Over three quarters (77 per cent) of adults are looking forward to living longer but nine out of ten (91 per cent) are highlighting the changes that need to be made in society to help us all lead a better later life, according to new research from Age UK.
The research, commissioned to understand more about people’s attitudes towards ageing and living longer, reveals over four out of five (83 per cent) adults believe negative perceptions of later life need to change.
Positive attitude key to living longer
The survey found that over half of adults (53 per cent) have a generally positive attitude towards ageing and that positive attitudes increase the older we get. Half (50 per cent) of those aged 85 years and above believe that having a positive attitude to ageing is the key to living longer, which is proven to benefit older individuals’ health, so there is a message for us all to take from their wisdom and experience.
Over half (57 per cent) of those aged 55 and over have a positive attitude towards ageing and almost two thirds (63 per cent) of those aged between 55 and 64 view later life as a chance to ‘seize the moment’ and use these years to do all the things there hasn’t been time to do yet.
It’s time for society to change as the population ages
One in five people in Great Britain will be aged 65 and over by 2020ii and this growing number of people in later life is a cause for real celebration. However, the growth of an older population needs commitment from policy makers in terms of investment in the sorts of services an ageing society will rely on.
When asked what needs to be done to help us all lead a better later life, half (50 per cent) of those surveyed said that treating older people with dignity in care homes and hospitals is one of the most important aspects of later life to address. Unfortunately too many older people do not get the care they need and Age UK is campaigning hard for improvements to be made.
The research findings come as Age UK launches its new vision, ‘Love later life’ with a new approach that starts with a TV advert featuring a poem written by one of Britain’s best-loved poets, Roger McGough. Through ‘Love later life’, Age UK wants to encourage people to think differently about getting older and demonstrate that older people have a valued role in society. It also highlights how the Charity can help more people make the most of later life, whether for themselves, their friends, families or communities.
Caroline Abrahams, Charity Director at Age UK, said: “Age UK is passionate that everyone should have the opportunity to be able to make the most of later life, whatever their circumstances. Unfortunately, at the moment we know that many older people are not able to enjoy later life and we see it as a crucial part of our job at Age UK to do everything we can to change that through both our services and campaigning work. But we can’t do this alone, so it’s heartening and inspiring to see that so many people think changes and improvements need to be made.
“We hope that our new, more positive and more ambitious approach will help us to encourage people of all ages to get involved and support the cause through volunteering, campaigning and fundraising with us.”
Love later life has also attracted a number of celebrity figures with Alastair Stewart, Miriam Margolyes, Zoe Wanamaker, Pam St Clement, Lesley Joseph, Sir Roger Moore, June Whitfield, Barbara Windsor, Diana Moran, Christopher Biggins, Lionel Blair, Alison Steadman and Liz McClarnon all lending their support.
To find out more about Age UK and how to get involved, visit www.ageuk.org.uk/lovelaterlife. People can join the ‘Love later life’ conversation on Facebook and Twitter and share their stories and experiences using hashtag #lovelaterlife. To donate call 0800 169 60 60 or go to www.ageuk.org.uk.