Preventing ill health key in unlocking longevity dividend

As the workforce ages it will throw more attention on the need to prevent ill health in older age.

Healthy diet in children


Prevention of ill health needs to be a priority if countries are to unlock the potential of the over 50s workforce, according to a new report.

The report, Maximising the longevity dividend, will be launched at the International Longevity Centre’s conference tomorrow. It will highlight the increasingly significant contribution of older people to productivity. It says that, by 2040, the earned income generated by people aged 50 and over may account for 40% of total earnings – up from 23% in 2004 and 30% in 2018. Moreover, by 2028, it calculates that more people aged 60 and over may work part time than any other age group except for people aged under 30.

However, previous ILC research revealed that about 1 million of the 11.5 million people in the UK aged 50-64 are currently economically inactive due to involuntary labour market exits, largely resulting from health and care needs or caring responsibilities.

In 2017 alone, in better off countries 27.1 million years were lived with disability due to largely preventable disease and this number is projected to increase by 17% within the next 25 years, according to ILC research.

Professor David Bloom, Professor, Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, will tell the conference: “The prospect of a longevity dividend is attractive, but will not come to pass without an integrated set of policy, technological, and behavioural adaptions. Prominent among these will be increased attention to strategies aimed at preventing the onset or progression of disease.”

Also speaking at the conference is Dr Susan Thomas, EY, who will argue: “In order to maximise the value of living longer we need businesses and governments to create incentives that enable the shift from reactive disease management to proactive disease prevention.

“Society needs to embrace new technologies and approaches that can shift the cost trajectory of ageing — and realise the value of health as a long-term societal asset, not just a near-term cost.”



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