The societal risks for ageing societies are well known. This shift from predominantly young to predominantly older populations raises concerns over the ability of nations to finance the social security and long term health and social care which are required to support a growing number and percentage of older dependents, at a time when the number and percentage of those who are economically active is declining. There are also concerns about the ability to reconfigure health and long term care provision. A third challenge is around the reconfiguration of social institutions to address issues of intergenerational and intergenerational fairness, that is fairness and equity within and between different generations as population age and the support of individual well-being across the life course. Indeed, inequalities in access to resources, health, economic and social, is likely to remain a pressing concern over the coming decades.
In the light of this the UK Government Office for Science commissioned a Foresight Review on the Ageing of the UK Population. A multi-disciplinary Expert Committee of British academics was appointed, and over the next two and a half years extensive demographic projections and modelling over 100 h of expert meetings and 22 scientific evidence reviews were undertaken, exploring the multi-faceted impact of the UK’s age-structural change. The academic Committee determined to assess the impact of both the increase in the number and proportion of older people and the increase in the average age of the population. These two demographic trends – increasing longevity and age structural change – will have major and interrelated impacts on UK society. The challenge is to make the UK more resilient to these demographic changes.The paper will address co-design between academics and policy makers attempting to address how government can make progress in an interwoven policy area set upon a complex evidence base.