HCM Handbook_2019

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The grey POUND Adopting physically active lives in the run up to our twilight years will help us to side step a social care crisis. DataHub’s Chris Phillips summarises the Reimagining Ageing report


he UK’s population is ageing, fast. And with ageing comes a growing proliferation of health problems including disease, disability and dementia. We assume growing older goes hand in hand with a loss of function and resilience but a major new report – Reimagining Ageing – produced by not-for-profit health body ukactive with the DataHub and Sheffield Hallam University argues that our twilight years can be healthy, independent and happy, providing one key constituent is in place: physical activity. When you consider that by 2040 nearly one in four people will be 65 or older, and a quarter of those will be living with a life-limiting long-term condition, ageing is an issue we cannot afford to ignore.

of decline often associated with growing old but we can actually reverse it. “Increased fitness can achieve this at any age, no matter how many long-term conditions the person has,” says Professor Sir Muir Gray, former Chief Knowledge Officer for the NHS, who firmly believes living independently and productively into our later years is achievable. “To grasp

this opportunity and improve the national experience of growing old, we need to get older people more active, more often.” There are significant economic advantages too. Seventy per cent of the nation’s wealth is currently held by over-50s; as a cohort they spent £320bn in 2017, yet data shows that older adults (over-55s) account for just one in five


Using data collected by the DataHub from more than 500 million individual visits to over 2,000 leisure facilities, ukactive’s Reimagining Ageing report provides a clear picture of our ageing nation. It demonstrates how, by closing the fitness gap, we have the opportunity to add healthy, independent and active years to lives across the UK. In fact, the experts believe that not only can we slow the rate 114

HCM Handbook 2019

Serco’s Active Lives programme offers half price access to over-60s