Well-being objective 9: Support older people to age well and maintain dignity and independence in their later years
Why is this objective important?
Carmarthenshire has a high proportion of residents over 65 who are a vital and vibrant part of the community. We want the county to be a place to age well.
Consultations have demonstrated that ‘what matters’ to older people is to be able to be as independent and as well as possible for as long as possible. ‘Being respected as an older person and not being seen as a burden on the local health and social care system’
Research shows that a vital factor of healthy ageing is for older people is social participation, respect and inclusion.
Older people contribute to the economy in Carmarthenshire by caring for their grandchildren or other family members.
Wider services can make an important contribution in supporting and sustaining the independence of older people and reducing the demand on Social Services and Health Care.
Current projections suggest that the population of people over 65 living in Carmarthenshire is growing and by 2030 this will increase by 60%. There has been, and continues to be, a significant increase in the ‘oldest of the old’ with the greatest rise represented in the over 85 age group: with a predicted growth of 116%.
Older people are statistically more likely to have a life limiting health condition with 55% of the over 65 population reporting having a long-term illness or disability. Demand for hospital and community services by those aged 75 and over is in general more than three times greater that from those aged between 30 and 40.
Whilst the people of Carmarthenshire are living longer there is not a similar trend in increased years of being well. This is defined as healthy and disability-free life expectancy and it is rising more slowly than life expectancy. In simple terms this means that people are living longer with illness and disabilities. For males in the area, life expectancy is 77.4, with disability free life estimated at 59.4 and healthy life at 64. For females, it is 82, with 61.2 disability free years and 65.7 heathy ones.
It is essential that we lay robust foundations to future proof the availability of services that promote and support ongoing well-being and independence for our frail older adult population.
Older people are a significant asset to Wales, worth over £1bn to the Welsh economy annually. We must take forward an asset-based approach which, rather than focusing on the costs of providing services for older people, considers instead the cost of not investing in older people.
When surveyed older people have told us that they want as much support as possible to help them do the things they enjoy and to be able to manage day to day.