A Hartlepool health official says more focus needs to be given to supporting Hartlepool’s increasing elderly population.
More than a quarter of the town’s population are expected to be over 65 in just eight years.
Many older Hartlepool residents are carrying an enormous burden of ill health, disability and long term conditionsDr Paul Edmondson-Jones, Hartlepool director of public health
And the number of residents aged over 85 is predicted to increase by about 50% to 3,300 by 2025 compared to 2015.
Supporting older people is the main focus of Hartlepool’s new director of public health Paul Edmondson-Jones annual report.
He says: “Similar to most areas in England, the proportion of older people in Hartlepool is increasing.
“For instance, the number of people who were aged 85 years or more in 2005 was 1,400, this increased to 2,100 by 2015 and will continue to increase to 3,330 by 2025 and to 4,700 by 2035.” Dr Edmondson-Jones adds that although people are living longer, the majority of their later years – about 20 years for men and 26 for woman – is in poor health.
He says in his report: “We want to support older people to develop and maintain health and independence as long as possible so they can live life to the full.”
He adds: “It is vitally important that public health in Hartlepool continues to lead and support services and initiatives and promote partnership working and shared leadership to help all residents of the borough to grow old with dignity, support and respect they deserve.”
Hartlepool’s higher than average poverty rate is said to be one of the main factors contributing to Hartlepool’s health problems and lower life expectancy.
Dr Edmondson-Jones said: “That means that many older Hartlepool residents are carrying an enormous burden of ill health, disability and long term conditions e.g diabetes, high blood pressure, bronchitis, and on average women are only enjoying good health for two thirds of their life and men for just three quarters.”
He says the town needs to build on its strong sense of identity cohesion and provide more support to voluntary and community groups to help people make healthy lifestyle choices.
Helping older people to live independently and be included in their communities is key to improving their health.
Dr Edmondson-Jones’s annual report will be considered by Hartlepool’s Health and Wellbeing Board on Monday, September 4, at the civic centre.
The meeting starts at 10am and is open to the public.