House of Lords Science and Technology Select Committee’s report:
Ageing: Science, Technology and Healthy Living
An important report on what is happening now and what is predicted to happen in the years ahead. This is a link to the Report and other documents.
Contributions to the discussion were invited and Christians on Ageing submitted written evidence to the Committee:
The fact that people in this country are living longer is unquestioned, but the suggestion that life in the added years is life with disability and suffering (backed by a report from the King’s Fund www.kingsfund.org.uk/publications/whats-happening-life-expectancy-uk), is at odds with figures from the ONS. Their report on Health Expectations at birth and at 65 years in the United Kingdom shows increased life expectation and reduced periods spent in ‘not good health’ in Tables 1, 2, 3 and 4 for the decade 2000-2002 to 2009-11
A great deal of the improvement in life expectation and quality of life at all ages, can be traced to improvements in the environment in which people live, rather than particular technological advances.
Further improvements in both healthy life years and total years lived will be achieved with most certainty by taking advantage of this learning – most obviously illustrated by the reduction in incidence of dementia in those sections of the population of Cambridge, Nottingham and Newcastle where people are better off than they were, but has fallen where there is unemployment and poverty.
Thus we would encourage a continuation in measures to improve education, advice on diet and exercise, and prudent use of advances in medicine. But we would emphasise the benefits which will come from ‘levelling up’ the quality of life available to the poorest and most vulnerable to that of the better off.
This will require: continuing education, taxation which redistributes wealth to achieve something nearer equality, employment policies which give greater security and terms and conditions, housing which is affordable to ordinary people, and support for community activities which help families to work together across the generations. This includes the faith communities
16 September 2019