With an ageing population and increasing numbers of us living in to late old age, attitudes to later life have never been more relevant. At the same time, our straitened economic position and pressures on public services to meet financial challenges whilst providing for these growing numbers of over 6os, means the debate often hinges on economic and political issues.
The ‘burden’ of our ageing population is frequently stressed, accompanied by an emphasis on inequalities between generations that incite division.
Yet, one of the strongest messages to come out of a session I chaired last week at Age UK’s For Later Life conference was that the media furore on the ‘burden of ageing’ is not reflected in public attitudes.
Ben Page of Ipsos Mori revealed polling showing that 68% of people aren’t satisfied with the Government’s treatment of older people and that care for the elderly is consistently amongst the top three scoring issues of concern to people of all ages.
I believe this polling strikes at the heart of the debate about attitudes to later life, illustrating the gap between political and media rhetoric and the views of the individual. But why is there such a gap? How do we form our attitudes to later life? And are they showing signs of changing, heralding strains on intergenerational relations? Continue reading
Posted in Conferences, General
Tagged #forlaterlife, Age UK, Age UK blog, Ageing, ageing population, ageing society, Agenda for Later Life, Agenda for Later Life 2013 report, attitudes to ageing, Ben Page Ipsos Mori, For Later Life conference, Government & society, intergen, intergenerational, intergenerational conflict, Ipsos Mori, Later life, Michelle Mitchell Age UK, Michelle Mitchell Charity Director General, older people, public attitudes, Public attitudes to later life
In 2012, the Office for National Statistics estimated that there are nearly 1.5 million people aged 85 and over in the UK. We are only at the beginning of an estimated escalation of numbers of people in this age group, projected to reach 5 million by 2050. What was formerly a small number of exceptional individuals is rapidly becoming a whole new generation for families in this country: the ‘Fourth Generation’.
Over recent years, through research, our contact with leading experts, and our engagement with older people, it has become apparent to Age UK that we all need to know more about these ‘oldest old’. Often what we hear are stereotypes held over from days gone by – that these oldest people are all frail and in care homes, their useful life over. We are concerned that all of us who make decisions concerning their welfare need help to get up to date with their nature and needs.
So we asked experts to write summaries of what is known in their area of research about the ‘oldest old’. We’ve collected these lay-person summaries into a short book, ‘Understanding the Oldest Old.’ Continue reading
Posted in General, Research
Tagged Age UK, Age UK blog, Ageing, ageing population, ageing society, best practise, demographic change, fourth generation, Health & wellbeing, isolation, Later life, loneliness, older people, oldest old, over 85, over 85's, policy, practice, public attitudes, public policy, research, Understanding the Oldest Old, younger old