People aged 85 and over in Norwich to double over next two decades
GPs have warned that the number of people aged 85 and over in Norwich is set to double in the next two decades - and that planning to cope with the extra demands on the health services is essential.
Dr David Goldser, a member of the Norwich Clinical Commissioning Group's older people's clinical action team said the predicted increase in older people was 'extraordinary'.
He said the life expectancy in different parts of Norwich could vary by as much as seven years, because some people were living in areas of deprivation.
That, he said, meant they were more likely to need treatment when older, so the city was facing a potentially 'staggering' increase in demand for health services.
He said: 'One in six of the population is over 65 and of that group one in six or seven is over 85. And the trend over the next 20 to 25 years is quite extraordinary.
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'It's likely that in the 65 to 84 age group there will be 40pc more people in Norwich, but in the 85 plus age group it will be 106pc more. So that will double in the next 25 years.
'As a GP, we are beginning to look at how we approach that. When I first started, we didn't treat many 90-year-olds, but now that is almost the norm.
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'There has been a marked demographic change and over the next 20 or so years that is going to continue. And, with 80pc of 65-year-olds having long terms conditions, such as diabetes or arthritis, that's a lot of people who are going to need care. The potential is quite staggering for what we need to be doing.'
Dr Goldser, who is a GP at St Stephens Gate Medical Practice, off Chapel Field Road, was speaking at the annual general meeting of charity Age UK Norwich.
He said that the clinical commissioning group - a GP-led group which commissions local services after replacing the primary care trusts in April - needed to embrace the work by voluntary organisations to help prevent people needing treatment.
He said: 'The plan is to have a discussion now with voluntary agencies to try to align with what's being done in core areas. And in Norwich, the number one core area is older people.
The meeting also heard Phil Wells, the chief executive of Age UK Norwich, say that it was down to 'luck' that the charity was able to keep going. He said: 'We have been here for 68 years and we do not intend to disappear any time soon, but it is not in our gift. We think the last year and the next two years are reasonable secure, but that's only due to two strokes of luck.
'One was funding from the National Lottery and another was a legacy. It would be lovely to have that every year, but that doesn't happen.'