Ageing Demographic

We are getting older.

Older hands holding mug of tea at window sill

The Challenge

As a population, we are all getting older. Within rural areas, the proportion of older people tends to be higher than in urban ones – and the more remote the area, the fewer people under 45 live there.

Having older people among your community is a great asset, with plenty of knowledge and experience to tap into, as well as time to volunteer and help out. But growing older can also bring challenges, around:

  • Keeping physically active in a safe way, from walks to seated exercise
  • Being well-connected socially and staying mentally active
  • Help at home, with tasks such as cooking, cleaning, gardening and more
  • Home adaptations or suitable housing to move to locally, such as sheltered housing or single-level homes
  • Access to specialist advice, services or networks on health and wellbeing issues, from monitoring blood pressure to dementia support.


of the rural population is over 65, compared to 16.3% in urban areas.


Services that are more personal, such as help with getting up or washing, may also be needed – by older people or others affected by an illness or accident. These are social care services. Generally, these have to be provided by someone with the right training and checks to ensure everyone is safe. The same is true with all people considered more vulnerable, whether because of their age or any disabilities or impairments.

Just be aware of this and get advice if you want to develop support more locally in a safe and legal way. Of course, often it is  older people themselves who are giving rather than receiving care – especially within the family.

Older people walking withe younger one

The more rural the settlement type, the fewer people under 45 years there are.

ONS 2014

Areas with the highest proportions of older people include Cumbria, Devon, Dorset, Lincolnshire and Somerset. The oldest older people (those over 85) are overrepresented in rural areas especially the South, the South West and East Anglia.

LGA and Public Health England

Health and wellbeing in rural areas