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Major new insight into later life in 2015

Social connections are as important as money and health to a good later life, according to a major new study published today by the Centre for Ageing Better.

The study reveals the strong links between health, financial security and social connections in determining whether we enjoy our later life.

The study, Later Life in 2015 was conducted with Ipsos MORI and reveals that social connections are as important as money and health. It reveals the strong links between health, financial security and social connections in determining whether we enjoy our later life. It is possible to enjoy a happy and fulfilled later life despite having some health and money problems.

It also finds there is wide variation in how people experience later life. The report identified six groups of people aged 50 and over according to their experiences, circumstances and levels of wellbeing. These groups are of broadly similar size and are distributed evenly across the country. They are:

  • Thriving Boomers
  • Downbeat Boomers
  • Can Do and Connected
  • Worried and Disconnected
  • Squeezed Middle Aged
  • Struggling and Alone

You can read more in the full report here: Later life in 2015: An analysis of the views and experiences of people aged 50 and over.

You can also explore the six groups and find out more about how people are experiencing older age today in this interactive report.

Understanding of these groups is helping to identify ways we can help everyone better prepare for older age. We are using the many insights from this study to help inform our work over the coming years. Importantly, the study – combined with feedback from many of our stakeholders and other analysis of existing programmes – has helped to confirm which topics we will focus on initially.

We want more people in the future to say:

I feel prepared for later life

I am active and connected

I feel in control

Anna Dixon, Chief Executive of the Centre for Ageing Better, said:

“Living longer is potentially the greatest gift of our lives and a huge opportunity for society. But as well as adding years to life, we need to add life to years – enabling people to enjoy a good later life. While good health and financial security are already seen as important, the value of human relationships is often ignored. By understanding more about what influences happiness in later life, we can ensure fewer people miss out. The Centre for Ageing Better will work with others to help people prepare for the future, stay active and connected, and feel in control. We will use evidence about what works to bring about changes so that in future more people will enjoy a good later life.”

Lord Geoffrey Filkin, Chair of the Centre for Ageing Better said:

We are still “woefully unprepared” for our ageing society, as more of us live longer lives.

“This new research shows that there are millions of people on the cusp of older age who are at risk of missing out on the benefits and opportunities that a longer life can bring. Individuals, communities, businesses and Government need to act. I hope this report leads to more people understanding and acting on the issues so more of us can enjoy a good later life.”