COPDA group of leading charities for older people have warned ministers that they need to do more to prepare for the health challenges created by the UK's ageing population.

A poll of 2,200 adults by care provider Anchor found more than three quarters believe the government is not ready to cope with changing UK demographics.

Jane Ashcroft, chief executive of Anchor, said the government risked "burying its head in the sand" on the issue.

"We ask government to prove to the public that they can future-proof policy. 137,000 people signed Anchor's petition for a minister for older people," she added.

The survey results prompted the Ready for Ageing Alliance to also call for action to be taken as the situation was "crucial for a happier old age for future generations".

Minister for Older People
Despite a government spokesperson insisting they have an ambitious programme for the elderly, a vast majority of people (76%) say they would be more convinced of that commitment by the apppointment of a 'Minister for Older People'.

George McNamara, head of policy and public affairs at the Alzheimer's Society, added: "By failing to prepare for the effect of an ageing population, we could be preparing to fail.

"While the government needs to plan for the impact of an ageing society, the public also needs to give more consideration to planning for their own old age. We ignore the challenge of an ageing population at our peril."

The survey came as Office for National Statistics figures showed there were 12,320 people aged over 100 in England and Wales in 2012 compared with just 2,560 three decades ago.

The Ready for Ageing Alliance comprises eight charities consisting of Age UK, Alzheimer's Society, Anchor, Carers UK, Centre for Policy on Ageing, Independent Age, International Longevity Centre UK and Joseph Rowntree Foundation.