Commenting on the State of Ageing report by the Centre for Ageing Better, George McNamara, Director of Policy and Influencing at Independent Age, said:
“Later life is something everyone should look forward to. Retirement is often portrayed as final salary pensions, lots of holidays and free time spent with family and friends. But for over 2 million of our older citizens who are trapped in poverty, this is a distant dream. Hardship, poor health, loneliness and isolation are increasingly the experiences of a growing proportion of older people who are being pushed to the margins of society and effectively written off. Poor housing conditions and higher costs of energy meant that 379 elderly people each day died last year as a result of the winter. Later life is becoming a grey-divide between the haves and have nots. But it doesn’t stop there. Ageism is growing in our society, excluding older people from the workplace or from accessing health and care support.
“It should be celebrated that we are living longer. As a society we need a radical re-think about ageing, what it means to live well in later life, and - importantly - the role of government and responsibility of citizens to ensure no one slips through the net, and that everyone can grasp the opportunities and enjoyment that later life presents.
“Today’s publication of The State of Ageing is a loud wake-up call for government, businesses and society as a whole. By 2027, one in five of us will be over 65 years old. We need to harness the skills and productivity of older people, as well as provide support to meet their health and care needs. As a compassionate society, knowing that older people have played their part in the productivity and success of the country, the least we can do is ensure older people can live well.
“Standing by and do nothing will only result in more a more unequal society and one in which many people grow old with fear, insecurity and uncertainty, rather than hope, optimism and enjoyment.”