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Older people 'feel a burden' to society

Published on 26 June 2013 10:30 AM

Older people feel as though they are a burden to society due to the way services are provided, a new report has warned.

Media representations of the issues faced by older people also contribute to the problem, according to the report by Brunel University, De Montfort University and older people's charity the Royal Voluntary Service.


Traditional services for older people foster feelings of 'passivity and dependence', the authors said.

And it is all too rare for them to be consulted about the services that affect their lives, the report suggests, which in turn can leave older people feeling 'stereotyped and ignored'.

Older people don't want to be seen as a burden

Most of the 700 people age over 65 who took part in a survey for the report expressed the fear that they are viewed as a burden by wider society.

One in six people who took part in the poll said they felt that the services offered are the kind of things that are stereotypically thought of as appealing to older people.

'This report lays out what many of us already know: that older people have a huge amount to give back to society and we should harness that expertise and enthusiasm to make services better for older people by involving them more in decision-making,' said Royal Voluntary Service chief executive David McCullough.

He pointed out it is a 'wonderful thing' that people are living longer 'but the challenges that this brings with it has led to older people being seen as a burden'.

'Vital for older people to have a voice' - Norman Lamb

Care and support minister Norman Lamb said it is vital to make sure that older people 'have a voice' in the health and care system.

'We must challenge negative language about 'burdens',' he continued.

'We know older people have a great deal of experience and knowledge and make an extraordinary contribution to our health and care system. I welcome the report as an important step towards a positive later life for older people in England.'

Jennie Fleming, of De Montfort University, said older people's participation in activities is key to their wellbeing.

'That in turn can have a positive effect on loneliness, which we know has a knock-on impact on mental and physical health,' she added.

Copyright Press Association 2013

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Last updated: Dec 05 2018

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