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Children outnumbered by over-60s for first time

26 August 2008

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Health professionals are being urged to prepare to meet the needs of increasing numbers of older people after figures showed that the over-60s are outnumbering children in Britain for the first time ever.

New data from the Office for National Statistics revealed that in the middle of last year, 13,262,256 people were aged 60 or over. That was an increase from 12,928,071 the previous year, while the number of under-18s fell from 13,119,654 to 13,111,023 over the same period.

Mervyn Kohler, special adviser at Help the Aged, said the figures were “cause for celebration” and would have implications for policymakers as older people became increasingly more important.

He said an older population meant there needed to be reform of social care, an improved housing supply for the aged, and the removal of “arbitrary” ages for retirement.

“Changes to our population are inevitable over time,” he added. “An aging society is a fact of life which should be welcomed and embraced, not treated with concern.”

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