Assessing the impact of an ageing population and increasing levels of chronic illness and disability.
In Northern Ireland, as in other developed countries, life expectancy is increasing and the population is rapidly ageing. However, official figures show that people in Northern Ireland experience more years of ill health or disability than any other part of the UK. The interplay between longer life and health has introduced the ‘compression of morbidity’ concept of the postponement of chronic disease and disability until later years. However, research conducted on the interplay between disability, health and ageing is limited and achieving a greater understanding of the impact of both an increase in the number and proportion of older people in the population on health and on disability levels is important to inform future policy and the delivery of services.