I’m a great fan of the National Lottery not because I think I’m ever going to win it but more because of what it funds. It seems to be very good at buying us Olympic gold medals for a start. Yesterday while googling ‘retirement transition’ I came across the ‘Centre for Ageing Better’ which is funded by the National Lottery.
It made me realise how lucky I am to be fit, free and financially solvent when most people of my age are anything but. Among the wide range of useful information on their website, I found the rather excellent report ‘The State of Ageing, Adding life to our years’
‘Adding life to our years’, I like that phrase. It’s definitely worth a read. Here are just a few of the more interesting take-aways from the report some reassuring, some depressing.
- People at 65 can expect to live just half of the remainder of their life without disability. Men can expect to live about half the remainder of their life without disability – ten of their 19 years. For women, the picture is worse – only ten of their extra 21 years is spent without disability on average.
- The proportion of people who struggle with ‘activities of daily living’ – basic routine activities like eating, bathing and dressing – rises with age. Those aged 50 and over in the poorest quintile of the population are almost four times more likely than those in the wealthiest quintile to experience difficulties performing at least one activity of daily living.
- Health conditions are forcing many people in their 40s, 50s and 60s out of the labour market completely. As the state pension age rises, they will experience longer periods of worklessness before they can draw the state pension. More than one in five people aged 55-64 in England have a health problem that limits the kind of or amount of work they can do. This age group is running out of time to save adequately for old age and make up for time spent out of work.
Life satisfaction peaks at 70
Despite all this older people are some of the most satisfied with life. In the UK, life satisfaction peaks between 70 and 74, with this age group scoring on average 8 out of 10 in response to the question: ‘How satisfied are you with your life nowadays?’
Among people aged between 65 and 84, more than 40% give a very high rating (a score of 9 or 10 on a scale of 0-10) for how worthwhile they feel the things they do are. After the age of 85, this proportion declines, to 38% of people aged 85 to 89 and 31% of those aged 90 and over.
Most people in later life feel connected to and supported by friends and family. About 89% of people over 65 in the UK feel they can rely on a spouse, family member or friend if they have a serious problem and most people are in frequent weekly contact with family and friends from their 50s up to their 80s.
In fact, 80% of people aged 75 and over see family or friends at least once a week and 86% speak to friends or family at least once a week. That’s a reassuring to know in these coronavirus crisis times.