John Harris

Journalist & Author

We need to talk about ageing – and it’s about far more than the NHS | John Harris

By 2050, 25% of the population will be over 65 – many living in solitude. Loneliness is becoming one of our biggest problems

The NHS crisis goes on, and its causes are clear: the government’s underfunding of the health service, and the eternally overlooked cuts to funding for adult social care provided by local councils, both of which go back to the 2010-15 coalition. Though some voices issue the usual cliched warnings about the NHS being a political football, the Conservatives – and Liberal Democrats – responsible should not be allowed to slip free of the blame.

In the short term, the solutions are clearly a change of government, and more money. But by 2050 one in four of us will be over 65 – and on current projections, such conditions as diabetes, heart disease, arthritis and Alzheimer’s will be an everyday fact of vast numbers of lives. If we’re not careful, this winter’s horrors could be a portent of problems that will get increasingly worse, whoever is in power.

Related: Loneliness is killing us – we must start treating this disease | Philippa Perry

Longer lives, clearly, ought to be cause for some celebration

Related: The state of social care shames us all

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