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A Call to Action: Supporting Devon’s Aging Population with Age UK Exeter

Did you know that Devon’s population has a higher average age, compared with other regions in the UK?  This presents both opportunities and challenges for our community.

While aging often brings its share of challenges, such as frailty and illness, at Age UK Exeter, we’re committed to shifting this narrative. We recognize that aging also opens doors to increased freedom, opportunities for hobbies, and travel. Our services are designed to support individuals throughout the aging process.

Our older people are the backbone of our economy, generously volunteering their time and expertise. However, there’s an urgent need for comprehensive support to help them maintain their independence as they age. With private and employer-sponsored pension provisions declining and a social care system in crisis, addressing old age poverty has become imperative for both individuals and businesses.

Statistics show a significant increase in the population of over 65s in Exeter by 14% in the last decade, with our services being eligible for over 33% of the total population. Specifically, there are currently under 20,000 people diagnosed with dementia in Devon, expected to rise by 10,000 over the next decade.

This crisis extends its impact far beyond individuals and families and carers, it affects the local economy, healthcare, and access to essential services. In the face of limited resources, it’s crucial for businesses, non-profits, and government to collaborate effectively to address local needs.

Age UK Exeter, a local charity with over 30 years of experience, is leading the charge in providing essential support services to older individuals and families. As demand surges post-pandemic, we’re seeking strategic partnerships to ensure effective support delivery.

Our services have witnessed remarkable growth, with demand doubling over the past year alone. From July to September 2023, we made over 10,000 contacts with older individuals, experiencing an 80% increase in the number of people we serve year-on-year. Additionally, our volunteer visiting scheme connects over 40 volunteers with more than 60 clients monthly, tackling the growing issues of loneliness and isolation.

Despite the significant contributions of those over 50 to society, negative attitudes and ageism persist. Over 21 million people in the UK are aged over 50, comprising nearly 40% of the population.

While we generate income through various projects, we heavily rely on donations and grants to fill gaps in funding, particularly for services like dementia care and volunteer visiting.

The demand for our services has doubled, with over 10,000 contacts made in just three months. It’s crucial for us to ensure sustainability to meet the increasing need for years to come.

Please join us in a vital dialogue to explore how your business can contribute to supporting older community members, while meeting your organizational goals effectively.

Together, we can strengthen Devon’s social fabric and build a more resilient, self-sufficient community.

Nicky Flynn

Chief Executive Officer