The dramatic ageing of societies will not be addressed successfully by generalised policies for all older people, but by concerted action to tackle major inequalities in income, health and well‐being and social inclusion. Such approaches must form part of a life course strategy which deals with disadvantages owing to gender, ethnicity and socio‐economic origins and uses mid‐life and retirement as windows of opportunity. Paradoxically, the current economic difficulties cause the right conditions for a new drive to reduce unequal ageing. A concordat is needed across state, business, voluntary sector and media if it is to be a realistic possibility.
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