A new council of specialists from across society will advise how best to use of innovations in technology, products and services to improve the lives of our ageing population.
With the number of people aged over 65 set to nearly double to more than 20 million in under 50 years, the Government’s Ageing Society Grand Challenge – a key part of the Government’s modern Industrial Strategy – is designed to harness the power of innovation to meet the changing needs of an older society.
It also aims to ensure that people across the UK enjoy an extra five years of healthy and independent living by 2035, whilst narrowing the gap between the experience of the richest and the poorest.
The new UK Longevity Council is a vital part of this, bringing together business leaders, health experts and others from society to advise Government on the steps we can take to help everyone lead healthier lives while exploring how the UK can position itself to lead the world in the growing market for age-related products and services.
Andy Briggs, business leader and insurance industry expert, has been appointed as the government’s new Business Champion for the Ageing Society Grand Challenge and will co-chair the Council with Secretary of State for Health and Social Care Matt Hancock.
The Council will act as a forum for interactions and discussions between policy makers, industry, researchers and the public in the area of ageing and will advise on:
- How we can think differently about work, finances, housing, communities and health, and explore new technologies, products and services that will benefit and enrich our older population.
- What the government’s high-level priorities should be in relation to demographic change.
- Supporting both local and international work to ensure the UK is a global leader and UK businesses can capitalise on global opportunities.
Secretary of State for Health and Social Care Matt Hancock said:
“Keeping people healthy and independent is absolutely central to our vision for our healthcare system. Living longer should be celebrated but we need to think seriously about how we can adapt society more widely to meet older people’s needs. We must use our industry’s incredible abilities in technology, design and innovation in new, thoughtful ways to support everyone to age well.
“Business has a vital role to play in providing inclusive products and services that are attractive to our older population and can enable everyone to stay living at home for longer and keep active. I look forward to working with Andy Briggs and the rest of the Longevity Council to help the UK lead the way in thinking creatively and originally about ageing.”
Business Secretary Greg Clark, said:
“More than ten million people in the UK today can expect to see their 100th birthday, compared to 15,000 current centenarians.
“As more people live longer, we must ensure people can live independently, with dignity and a good quality of life for longer by harnessing the best technological innovation and advances to help.
“Having a dedicated Business Champion in Andy Briggs, working with the new Longevity Council, will ensure that UK companies remain at the forefront of these developments. This is a key part of our modern Industrial Strategy, ensuring the UK remains at the forefront of these new and emerging industries.”
Andy Briggs, Ageing Society Business Champion, said:
“Britain has an ageing society, along with many other developed countries, and this provides challenges as well as opportunities.
“I encourage all businesses to embrace this excellent opportunity, both by developing world leading products and services, and by employing more older workers.”
Mr Briggs will build on his existing role as the government’s business champion for older workers and support the government’s Ageing Society Grand Challenge and help create a highly skilled, highly innovative and high-quality economy that works for everyone.
To support the Grand Challenge, the Government will shortly open the competitions for the £98 million Healthy Ageing Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund, to develop attractive products and services that help people of all ages to live better and more independent lives as they grow older.
New innovations can help older people, for example:
- By harnessing mainstream interactive technologies as a tool to remind people when to take their medication or help them stay in touch with friends or family.
- Through better designed products for older people. The Centre for Ageing Better’s research shows badly designed, unattractive clinical support equipment puts people off making vital home adaptations that otherwise would enable them to maintain their independence for longer.
- Financial products designed with older people in mind can ensure they are mindful of the most beneficial schemes and can also help younger people save for their retirement.