As a society we need to wake up to the profound change in our longevity. The prospect of a 100-year life is an incredible opportunity, but we are woefully under prepared for it.
There is no point living for longer if those extra years are spent suffering a poor quality of life in ill health, without access to decent care, in unsuitable homes, in places that leave us disconnected, isolated and lonely.
Currently too many people are missing out on a good later life. This inequality looks set to become further entrenched for future generations unless we make radical changes now.
Our vision at the Centre for Ageing Better is a society where everybody enjoys a good later life.
We believe that more people living longer represents a huge opportunity for society. Since our start in 2015, we have been working with government, business and civil society to help pioneer positive change to respond to ageing.
In 2017/18 we made significant progress in achieving our mission.
Our work to make the national case for healthy ageing, including the importance of the wider determinants of health such as financial security and good housing, reached an important milestone with the Government’s commitment to address the ‘Grand Challenge’ of ageing within its Industrial Strategy.
We will continue to work closely with politicians and civil servants to help achieve ambitious whole society goals.
"This year I've applied for 20 jobs and this was my first interview. I was heartbroken to find out I didn't get the job."
Our influential review of aids and adaptations in housing - a key factor in enabling people to stay in their own homes for longer - gave clear advice on ‘what works’ for housing providers, landlords and homeowners.
Small changes and handyman services can transform the lives of people in their own homes and reduce potential need for health and social care.
“As long as I’ve got things to hold on to I’m not frightened of falling.”
Commissioning the Chief Medical Officer’s expert group to review the evidence on strength and balance was a significant step in how to keep people physically able and active from mid-life into older age. The review’s findings will help health and exercise professionals to tackle and address barriers to taking up strength and balance activities.
"I think that's what doing exercise does for you. It keeps you more independent for longer."
We convened over 60 practitioners and policy makers to find better ways of promoting volunteering in roundtables jointly run with the Department of Culture, Media and Sport as part of our community contribution programme.
"It makes you feel worthwhile. If you work in a job for a long time and then retire, then you need to get that self-worth from somewhere else."
The creation of local and regional strategies for responding to age at work, in housing, in urban design and service provision with partners in Greater Manchester, Leeds and across the network of age-friendly communities have been great partnership achievements over the last year.
"An age-friendly community is a place where people of all ages can lead healthy and happy lives..."
These are some highlights of our work, but much more was done over the year that made a difference, encouraged debate and brought people together to find solutions.