While it is true that most people don’t have expectations of perfect health in later life, most people hope that their health and physical condition will be ‘good enough’ to do the things that matter to them; to go out and to socialise, to work for as long as they desire, and to be able to look after themselves, including washing and dressing, unaided. The reality is that while we are living for longer, a significant and increasing proportion of people are managing multiple health conditions and mobility problems from mid-life onwards. Of people aged 50 to 64, 23% have three or more long-term health conditions.
Health is more than just the absence of disease. It is our capacity to do the things we want. We must tackle the causes of preventable ill health and disability, such as smoking, poor diet, lack of exercise and excessive alcohol consumption to support our future selves.