Census 2001 helps us understand the trends and implications of the ageing society in England and Wales, and throws up a number of insights into this.
There are about 336,000 people aged 90 and over, and of these nearly 4,000 are providing 50 or more hours of unpaid care per week to another family member or friend. Although only 26.2 per cent of people aged 90 and over living in households are men, they make up just over half of the carers in this age bracket.
Single-pensioner households make up 14.4 per cent of all households, but more than two-thirds of these (68.2 per cent or 2,129,000 pensioners) have no access to a car. Conversely, for pensioner-family households over three-quarters have access to at least one car. This may reflect the fact that over three-quarters of single-pensioner households comprise women (2,366,000) many of whom were brought up in an age when fewer women learned to drive.
More than half of women aged 75 and over live alone - 52.5 per cent of 75-84 year olds and 54.5 per cent of 85 year olds and over. However, only 25.7 per cent of men aged 75-84 and 36.9 per cent of men aged 85 and over live alone.
A total of 3,000 women and 2,000 men aged 75 and over have neither central heating nor sole use of a bathroom (not including residents of communal establishments).
While the proportion of people who say they are in 'not good health' generally increases with age, there is a slight decrease for men aged 65 to 69 and no increase for women aged 60 to 64. Over the age of 85, 26.5 per cent of men and 21.9 per cent of women say they are in 'good health'.