Saturday, February 27, 2016

Numbers of older Londoners set to climb. What are we doing about it?

By 2035, the number of over 60s in London is expected to increase to almost two million; a 48% increase, compared to only a 12% increase in the under-60s. Those aged 80+ are set to increase by 70%, during the same period.

For the first time, the over 60s could outnumber the under-16s, as a proportion of the total population of Greater London.

All of the evidence suggests that this shift, from young to old, is likely to continue beyond 2035.

With such a major change occurring it is good to see that we now have a 'Mayor's design Advisory Group for Ageing London'. Even better, this group has issued a report.

I have read of the document. It covers many of the important issues but my abiding impression is that it is timid in the extreme. If London is going to have such a mega change in the nature of its population then it will require a lot more intervention than what is being suggested.

Most weeks I travel around the underground/tube/metro/subway of London and horrified how age-unfriendly the transport system is. Even the parts that have been recently modified don't appear to have taken much account of the demands of older users.

A big hole in this plan is the absence of any data about the demands of the older people who will use and pass through London - not just those living there.

The World Health Organisation (WHO) issued a checklist about what constitutes an age friendly city. My company, in conjunction with Silver, have taken this checklist and adapted it into our customer journey format that is used in our AF Tool. You can download the iPad app for free. Beware, the WHO list is just a starting point to evaluate and initiate change.

A more detailed analysis of ageing in large cities can be seen in Shaping Ageing Cities that was done by Arup.

A starting point for a more radical approach is that any new building, transport construction or public facility has to explain, in detail how it has been adapted to take account of the changing demographic profile. We could easily adapt our software to evaluate these plans.

My fear is that we are tackling a mega issue with a lot of piecemeal projects, none of them of any scale, to tackle a fundamental change in the fabric of our society. Dick Stroud

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