This blog was contributed by Tom Wright CBE, Chief Executive of Age UK
The BBC has launched a series of programmes about ageing called ‘When I’m 65’ that will look at the experiences of older people and some of the choices that they face. It will run across the BBC including radio phone-ins, features and interviews.
This is a great opportunity to look at the important role that older people play in work, in family life and in the community, and explore different experiences of growing older.
In the UK there are 10.3m people aged 65 or over and this is expected to rise to over 16.4m in 2033. But within this growing ‘older population’ are several generations with differing experiences, aspirations and needs.
The notion that our lives will follow a pattern of education, followed by work and then a period of retirement is being broken down.
Older people in their 50s and 60s will have to work longer as a consequence of the rising State Pension age and are more likely to have to juggle work and caring commitments.
They are also more likely than previous generations to start their retirement in debt. While those in later old age tend to face the greatest barriers in terms of money, isolation, marginalisation, and their health and care needs.
This series of programmes will explore some of these issues with the help of familiar television personalities like Gloria Hunniford, Lesley Joseph and June Brown.
This will also be a chance for the nation to debate how we care for people in later life. Today, many of those that need help and support are being badly let down. Of the 2 million older people in England with care-related needs, nearly 800,000 receive no support of any kind from public or private sector agencies.
We hope that by exploring the everyday lives of older people and confronting some of the issues that we may all one day face, this BBC season will provide a platform to re-evaluate the role older people play in our communities.
The first programme in the series is called ‘When I Get Older’ and will be shown at 9 pm on Wednesday 4 July on BBC One. You can join in the debate on Twitter by following the hashtag #whenim65