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Source : Richard Brooks
Published on 12 December 2012 12:01 AM
A new online poll for Age UK reveals that 62% of people aged 65 and over believe it's important to have a romantic partner as they grow older, with 1 in 8 (12%) actively seeking a new relationship.
But as well as an eye for romance, the survey shows the importance of enduring friendship. More than half (54%) of those polled say they have a best friend, with two thirds (66%) of these having been best friends for more than 20 years – bringing a literal meaning to the phrase ‘friends forever’. 83% of the people surveyed thought friendship becomes more important in later life
These results highlight the value of companionship – romantic or platonic – in later life. The top reasons those aged 65 and over surveyed gave for wanting to find love were:
Despite a longing to build new relationships, over a third of those surveyed (35%) thought they were too old to join the dating game again, worrying about rejection and what other people will think. For nearly a quarter (23%), it was their children's reactions they were particularly concerned about.
Similarly, nearly half of those surveyed (48%) find it more difficult to make friends as the years pass.
The role of friends and family is vital in helping older people to find love and companionship in later years, with nearly half (48%) relying on those who know them best to set them up. The findings also showed that a brave minority of over-65s (17%) would try dating websites.
Relationship expert Donna Dawson commented: 'The need to love and be loved, whether by a friend or a partner, does not change as we grow older. What can change, however, is our attitude to ourselves and how we feel we ought to act.
'We need to remember we are the same person we always were, with our own needs and wants and it’s important we embrace opportunities such as taking up new hobbies or meeting others, in order to keep us stimulated and healthy, and to maintain our emotional wellbeing.'
The poll has been commissioned to coincide with Age UK’s Spread the Warmth campaign, which aims to keep older people across the country warm and well in winter, preventing isolation and helping people in later life to meet new people and try new activities.
Commenting on the survey, Lucy Harmer, Head of Information and Advice at Age UK, said: 'Whatever life stage we’re at, how we spend our free time and who we spend it with can have a huge impact on happiness and wellbeing.
'We know there’s an appetite for making new friends and expanding social networks. A big part of Age UK’s Spread the Warmth campaign is bringing people together to tackle loneliness and isolation in later life by meeting new people with shared interests.
'Whether it’s cookery classes, Nordic walking, gardening or learning to get online, Age UK’s advice line and website offer information to help people keep fit and healthy and make the most of that all-important leisure time.'
For free, friendly, and impartial advice, contact Age UK Advice free on 0800 169 65 65.
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We have a number of experts available for comment, including:
Caroline joined Age UK in 2012.
A social scientist and barrister, Caroline has spent her career in the voluntary and public sectors, mostly on children and families’ issues. She has worked in a senior capacity at the children’s charity, Action For Children and at the Local Government Association. Caroline has also been a policy adviser to Ministers and Shadow Ministers, and a senior civil servant. A former chair of the End Child Poverty campaign, Caroline’s policy interests include integrated health and care, family policy, poverty and the role of the voluntary sector.
Caroline oversees Age UK’s influencing work and her team covers research, public policy, health influencing, media, campaigns and engagement and public affairs. She is also the Charity's lead spokesperson.
Caroline decided to work for Age UK because she could see that there was a lot to do to change policy and practice so older people are served well, and because she passionately believes that Age UK can make a big difference.
James is head of our research department in Age UK.
His responsibilities include:
He has a Visiting Professorship in Ageing at Loughborough University.
Jane Vass has been Head of Public Policy at Age UK since 2012, having joined Age UK’s predecessor, Age Concern England as Financial Services Policy Adviser in 2006.
She was previously an independent consumer consultant specialising in financial services from the consumer viewpoint. In this capacity she undertook research such as reports for the National Consumer Council on equity release and on financial capability for the Securities and Investments Board.
She also wrote the Daily Mail Tax Guide for 10 years. She was a member of the Financial Services Consumer Panel from 1999 to 2003, and from 1983 to 1993 she worked for Consumers’ Association.
Jane was given an OBE for her services to financial services in the June 2015 Birthday Honours list.
This factsheet, which is regularly updated, is the most up-to-date source of publicly-available, general information on people in later life in the UK.
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