Ageing in Devon; Annual Public Health Report

Devon County Council has published its latest Annual Public Health Report and this year the theme is Health in an Ageing Devon.

The report, which you can view here, highlights the challenges that it presents, the underlying factors that can contribute to poor health and what we can all do to help ensure that we live healthier for longer.

Devon has an older population and faster older population growth than the UK average.

Over the next 20 years the predicted proportion of those aged 75 and over living in Devon will increase from 13.7 per cent this year to 18.4 per cent by 2043.

This population change, says the report, and that people are spending more years in ill-health, poses challenges in relation to the health, wellbeing and quality of life for all of us. Coupled with a reduction in the birth rate in the future, this means that the ratio of younger people to older people will also reduce.

This will inevitably affect our frontline workforce and carers, both paid and unpaid.

Currently across Devon there are just over two working-age people to one older person. By 2043, we expect this to reduce to 1.7 working aged people to one older person.

The report also illustrates how, over the past decade, life expectancy has stalled and remained similar both locally and nationally.

The average life expectancy across Devon is 85 and 87 years (male and female respectively) with average healthy life expectancy being approximately 77 and 79 years.

This shows that people in Devon are on average living around a decade in poorer health and, as with life expectancy, no significant improvement in healthy life expectancy has been seen over the last decade.

It also looks at other areas including risk factors for older people, the predicted growth in long-term conditions and disabilities such as diabetes, cardiovascular disease and obesity and the importance of physical activity, vaccinations, screening and oral health.

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