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Older Brits 'lonelier' than older Europeans

Published on 25 May 2012 01:00 PM

Older people in Britain suffer more loneliness and poverty than those in other parts of the continent, according to research.

They have more concerns than their European neighbours regarding being discriminated against due to their age.

A Demos report discovered that older Britons also harbour more negativity towards the younger generations.

An increased number of over-65s in this country suffer with life-limiting conditions than they do in Sweden, Germany and the Netherlands, according to the report.

Among the four nations, the UK came third when graded for overall performance across the report's various areas. The research was prepared on behalf of WRVS - an older people's charity.

One reason older people in Britain may feel such a sense of solitude may be due to councils not investing money in services which work to reduce loneliness and isolation, it has been argued.

Britain's poor score in the health of older people may be a reflection of the UK's unhealthy lifestyles. People consume higher volumes of alcohol in Britain than in the other three nations, and the obesity level is higher, the Ageing Across Europe report suggests.

In comparison, older people in Sweden were found to be the healthiest of the four. The Scandinavian country is one in which public policy focuses on the improvement of health earlier on in life, to ensure it in later years.

Over-65s in Britain were found to be facing the highest chance of becoming impoverished out of the four nations. One in five were in danger of becoming poor in 2010, in comparison with 6% of Dutch pensioners who faced the same risk.

Older British females had more worries about age discrimination than older males, according to the study.

Some 5,933 people across the four countries were interviewed, with the data being taken from 2006, 2008 and 2010's European Social Surveys.

Michelle Mitchell, Charity Director General of Age UK said: 'It is sad that our country is not a better place for older people and we would like to see our society working together to improve life for older people.

'A good place to start would be by bringing older people in from the fringes of our communities - nearly one million people aged 65 and over only receive visits from close friends and family once a month or less. Sadly the current cuts to local authority spending have seen many projects that help older people enjoy a social life - such as day centre or care at home - pared back to a bare minimum or closed all together.

'The problems of isolation can be exacerbated by poverty and it is emotionally draining for older people to survive on a low income. There are still 1.8million pensioners living in poverty and this is unacceptable.'

Copyright Press Association 2012

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Last updated: Dec 05 2018

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