Take your education and your family background. Not having been to university, or being born in to a family where nobody worked, continues to determine how long you’ll live, how healthy you’ll be, and even the speed at which you walk.
It doesn’t matter if you receive the same state pension of £164 a week as everyone else, those initial social determinants have a major impact on your quality of later life.
That’s why it’s so important that, even though we’re talking about ageing, we adopt a life-course approach to tackling inequality.
2. That everyone has the same access to the state pension
Staying in work for longer, if you are able to do so, is good for your mental and physical health, as well as your finances in the future. The potential benefits to the economy, as well as savings to the NHS and social care, are significant.
4. That older people should downsize and free up more homes available for families
We can’t plan our future housing needs on the assumption of a mass exodus from three bed semi-detached houses to bungalows or care homes.
In practice, only a small minority of people over 65 move, and less than half are downsizing. This is partly because people are often happy where they live. But a big concern for many is that there aren’t enough suitable homes near them that they could move into if they wanted.
So, in addition to building new lifetime homes, we need to improve our current housing stock to enable people to live in their own homes independently for as long as possible.
We know that certain factors, like volunteering and staying educationally and physically active, help reduce loneliness. Many people in later life take advantage of any opportunities, but others don’t feel able to do so.
It’s important that we recognise the contributions older people make now, and the potential contributions they could make in the future – if we build inclusivity in to the design of our homes, communities and workplaces.