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					 Health Numbers: A Statistical View of the Health of Older People in Northern Ireland

Good quality care costs, poor quality costs society more.1
Your Health Matters, The Annual Report of the Chief Medical Officer for Northern Ireland
                                                                                    2009
About this guide


Welcome to the first edition of BGS Northern Ireland’s Health Numbers: a Statistical
View of the Health of Older People in Northern Ireland. This document aims to promote
and inform debate about how Northern Ireland responds to the ageing population at a
time when the NHS is under considerable strain by giving a concise but precise overview
at the major health problems that face many of Northern Ireland’s older people.

We hope that you find it useful and would appreciate it if you could mention the guide
when quoting from it.

Regards

Dr Ken Fullerton
Chair, BGS Northern Ireland and consultant physician at Belfast City Hospital


About the BGS
The British Geriatrics Society (BGS) was founded in 1947 for “the relief of suffering and
distress amongst the aged and infirm by the improvement of standards of medical care
for such persons, the holding of meetings and the publication and distribution of the
results of research”. It has branches throughout the UK and has over 2,500 members
including doctors practicing geriatric medicine, old age psychiatrists, general
practitioners, nurses, therapists and scientists. For more information on the BGS please
visit
http://www.bgs.org.uk/index.php?option=com_content&view=category&id=154&Itemi
d=76 or contact Tom Thorpe MCIPR, Press, PR & Parliamentary Affairs Officer on 07779
269 182 or tomthorpe@bgs.org.uk




Version 1: April 2011
Older People in Northern Ireland
 At the last count there were 1.75 million people in Northern Ireland2 of which
   249,900 are 65 and over3. This accounts for 14% of the population.4
 There were 106,100 men and 142,800 women aged 65 and over in 2008.5
 Life expectancy for men is 76.3 years and 81.2 for women.6

Future population projections
 Between 2008 and 2020 the number of people over 75 is projected to increase by
   40%.7
 In 30 years time an analysis of the statistics by age groups suggests that by 2041:
    the estimated population of persons aged 50 and over will increase by 64 per
       cent – to 42 per cent of the total population in 2041 compared to 30 per cent in
       20068
    persons of pensionable age will increase by 59 per cent to represent 25 per cent
       of the population9; and
    the 75 and over population will more than double to 14 per cent of the total
       population.10

Expenditure health services
 £3.6billion is the cost of the health service in Northern Ireland (not just older
   people).11

Health and social care services and older people
 9,485 people aged 65 and over are cared for in residential and nursing homes.12
 People in Northern Ireland report high levels of satisfaction in using health and
   social care services.13 Overall, 82% of respondents reported they were satisfied (14%
   were very satisfied; 68% were satisfied; 14% were dissatisfied and 3% were very
   dissatisfied) with the health and social care services in Northern Ireland at present.14
 The proportion of respondents that were satisfied with the overall health and social
   care services in Northern Ireland ranged across age groups increasing from 79% of
   those aged 50 to 64 years to 87% of those aged 65 years and over. 15
 People aged 65 and over received 31% total inpatient activity16 but account for
   accounts for 14% of the population.17
 79% adults in contact with social services were older people. 18
 the vast majority of delayed discharges were for older people: 95% were aged 65 or
   more and 83% were aged 75 and over.19

Carers and older people
 Almost two-thirds of carers in Northern Ireland are aged 55 or over.20
 Three-quarters of people cared for were aged 75 or over, and almost two-thirds
   were female.21
 Over four-fifths of the people cared for had physical disabilities, and half had mental
   health problems.22

Version 1: April 2011
   About a quarter (26%) said that they never had breaks from caring, and over three-
    fifths had breaks only occasionally.23
   18% said that they always felt under stress because of caring responsibilities, 21%
    were under stress very often and 30% were under stress quite often.24

Dignity and discrimination
A number of surveys of older people in Northern Ireland have found that:
 93% agreed that it should be unlawful to discriminate in the provision of goods and
   services in Northern Ireland on the basis of age.25
 84% felt that the Northern Ireland Assembly and Executive need to do more to
   ensure the rights of older people are protected and promoted.26
 87% felt that discriminatory attitudes towards older people can never be justified. 27
 66% felt that older people are discriminated against as a result of their age.28
 Over two thirds (68%) felt that older people are in the whole less valued than people
   in the general population in this country because of their age.29
 49% were aware of instances where older people have been treated with less dignity
   and respect by people in health and social care professions because of their age. 30
 18% of older people in severe poverty which is the proportion of pensioners with
   less than 60% of median income.31
 70% of older people say that staying warm in winter was their biggest single worry.32
 46% of older people struggle to get by on their income.33
 71% people aged 65+ who believe that politicians see older people as a low
   priority.34
 63% of people aged 65+ believe age discrimination exists in the everyday of older
   people.35
 69% of people aged 65+ believe that once you reach very old age to treat you as a
   child.36
 64% of people aged 65+ who believe that age discrimination still exists in the
   workplace.37
 71% of people aged 65+ agree that symptoms of poor health amongst older people
   are often untreated and dismissed as being a result of ‘old age’.38
 46% of older people experience a limiting long-standing illness.39
 27% of older people report 'general good health.'40
 60% of older people feel their health issues were not taken seriously enough.41
 27% of older people believe their local health and social services trust do not give
   enough priority to their practical and support needs.42
 20% of those aged 75 and over say they are isolated from their communities.43
 Respondents to surveys who reported that HSCS do not treat all groups fairly most
   commonly report older people (77%) as not been treated fairly, followed by the
   working class (14%), disabled people (11%) and people from certain geographical
   areas (7%).44

Statistics on specific health conditions that affect older people


Version 1: April 2011
Hospital acquired infections
 Clostridium difficile (C. difficile) infections are down 54% in last three years since
   2010 and Meticillin-Resistant Staphylococcus Aureus (MRSA) is down 44%.45

End of life
 In 2008, 62 per cent of the 14,900 deaths were to people aged 75 and over
   compared to 44 per cent in 1978.46
 In 2007 the three most common causes of death in Northern Ireland were malignant
   neoplasms, cancer, (26%), ischaemic heart disease (17%) and respiratory diseases
   (14%).47

Diabetes
 8% of those aged over 75 have diabetes in Northern Ireland.48

Dementia
 In Northern Ireland 1 in 14 people aged over 65 have a form of dementia, rising to 1
  in 6 people over 80 and 1 in 3 over 85.49

Cardio vascular disease and stroke
 Older people in Northern Ireland were the most likely demographic to experience a
   heart attack. Men aged 65 to 74 showed the highest rate of heart attacks with just
   under one in five (17%); while among females those over 75 were most at risk at
   9%.50
 Just over 7% of men over the age of 75 had suffered a stroke compared with 4% of
   women in the same age band. 51

1
  Your Health Matters, The Annual Report of the Chief Medical Officer for Northern Ireland 2009, Department of Health,
Social Services and Public Safety, 2010, 4.
2
  Your Health Matters, The Annual Report of the Chief Medical Officer for Northern Ireland 2009, Department of Health,
Social Services and Public Safety, 2010, Table 1A Northern Ireland: Sex and Age Distribution of Population and
Percentage of Total Population in Each Age Group (2008).
3
  Derived from Your Health Matters, The Annual Report of the Chief Medical Officer for Northern Ireland 2009,
Department of Health, Social Services and Public Safety, 2010, Table 1A Northern Ireland: Sex and Age Distribution of
Population and Percentage of Total Population in Each Age Group (2008).
4
  Derived from Your Health Matters, The Annual Report of the Chief Medical Officer for Northern Ireland 2009,
Department of Health, Social Services and Public Safety, 2010, Table 1A Northern Ireland: Sex and Age Distribution of
Population and Percentage of Total Population in Each Age Group (2008).
5
  Derived from Your Health Matters, The Annual Report of the Chief Medical Officer for Northern Ireland 2009,
Department of Health, Social Services and Public Safety, 2010, Table 1A Northern Ireland: Sex and Age Distribution of
Population and Percentage of Total Population in Each Age Group (2008).
6
  Your Health Matters, The Annual Report of the Chief Medical Officer for Northern Ireland 2009, Department of Health,
Social Services and Public Safety, 2010, 32.
7
  Your Health Matters, The Annual Report of the Chief Medical Officer for Northern Ireland 2009, Department of Health,
Social Services and Public Safety, 2010, 32.
8
  Office of the First Minister and Deputy First Minister, Examining the Case for a Commissioner for Older People – Final
Report, May 2008, 5.
9
  Office of the First Minister and Deputy First Minister, Examining the Case for a Commissioner for Older People – Final
Report, May 2008, 5.
10
   Office of the First Minister and Deputy First Minister, Examining the Case for a Commissioner for Older People – Final
Report, May 2008, 5.
11
   Your Health Matters, The Annual Report of the Chief Medical Officer for Northern Ireland 2009, Department of Health,
Social Services and Public Safety, 2010, 4.
12
   Your Health Matters, The Annual Report of the Chief Medical Officer for Northern Ireland 2009, Department of Health,
Social Services and Public Safety, 2010, 32.


Version 1: April 2011
13
   See Public Engagement on the Development of a Ten Year Strategy for Quality in Health and Social Care in Northern
Ireland, Patient and Client Council, June 2010, ww.patientclientcouncil.hscni.net.
14
   Public Attitudes to Health and Social Care Services in Northern Ireland, Public Health Information and Research Branch
Department of Health, Social Services and Public Safety, 4.
15
   Public Attitudes to Health and Social Care Services in Northern Ireland, Public Health Information and Research Branch
Department of Health, Social Services and Public Safety, 4.
16
   Equality and Inequalities in Health and Social Care in
Northern Ireland: A Statistical Overview, Department of Health, Social Services and Public Safety, 2004, 11.
17
   Derived from Your Health Matters, The Annual Report of the Chief Medical Officer for Northern Ireland 2009,
Department of Health, Social Services and Public Safety, 2010, Table 1A Northern Ireland: Sex and Age Distribution of
Population and Percentage of Total Population in Each Age Group (2008).
18
   Equality and Inequalities in Health and Social Care in
Northern Ireland: A Statistical Overview, Department of Health, Social Services and Public Safety, 2004, 12.
19
   Equality and Inequalities in Health and Social Care in
Northern Ireland: A Statistical Overview, Department of Health, Social Services and Public Safety, 2004, 12.
20
   Survey Of Carers Of Older People In Northern Ireland, Department of Health, Social Services and Public Safety, May
2006, 4-5.
21
   Survey Of Carers Of Older People In Northern Ireland, Department of Health, Social Services and Public Safety, May
2006, 4-5.
22
   Survey Of Carers Of Older People In Northern Ireland, Department of Health, Social Services and Public Safety, May
2006, 4-5.
23
   Survey Of Carers Of Older People In Northern Ireland, Department of Health, Social Services and Public Safety, May
2006, 4-5.
24
   Survey Of Carers Of Older People In Northern Ireland, Department of Health, Social Services and Public Safety, May
2006, 4-5.
25
   To support the launch of Age Awareness Week 2008 and its theme of rights, the Changing Ageing Partnership
commissioned independent research into rights and older people. Millward Brown Ulster Limited carried out an Omnibus
survey in August which involved 1000 interviews with a representatve sample of the adult population.
http://www.changingageing.org/AgeAwarenessWeek/AgeAwarenessWeek2008/ Accessed 21 January 2011.
26
   To support the launch of Age Awareness Week 2008 and its theme of rights, the Changing Ageing Partnership
commissioned independent research into rights and older people. Millward Brown Ulster Limited carried out an Omnibus
survey in August which involved 1000 interviews with a representatve sample of the adult population.
http://www.changingageing.org/AgeAwarenessWeek/AgeAwarenessWeek2008/ Accessed 21 January 2011.
27
   To support the launch of Age Awareness Week 2008 and its theme of rights, the Changing Ageing Partnership
commissioned independent research into rights and older people. Millward Brown Ulster Limited carried out an Omnibus
survey in August which involved 1000 interviews with a representative sample of the adult population.
http://www.changingageing.org/AgeAwarenessWeek/AgeAwarenessWeek2008/ Accessed 21 January 2011.
28
   To support the launch of Age Awareness Week 2008 and its theme of rights, the Changing Ageing Partnership
commissioned independent research into rights and older people. Millward Brown Ulster Limited carried out an Omnibus
survey in August which involved 1000 interviews with a representatve sample of the adult population.
http://www.changingageing.org/AgeAwarenessWeek/AgeAwarenessWeek2008/ Accessed 21 January 2011.
29
   To support the launch of Age Awareness Week 2008 and its theme of rights, the Changing Ageing Partnership
commissioned independent research into rights and older people. Millward Brown Ulster Limited carried out an Omnibus
survey in August which involved 1000 interviews with a representatve sample of the adult population.
http://www.changingageing.org/AgeAwarenessWeek/AgeAwarenessWeek2008/ Accessed 21 January 2011.
30
   To support the launch of Age Awareness Week 2008 and its theme of rights, the Changing Ageing Partnership
commissioned independent research into rights and older people. Millward Brown Ulster Limited carried out an Omnibus
survey in August which involved 1000 interviews with a representative sample of the adult population.
http://www.changingageing.org/AgeAwarenessWeek/AgeAwarenessWeek2008/ Accessed 21 January 2011.
31
   Age NI (Age Concern Help the Aged NI), One Voice, Shaping our ageing society in Northern Ireland, 2009, 6-7.
32
   Age NI (Age Concern Help the Aged NI), One Voice, Shaping our ageing society in Northern Ireland, 2009, 6-7.
33
   Age NI (Age Concern Help the Aged NI), One Voice, Shaping our ageing society in Northern Ireland, 2009, 6-7.
34
   Age NI (Age Concern Help the Aged NI), One Voice, Shaping our ageing society in Northern Ireland, 2009, 6-7.
35
   Age NI (Age Concern Help the Aged NI), One Voice, Shaping our ageing society in Northern Ireland, 2009, 6-7.
36
   Age NI (Age Concern Help the Aged NI), One Voice, Shaping our ageing society in Northern Ireland, 2009, 6-7.
37
   Age NI (Age Concern Help the Aged NI), One Voice, Shaping our ageing society in Northern Ireland, 2009, 6-7.
38
   Age NI (Age Concern Help the Aged NI), One Voice, Shaping our ageing society in Northern Ireland, 2009, 6-7.
39
   Age NI (Age Concern Help the Aged NI), One Voice, Shaping our ageing society in Northern Ireland, 2009, 6-7.
40
   Age NI (Age Concern Help the Aged NI), One Voice, Shaping our ageing society in Northern Ireland, 2009, 6-7.
41
   Age NI (Age Concern Help the Aged NI), One Voice, Shaping our ageing society in Northern Ireland, 2009, 6-7.
42
   Age NI (Age Concern Help the Aged NI), One Voice, Shaping our ageing society in Northern Ireland, 2009, 6-7.
43
   Age NI (Age Concern Help the Aged NI), One Voice, Shaping our ageing society in Northern Ireland, 2009, 6-7.
44
   Public Attitudes to Health and Social Care Services in Northern Ireland, Public Health Information and Research
Branch, Department of Health, Social Services and Public Safety, 4.
45
   Your Health Matters, The Annual Report of the Chief Medical Officer for Northern Ireland 2009, Department of Health,
Social Services and Public Safety, 2010, 32.
46
   A demographic portrait of Northern Ireland, Population Trends 135, Spring 2009, Office of National Statistics.
47
   A demographic portrait of Northern Ireland, Population Trends 135, Spring 2009, Office of National Statistics.
48
   Equality and Inequalities in Health and Social Care in
Northern Ireland: A Statistical Overview, Department of Health, Social Services and Public Safety, 2004, 5.


Version 1: April 2011
49
   Your Health Matters, The Annual Report of the Chief Medical Officer for Northern Ireland 2009, Department of Health,
Social Services and Public Safety, 2010, 10.
50
   Equality and Inequalities in Health and Social Care in
Northern Ireland: A Statistical Overview, Department of Health, Social Services and Public Safety, 2004, 4.
51
   Equality and Inequalities in Health and Social Care in
Northern Ireland: A Statistical Overview, Department of Health, Social Services and Public Safety, 2004, 4.




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