This report and executive summary, published with the support of Age UK, consider the policy implications of the growing centenarian population, examining the demography; health and need for social care; housing and wealth; and quality of life for this group. It aims to understand more about this celebrated group through summarising evidence about the lives people lead past 100, while identifying gaps in the evidence base and proposing key policy recommendations to address the issues raised.
This work has been guided by the following questions:
- How large is the current UK centenarian population and how much is this expected to grow?
- How does the health of centenarians compare to that of younger age cohorts and how is this expected to change?
- What are the housing circumstances of the centenarian population and what are the other distinctive socioeconomic characteristics of centenarians?
- What are the key components of quality of life for centenarians and how does the quality of life of centenarians compare with other age cohorts?
ILC-UK have identified a number of key policy recommendations arising from this research, calling for:
- Significant development of the evidence base about centenarians in order to inform current and future ageing strategies.
- Policy-makers to take a more holistic approach to designing interventions that integrate health, care and housing solutions.
- Investment in ways of increasing the accessibility and appeal of social or interest groups to centenarians.
- Developers to plan for growing numbers of centenarians through ensuring that housing and neighbourhoods are better designed and/or adequately adapted to meet the needs of a growing centenarian population
- Energy companies to ensure that their oldest customers access the best deals
- Employers to ensure that they find ways to provide flexible working to ensure that caring responsibilities for the future population of centenarians do not pull people out of the workforce early.
- The Government should introduce a care voucher scheme for adults, similar to childcare vouchers, which would allow people of all ages to buy care vouchers to support the needs of older adults. This may help older carers of centenarians stay in the workplace longer.