Impact of an ageing population on service design and delivery in rural areas

Dec 6, 2013 | REPORTS

2013 Defra Rural Ageing Research by ILC-UK in conjunction with TNS-BMRB.

ILC-UK in conjunction with TNS-BRMB were commissioned by DEFRA to conduct a study on how local service design and delivery needs to respond to an ageing rural population.

Rural areas face disproportionate challenges arising from an aging population, compared with urban areas, not least as nearly a quarter of all older people live in rural areas, and as they age their requirements for access to services such as Health, Transport, and Social Services are likely to increase. For service commissioners and deliverers, it is important to understand how ageing impacts upon service delivery so that services can be tailored to address those needs and ensure equitable service delivery to an increasingly important sector of the population.

This research project aimed to:

  • Understand the impact of an older and ageing population in rural areas on service demand and delivery;
  • Demonstrate where and how the design and delivery of key services need to be tailored to meet the present and future needs of an ageing rural population; and
  • To identify any underlying principles of good practice in designing and delivering key services to an older population.

The initial research questions this project sought to answer include:

  • What effects do an older population have on the demand for key services in rural areas?
  • What are the implications of an older and ageing rural population for service design and delivery?
  • How are service designers and deliverers addressing issues relating to an older and ageing rural population?
  • How does service design and delivery currently differ in rural areas compared to urban areas?
  • What barriers and challenges to successfully meeting the needs of an older and ageing rural population exist from the service delivery perspective;
  • What barriers and challenges are experienced by older service users?
  • How do needs and experiences differ between different age groups of the older population, including comparisons between those of working (aged 50+) and retirement age?
  • Identify a range of good practice case studies to illustrate lessons from successful and non successful service delivery tailored for an older and ageing rural population.

The research covers key public services from across social care, health care and local council services including housing and transport.