London: The ageing population in the UK is growing rapidly, according to new Government statistics.
Nearly one in four of the population will be over 65 in less than 25 years, and the number of those over 85 – the oldest old, would more than double.
The forecast from the Office for National Statistics says this will result more resources being directed towards the elderly including health and social care and transport.
Improvements in medical treatments and social conditiions mean that many more people are living longer and the younger generation will have to work longer and pay more in taxes.
The ONS said that the number of people expected to live more than 85 years would rise to more than three million by 2032. It added that the number of people with dementia could double to 1.4 million within 30 years.
By 2032 the 85-plus group will make up 4 per cent of the population. That means the proportion of people who use public services the most and who depend on family, neighbours and so on is increasing.
The report also said that increasing the retirement age was the key to supporting the millions of extra older people who will need assistance.
But increasingly men and women will face the dilemma of how to look after their elderly relatives when they themselves are reaching retirement.
Demand for long-term care is inevitably going to increase over the coming years as the population aged 85 and over grows.
The new figures show there were 9.5 million over 65s in 2007. By 2032 the figure is projected to increase to 16.1 million, 23 per cent of the estimated total population.
In 1982 there were 600,000 people over 85, or 1.1 per cent of the total population. By last year this had doubled to 1.3 million and will rise to 3.1 million by 2032.
In spite of the growing number of old people, the proportion of over 65s living in communal establishments fell between 1991 and 2001 as a result of government policies to support people in their own homes and communities.
The analysis also showed that men are living longer and closing the gap with women.