Social inequality – What does this mean for an ageing Britain?
By Amir Amraie, Pharmacist and HealthTech entrepreneur and writer
“The definition of ageing has forever changed here in the UK”... and the proportion of those working over 65 has doubled since 2002. These were the words of Professor Andrew Scott at the launch of the All-Party Parliamentary Group for Longevity on 7th May 2019. For we are living longer, healthier and happier lives. But is this true for all of us here in the UK?
Lord Filkin states: “Britain stands to either suffer or benefit from the growing ageing demographic shift on how it responds”.
Tina Woods, CEO and Co-Founder of Longevity International, adds: “The APPG will explore how AI-driven preventative health can address social determinants of health and reduce the financial burden of an aging population”.
Damian Green adds: “We need to encourage business to help all citizens, from birth to old age, make better decisions on keeping healthy and active for longer… to harness the opportunities of a longer life”.
The Government has set a goal that by 2035 we should all be able to live 5 extra healthy, independent years.
What does this all mean?
Let’s begin by looking at these two groups in Britain, the affluent and the less affluent. Both are living longer, with the average life expectancy increased, but there is a disparity, a social disparity. On one hand the more affluent age well, live longer, healthier and happier lives (becoming successful founders, leaders, doctors…), but on the other, the less affluent age poorly, yet live longer, but unhealthier and unhappier lives (alcohol/drug misuse, procrastination, lacking clarity or in jobs they hate/ with people they don’t like…). Why? And the gap has only widened with obesity, unemployment, homelessness as major social concerns that come with the social disparity of an ageing Britain, why?
Did you know if you took all the wealth in the world and divided it evenly among everyone, it would still end up in the same pockets. Why? The same people would be happy, wealthy, live longer, healthier lives, and the same people would soon go back to the jobs they hate, people they hate, life they hate… why? It’s not wealth, it’s about education. And specifically, strategic education which the ‘do haves’ get, but ‘have nots’ often don’t. What is strategic education?
I believe the solution is through bridging this gap through prevention (anticipation of burden) instead of action, and to do so is through strategic education. And what do I mean by that? What the affluent have access too, are very good mentors to teach and facilitate practice of these four determinants of success, longevity and quality of life 1. Financial literacy, 2. Emotional literacy, 3. Personal development 4. Self-control/clarity/focus (which I believe entail all and the same).
We all share a story, and one that makes each and every one of us unique. Through mine, my parents came to the UK to seek a better life, and I come from a background of ethnic minorities. I went to a normal public school, had a normal education, and these four determinants of success, longevity and quality of life, I did not learn these at school; my parents did not even know these, so how could they teach me? I was immersed and knew only the world I was in. It was only however when I started university that I learned there was a different angle, people had a different angle... I met students, leaders, and all those from affluent backgrounds and befriended many of them. I began to learn that what these people all have in common is that they think differently about life, about people, about money than me. I asked myself three questions about stage, that truly changed my life... Where am I at right now? Where are they at? What is the obstacle I must overcome to close this gap? It was this last question that made me commit to the journey of identifying these four determinants of success, longevity and quality of life.
1. Financial literacy
2. Emotional literacy
3. Personal development
On Thursday 16th May, I attended a talk by Richard Gold from Health Beyond The Fog at the Health Foundry, London. Together with his partner Andy Wilkins he is ‘challenging the status quo of social norm of how people feel about their health’. He says that: “With today’s technology and digital health environment, it’s not about what we can do, and what this means for people… it's about how do we create a system which reaches everyone, especially those hard to reach people in order to provide equal access to all’. And I believe strategic education will be the most important component to this system.
It is about educating the ‘have nots’ in the same four determinants of success, longevity and quality of life that the ‘do haves’ do have. I believe this would close the gap between social inequality in the UK, and in doing so improve quality, and length of life for many more people.
We must first identify precisely which groups of people are less affluent.
We must then decide what content we should use and exactly how we should package it.
Then we must then decide what distribution channels do we use to reach these people.
About the author.
Amir Amraie is a registered Pharmacist and Marketing and Branding Professional for healthcare and soon to be author of the book ‘Healthtech’. In his field of pharmacy, he has been working in primary care particularly in general practice and community pharmacy. He has also been Head of the Beanstalks Health Startup Programme at GIANT Health Events.