Council Prepares For Increasing Numbers Of Older People

Care services for the elderly in East Sussex will soon be under far greater demand as the ‘baby-boomer’ generation reaches retirement age, the county council has warned. Council chiefs are planning how modern care services will be delivered for the generation of people born in the birth boom after the Second World War reaching their 60s in the coming few years, when they will increase pressure on services such as home care, meals in the community, occupational therapy, and day care, among many others.

In 20 years, some four in ten residents will be of pensionable age in East Sussex, which already has more people aged over 75 than any other English county, Cllr Bill Bentley, Lead Cabinet Member for Adult Social Care said.

Addressing the Meridian Mature Citizens Community Forum on its first anniversary, Cllr Bentley said: “East Sussex is a very popular area to live in and is particularly popular as an area to retire to. Consequently, the county’s age profile is somewhat higher than most parts of the country and with the baby boomers fast approaching 60, a peak of demand is building as we approach 2010.”

He told the 50-strong group at a meeting in Telscombe on Tuesday that the council’s Adult Social Care department had a three-year plan, which catered for all adult services but which, importantly, proposed how to provide services for rising numbers of older people.

“This Adult Social Care Three Year Plan is probably the most important document that we have produced in recent years. A significant part of it covers the services that we offer older people. It is not set in stone and we will be asking the public for feedback,” Cllr Bentley said.

He added: “The county council likes the fact that forums like these can provide a strong, collective voice for older people, and we recognise the value in their activities.”

The Meridian Mature Citizens Community Forum, based in Newhaven, is one of six new forums that the county council has helped to set up in the last year to give older people an opportunity to take part in local democracy.

After the meeting, forum chairman Fred Bennett said: “It is very important the county council meets older people face to face to discuss their concerns in forums like ours and we are grateful to Cllr Bentley for doing this. It was re-assuring to know that the council is planning for our generation and the next generation of pensioners but I’m sure this meeting was also useful for the county council – as we gave Cllr Bentley several issues that affect older people to think over with his colleagues.”