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Author: Age NI
Published on 31 October 2011 10:30 AM

NISRA statistics published yesterday predicting a 32% increase by 2021 in the number of people over seventy should be welcomed as an opportunity, says Anne O’Reilly, Age NI Chief Executive.

‘The release of new population projections from NISRA yesterday brings the issue of demographic ageing into sharp focus once again.  By 2021, 13% of our population will be over seventy which we believe is already a success story for Northern Ireland.  Older people make a huge contribution to society as workers, carers and volunteers and we should look to later life as a time to experience a diverse range of life opportunities and to contribute, learn and develop even further.

‘Of course, for many older people in Northern Ireland, the ageing story is not a positive one – 23% of older people are living in poverty here.  However we believe that with strong, forward looking policies we could change this dynamic. Longer working lives could fuel employment growth over the next decade and support economic recovery; across the UK, the value of the ‘grey’ pound is nearing £100 billion each year; people in later life provide the lion’s share of care for partners, parents and grandchildren. Added to this, retirement is the ideal opportunity to take part in community life and volunteering. This is just some of the potential which needs to be addressed by stripping away age-based barriers and creating the right mix of government policies and spending plans over the next ten years.

Anne continued, ‘These NISRA projections provide us with time for planning and time for implementation, but eventually time will run out.  We call on OFMDFM to immediately prioritise the publication of the Ageing Strategy, and drive implementation as soon as possible.  We also ask that the Finance and Personnel Committee uses its power of inquiry to prioritise an investigation into the economic implications of our ageing population to support the development of a range of fiscal and social policies.   Age NI is all too aware that we are living in challenging economic times, however the impact of our ageing population must be taken into consideration immediately because of the competing demands on our public purse – the right social and economic policies will deliver not only  better outcomes for older people but value for money for us all.’

- Ends -

Notes to Editors

About Age NI 

  1. Age NI is the new charity combining Age Concern NI and Help the Aged in Northern Ireland.
  2. Age NI delivers care services, provides advice and advocacy, campaigns, fundraises and influences our decision-makers to improve later life for us all.
  3. Visit to find out more about the charity or follow us on & twitter @Age_NI
  4. If you, or an older person you know, is in need of advice, information or practical support on a wide range of issues including welfare benefits, community care, housing and health, contact the Age NI Advice Service on Freephone 0808 808 7575 to speak to a specialist advisor in confidence.

For more information: Call Age NI Advice: 0808 808 7575