BY 2025 nearly a third of North Yorkshire’s population will be aged 65 and over, according to a new report – but those in the wealthiest areas are already living 13 years longer than those in the poorest.

In his fifth annual report, North Yorkshire’s Director of Public Health, Dr Lincoln Sergeant, focused on the county’s older population and looked at why the achievements of longer lifespans must be matched by societal changes in attitudes and response to the elderly.

The report - entitled Healthy Transitions; growing old in North Yorkshire - also revealed huge disparities in life expectancy according to where you lived in North Yorkshire.

Generally North Yorkshire's population lives longer, compared to the average for England, but men in the most deprived communities in Scarborough are living to 72 years, which is 13 years less than those in the least deprived area, Craven, who have a life expectancy of 85.

There has been a 27 per cent increase of older people living in North Yorkshire since 2005 – amounting to an increase of 30,000 older people - whilst the overall population has grown by only 19,500, or three per cent in the same period.

According to the report, 97 per cent of the increase is due to baby boomers born between 1940 and 1964 now ageing.

The rest of the increase has been caused by people migrating to North Yorkshire when they’re aged between 50 and 64 and those migrating into North Yorkshire in older age, accounting for one per cent.

There were as many people aged 75 and over as there were children under ten.

By 2025 the number of people aged 65 and over will rise to more than 169,000, or 28 per cent of the population. The greatest increase will be in the 75 to 79 age group, which will increase by 44 per cent.

In his report, Dr Sergeant said the move from independent living to needing support or care in older age was a “natural and biological progression” and stated:

“A more radical rethinking of how we embrace frail older people as integral to our societies and communities is needed. The fact that someone needs care does not reduce their importance as a member of the community or diminish the contributions they still make.”

Dr Sergeant’s report recommends policies and services in the county should promote healthy ageing and that employers should help workers to plan for retirement with financial planning, ill health prevention, mental and emotional resilience and enable them to maintain links with their workplace after retirement.

His report also recommended older people and their carers have information on coping with physical, social and mental issues and end-of-life care be better co-ordinated across the county with specialist carers being given appropriate training.