The population of Brighton and Hove is younger than the UK average and the number of people aged 65 and over reduced between 2001 and 2011. Older people have a relatively low profile, seen as a vulnerability rather than an asset and many retirees move out to more ‘age friendly’ neighbouring towns, increasing the marginalisation and social isolation of those who stay. Older people remaining face issues such as isolation and loneliness due to deteriorating health, loss of mobility and confidence to go out, as well as loss and bereavement. ‘Old age’ spans a long period and services tend not to differentiate.
Older people dislike asking for help and many are not digitally engaged. They feel less safe in their neighbourhoods after dark, particularly those in more deprived areas – 45% of those aged 75 & over compared to 23% of all residents. The majority of people with a limiting disability (more likely to be older people) do no sport and active recreation a week.
Services for older people in the city historically have been disjointed which has led to gaps in provision.
Specific issues include:
- Single pensioner households are higher than average and most people aged 75 and over live alone
- Many older people live in poor private rented housing and much housing does not meet the decent homes standard, particularly for those 85 years and over
- One in ten older households is in fuel poverty
- Depression is higher in older people than other groups with almost twice the national average of suicides and death from undetermined injury, yet evidence shows mental health services focus on younger age groups
- Up to 16% of people over 65 have depression, 2 to 4% have severe depression
- There are almost 24,000 carers with increasing numbers of older parent carers of adults with Learning Disabilities and autism and carers find it hard to ensure their needs are met
- There is a significant ageing LGBT population and many BME communities, including travellers, are not engaged
- Services focus on health needs, further work is needed to address their social needs.