UK life expectancy has stalled in the UK for the first time in 100 years according to data released by the ONS. The somewhat depressing statistic shows that improvements in life expectancy have slowed to their lowest level since records began.
Up until now, life expectancy has been steadily increasing in the UK. On average, men gained an extra year every three and a half years while women gained one every five years. But that statistic doesn’t tell the whole story, the trend has halved since 2010 with men gaining one-year every six and women one-year every ten over the period.
The latest data shows that has decreased further, with a girl born in England between 2015-17 now having a life expectancy of 82.9 years, no change from 2014-2016, while a boy has a life expectancy of 79.2 years, also unchanged. The data is even more depressing for Scotland where life expectancy has actually fallen by 0.1 years, with a Northern Ireland suffering a similar result.
What is the reason for the decline? Health experts place the blame on cuts in social services and care budgets which have come under pressure since the implementation of austerity measures. Which coincidently were introduced in 2010, the year life expectancy started to slow.
However, it’s not all bad news, while life expectancy beyond 90 years of age has stalled, there are still more people over 90 years of age living in the UK than at any point in history. This is due to the compound effect of improved mortality rates which go back many decades since the outbreak of the First World War.
But with more nonagenarians living in the UK than ever before, social care budgets are struggling to cope. Health experts have called the current system inadequate and close to breaking point. It is clear then if the decline in life expectancy is to be arrested, the social care system in the UK requires root and branch overhaul.
While the government has promised an increase in NHS funding over the next five years, it is not clear how this will be spent or how much of it will be channelled towards improving social care for the elderly. With the NHS funding gap expected to reach £30 billion by 2020/21, it is almost certainly not enough to make a difference.
It is in everyone’s interest then that they put enough aside each month to ensure they have adequate provision for care when they get older. And while you may not like to think about it now, you should also ensure you have enough left over for funeral expenses when the inevitable does happen.
Many life insurance policies are available which provide a lump sum to help pay for funeral expenses when the time arrives. By making provisions for these inevitable events now, you can prevent a great deal of stress and heartache for your family in the future. There are also many types of pre-paid funeral packages available to ensure that everything is already taken care of once your final days arrive.