The UK population is getting older. GILES BROWN asked how businesses will be affected by the UK’s ageing population and how they should prepare?



Debbie McKenna, Hospice at Home Carlisle and North Lakeland


At Hospice at Home Carlisle and North Lakeland, we are looking ahead and planning for the future.

Professor Chris Whitty in 2023 explained that data indicates end of life care is set to increase by 40 per cent by 2040 and that the needs at end of life are changing due to a growth in dementia, frailty and long term conditions.

We need to focus on growth and collaboration with partner organisations to meet the needs of our local population. The cost of providing care is increasing whilst grants awarded are decreasing, we are becoming more reliant on the generosity of the community and business.

We are calling to action a new generation of volunteers to help us raise the 2.2 million pounds we currently spend annually, which is set to increase. This could start with businesses dedicating their ‘Give a Day’ to us and we welcome them to get in touch.


Sandie Donald, Bluebird Care Carlisle


As an established business with 16 years’ experience providing home care in Carlisle, the ageing population is an opportunity.

It is also a challenge because medical advances mean that there will be a much greater older population living longer and managing complex health needs. In response to this we are enhancing our training and support programmes so that our care experts feel competent and confident in making a positive impact on the lives of all Carlisle’s older residents.

The pressure that the NHS is under also means that the increasing trend for fast-track discharges from hospital for older people, and people requiring end of life care, is set to continue. This has resulted in our team developing expertise in responding quickly and working effectively with health professionals to put these very complex care packages in place.

The aging population is also starting to have an impact on the labour market which has led us to think differently about how we recruit new talent, with a focus on targeted demographics and recruitment through referrals. We also prioritise retention of our care experts which is key to maintaining a stable workforce.


Bex Cooper, Director at Kendal’s Crossbank Dental Care


Dentistry is much more physical than most people realise. It’s hard on your back, arms, feet and balance, invites repetitive strain injury and workplace stress. Awareness of dentists burning out and leaving the profession too young, led us to cultivate a deliberately supportive, stimulating environment. This, we soon realised, shouldn’t have an arbitrary age cut-off: it’s our responsibility to help our whole team grow and thrive professionally, personally and healthily.


Ageing doesn’t equal incompetence, just the reverse with growing experience (life as well as dental). Never assume older staff fear the new; indeed, technology can be game-changing. We’re not naïve, at some point eyes and dexterity decline, but passion and knowledge are invaluable. It’s vital to encourage open communication; then we can ensure opportunities for staff to move through skills: from placing implants into mentoring, for example.


Removing age discrimination provides a welcoming environment for staff and clients, enabling us to offer positive, long-term Cumbria career choices beyond tourism. Our team range from dental nurse cadet Molly (18), to vibrant 60+ Head Nurse Jill and Neil - a dentist who “un-retired” and enjoys working two days a week. Our practice is the richer for everyone in it.


Rachel Tyson, Head of Partnerships & Projects, Cumbria Tourism

We know that Cumbria has a ‘super aging’ population and this is something businesses have been aware of – and have been adapting to – for a long time, developing a range of innovative ways to encourage people to consider careers within the visitor economy.

In fact, one of the key elements of our ‘tourism talent hub’ is supporting people of all ages to retrain, upskill and make the most of the new, more flexible opportunities being offered by tourism operators.

The emphasis on strong customer service in tourism-related jobs lends itself well to people looking for a second career in later life, whether they’re looking for a brand-new entrepreneurial challenge or conversely, they want to step back from more managerial responsibilities altogether.

At the same time, any good business will also be aware of the need for robust succession planning. It will be more important than ever to practice proactive business management, regularly revisiting long-term business plans and ensuring there are contingencies in place for future staffing.

Rebecca Graves, Director, NRL



In the nuclear sector, in which I have spent over two decades, we’ve seen first-hand that an ageing workforce brings the risk of losing vital skills and expertise unless we invest time and resources into attracting young people into the sector.

Preparation is key, because replacing years of experience won’t happen overnight. Training programmes need to be put in place, including apprenticeships and clear career paths to provide long-term careers where people can grow their skills, increase their earnings and facilitate a comfortable life for themselves.

For the nuclear sector, this provides an exciting opportunity to get out into the local community and engage with people from all walks of life to help them see nuclear as a career choice for them, especially where it may seem inaccessible to them. Businesses have a great opportunity to engineer positive change as we welcome the next generation of workers.