Skip to content

Later Life in 2015

We want to ensure that what we do starts with the person and is relevant and beneficial to those we want to help.

We partnered with Ipsos MORI to undertake a major social research project exploring people’s wellbeing in later life.

Key dimensions of a good later life

The research identified three key dimensions of a good later life – health, financial security and social connections. These were consistent regardless of gender, ethnicity or other socio-demographic characteristics.

These dimensions are interrelated and all influence each other. They also have an impact on the extent to which people feel happy, satisfied with their lives and that their life has meaning and they are in control. Interestingly, the study revealed the significance of strong social connections and how they help some people to overcome disadvantages such as poor health or a lack of financial security.

Six later life segments

There is wide variation in how people experience later life. We identified six groups of people aged 50 and over according to their experiences, circumstances and levels of wellbeing. These groups (or segments) are of broadly similar size and are distributed evenly across the country:

  • Thriving Boomer – While not true of everyone in this segment, they are more likely to be in their 60s and living with a partner.
  • Downbeat Boomers – This segment is similar demographically to the Thriving Boomers, but very different in their outlook.
  • Can Do and Connected – While this description does not match all those in this segment, they are more likely to be women aged 70+ who are single or widowed.
  • Worried and Disconnected – While not true of all those in this segment, they are typically similar demographically to those classed as Can do and Connected, but with weaker social connections and a more negative outlook on later life.
  • Squeezed Middle Aged – While not true of all in this segment, they are predominantly in their 50s, and typically married or living with a partner. They are more likely to be in good health than average. They also are mostly working full time – retirement seems like a long way off.
  • Struggling and Alone – This segment are distributed across the age range but are most likely to be aged 50-59 or 80+. While not the case for all in this segment, many of them live on their own.

Wellbeing in later life

There are opportunities to learn from those groups that have higher levels of wellbeing than could be expected on the basis of their health, financial situation or social connections.

We are using the many insights from this study to help inform which topics we focus on and who we work with to affect change.

Later life in 2015 report

For more information see: