SCARBOROUGH is set to experience its biggest population growth in a century, it has been claimed.
The projections, obtained via a Freedom of Information request made to Scarborough Council, predict a dramatic rise in the number of over 65s living in the Scarborough borough over the next two decades, putting a huge strain on resources.
The age group would make up almost a third of the borough’s total population.
That is a substantial increase from the last count in 2008, when the figure stood at 22.3 per cent, and well above the national estimate for 2033 of 23 per cent.
And the borough’s overall population is expected to grow to 122,800, a 13.2 per cent increase.
However, the number of teenage residents is expected to plunge, with the number of 15-19 year olds predicted to fall by 10 per cent. North Yorkshire County Council largely attributes that to a drop in the birth rate, as well as an increase in the numbers leaving the area for higher education.
Lyndsey Bowman, 34, a mum-of-two who lives in Alexandra Park, said: “It’s a nice place to raise a family, but I can see why so many youngsters want to leave when they get to that age. Really, what is there to do? I have a 15-year-old son and you worry that sometimes they are just going to look for trouble because they are just so bored.”
By 2033, the borough is forecast to be home to 3,400 people aged 90 or over – a massive 209.1 per cent increase on the current figure.
Factors for the increase in life expectancy include advancements in medicine and care. However, it is these resources that could find themselves under enormous pressure to cope with the increase in demand from Scarborough’s ageing residents.
Jayne Brown, chief executive of NHS North Yorkshire and York, said: “The increase in our population who are over 65 years old is something we have already made strides to address but there remains a lot of work to be done.
“The new leaders of the NHS will face significant challenges to modernise health and social care services so they meet the demands of the changing demographics of our society whilst operating within their financial means.”
Grandmother Ginny Bowman, 69, from Newlands, said: “I have lived in Scarborough for 45 years now, and it’s a lovely place to visit. I think that’s why so many old people move to the area and want to come here to retire.
“I think there’s a lot of nice things for older people to be doing, but for the younger generation, there’s nothing.”
The increases in longevity is also like to have an adverse effect on workers, with people not only having to work longer, but also having to pay expected tax increases to cover the rising cost of care for the elderly.
But Angela Smith, from Scarborough and District Older People’s Forum, said: “The National Association of Pension Funds has said that there should be enough money to cover the costs of these changes, so why are the elderly being targeted and blamed when we have all contributed enough towards the cost?
“As the town is getting older, we hope that those who are most vulnerable don’t get left by the wayside, and that they are given the care that they deserve.”