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Extended life span warning for future health services

23 December 2009

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A team of researchers from the universities of Newcastle and Leicester have warned health officials of the need to plan for the future after .

Not only will people be living longer, they will also be living with several diseases that may be undetected, researchers said.

A study involving more than 800 85-year-olds found that although many of the participants felt in good health and were optimistic, a proportion had undiagnosed health problems ranging from mental decline, incontinence and hearing and sight problems to more severe complaints such as high blood pressure, osteoarthritis, hardening and narrowing of the arteries and cataracts.

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The authors of the research, which was published online in the British Medical Journal (BMJ), concluded: “For planners of services, on the basis of present demographic trends, we can say that in the UK by 2020, the 85-year-old population will increase by 33%, 10% of whom currently require institutional care, 32% of whom have had an outpatient attendance, and 7% an attendance at an accident and emergency department in the past three months.”

A Department of Health spokesman said: “The pace of demographic change is exactly why we are proposing a new National Care Service to make the care and support system simpler, fairer and more affordable for everyone who needs it.”

Copyright © Press Association 2009

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