Overview and key messages
The population of West Wales has a higher proportion of older people than the Welsh average, and that already high proportion is predicted to increase significantly in the coming years, as average life expectancy in the region follows the national upwards trend (Office for National Statistics, 2011).
The change in the profile of the population will undoubtedly have an impact on health, as older people are statistically more likely to have a life limiting health condition (Office for National Statistics, 2011) These changes will significantly impact on the health and social care services provided, as demand for hospital and community services by those aged 75 and over is in general more than three times that from those aged between 30 and 40 (Parliamentary Select Committee on Public Service and Demographic Change, 2013).
A number of ‘accelerating factors’ add to the challenge of providing effective services to older people in West Wales, from pockets of significant deprivation to large areas of rurality and high levels of migration of older people to certain areas (Henry, 2012).
In 2013-14 an estimated £91 million was spent in West Wales on services specifically for older people including Tier 1 – Community, Universal and Prevention Services, Tier 2 - Early Intervention and Reablement and Tier 3 - Specialist and Long Term Services. Across the UK public expenditure related to older people is expected to rise from 20.1% of GDP in 2007-08 to 26.7% in 2057 (Mid and West Wales Health and Social Care Collaborative, 2015).