Professionals including pharmacists and meals on wheels staff could help tackle the UK’s ageing crisis by encouraging elderly people to take exercise, according to campaigners.
A new report from ukactive says innovative solutions for keeping older people active and independent could save billions of pounds in NHS and social care costs.
With one in five of the UK population due to be aged 65 or more by 2025 and social care currently costing the country £100bn per year, the authors warn that failure to promote regular physical activity among older adults could prove ‘catastrophic’.
They say only one in five English local authorities have physical activity strategy for care homes, yet getting over-65s active could save the NHS £12bn.
Older adults are at greater risk of ill health because of the widely-held belief they should ‘take it easy’, ukactive argue.
They recommend a national activity therapy service to encourage physical activity and give advice on how to be more active.
Steven Ward of ukactive said: ‘We need to make physical activity the natural choice from cradle to grave and that means putting exercise – the miracle cure – at the heart of our health and social care systems, especially for older adults.’