Diversity & Equality in Health and Care Open Access

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The ageing population: challenges for policy and practice

Kay Caldwell, Mohammed Saib, Kate Coleman

The concept of the ageing population is one that has  enerated much debate and discussion at global,national and local levels. While on the one hand an ageing population is viewed in a positive light asan indicator of the improving availability of effective healthcare, on the other hand it is viewed asproblematic in relation to both health and welfare policy and the provision of services. The demographyof ageing provides the context for national and international comparisons. This paper examinesthe global and national perspectives on ageing and explores the assumptions that underpin the differentviews on population ageing. The policy and practice challenges that are presented to the UK by an ageingpopulation are explored. The impact on health and major differentials in ageing – sex and ethnicity – areoutlined and considered in relation to health and welfare policy and practice. The ways in which thesechallenges can be addressed are discussed, and recommendations for practice are outlined.