borough is similar in that the difference for females is 10.3 years between the most and least deprived wards. This illustrates the health inequalities which persist both across the county as a whole, and at ward level.

Lower life expectancy is generally more prevalent in the north of the county than the south which is consistent with the pattern of deprivation and health inequalities across the county. Life expectancy at ward level for males ranges from 75.0 years (Atherstone Central, North Warwickshire Borough) to 84.6 years (Snitterfield, Stratford-on-Avon District), and for females ranges from 79.2 years (Hartshill, North Warwickshire Borough) to 91.5 years (Myton & Heathcote, Warwick District).

Life expectancy at birth, 2013-15

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Healthy Life Expectancy

As life expectancy continues to increase in Warwickshire and across England and Wales, it is important to measure what proportion of these additional years of life are being spent in favourable states of health or in poor health and dependency.

Healthy Life Expectancies (HLEs) help us to address this question by adding a dimension of quality of life to estimates of life expectancy. They are estimates of the average number of years a person would live in a given health state if he/she experienced the specified population’s particular age-specific mortality and health status for that time period throughout the rest of his/her life.

Healthy Life Expectancy (HLE) at birth in Warwickshire for 2013-15 was 68.0 years for males and 67.6 years for females. This compares with HLEs at birth in England of 63.4 years for males and 64.1 years for females.

Life expectancy by ward for males (left) and females (right), 2010 – 2014

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Who needs to know?

  • All Stakeholders

Further Information

Comprehensive data and analysis on Warwickshire’s current and future population is contained within the Observatory’s latest Quality of Life Report

Qualityof Life in Warwickshire 2014-15 Full Report (PDF, 13.25 MB)

Local Information System (LIS) Data

The Office for National Statistics (ONS) has produced an interactive mapping tool to help visualise the changing age profile of the UK. The tool provides district level figures and illustrates the  trends between 1992 and 2033 and lets you examine a number of things…

  • At what age is half the population older and half younger, and in what year.
  • How does the age profile of each district compare with national trends (you can select individual districts).
  • How will specific age groups change over time in each district.

For example, the tool helps illustrate that by the year 2030, Stratford District will have less than two residents of working age per person of state retirement age or older, with clear implications for economic dependency rates.  Half the population will be aged over 50 by this time.