New research from Age UK London has revealed that, while more than half of older Londoners (59%) feel positive about living in the city, only 13% consider London a place where older people are valued. Underpinning these feelings of being undervalued, the report identified financial worries as a chief concern, with over a third (36%) saying London is becoming increasingly unaffordable for them.
The research, published in a report titled ‘Older Londoners: the highs and lows of living in the capital,’ was carried out with over 1,000 Londoners aged over 60. The report considers a wide array of views and experiences, including health and wellbeing, finances, housing, public transport, public spaces, and family and community connections.
When it came to health and wellbeing, the majority (93%) say that their health is important, but only 64% were satisfied with their current health. Just over a quarter (37%) of older Londoners agreed with the statement ‘I feel confident I will get quality healthcare when I need it’ and there were concerns about future of healthcare, despite many being in good health now.
Financial insecurity and poor health or disability significantly impact the attitudes and experiences of life in the capital for older Londoners. When it came to feelings of loneliness, 23% of older Londoners who have a disability or long-term health condition reported often feel lonely, compared with 12% of those who do not. Almost a quarter (24%) of those who are reliant on a state pension and rent from a local authority say they ‘often feel lonely’, compared with 16% of older Londoners with private pensions who own their home.
Abi Wood, CEO of Age UK London said:
“Older Londoners told us that they really love London and the communities to which they belong, but they’re unconvinced that the city values them. What really stood out from this research is that inequalities have a massive impact of how over 60s feel about living in London on every measure. Older people who are living only on state pensions, in social or private rented housing and who are in poor health, experience a vastly different London to their peers. Action is needed to make London work for all older people.”
The research has been published as the international community celebrates the United Nations International Day of Older Persons on 1 October and Silver Sunday, a celebration of older people in the UK on the same day.
Abi Wood concluded: “Decision makers urgently need to look at what older Londoners are saying now and reflect this in every decision they make – this is the fastest growing demographic in the capital and yet this isn’t reflected in decision making.”