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Share problems to lighten your load

Published on 27 March 2012 11:00 PM

Age UK Information and Advice service helps millions of people every year

  • Age UK research shows over half of the UK population (57 per cent)* keep their worries to themselves
  • Of those who keep worries to themselves, 44 per cent think they can cope on their own so don't share problems
  • Money matters are the UK's top worries (49 per cent)

The UK is a nation of worriers who don't share their problems, according to research from Age UK that reveals that nearly a fifth of UK adults (18 per cent)* constantly have something playing on their mind. Over half of the population (53 per cent) shoulder several worries a day, and 17 per cent carry around more than ten worries at any one time.

Despite an increasing culture of sharing personal information through social networks and online gossip[i], when it comes to more serious issues over half of the UK population bottle up their problems and worries (57 per cent). When asked what the top three reasons for keeping worries to themselves were, 44 per cent of people said they should cope on their own, followed by not wanting to burden anyone else with their troubles, and not being comfortable talking about their personal issues.

Top worries shared by adults in the UK include financial concerns - the biggest worry for almost half (49 per cent) - followed by health, getting older, the stress of work and weight-related worries. The research was commissioned to mark the launch of a new TV advertising campaign - ‘a problem shared is a problem halved' - from Age UK. It reveals more than half (55 per cent) of those aged 55+ worry most about their health, with getting older and then financial issues following close behind; whilst for 18-24 year olds money is the biggest concern (49 per cent), followed by work stresses and job prospects.

However, proving the old adage of ‘a problem shared is a problem halved' true, the research shows that when people proactively share worries with others, it can really improve the situation.

Positive effect of sharing worries:

  • Around three in ten adults share their worries (29 per cent). Of these, over a third (36 per cent) feel brighter as a result
  • A quarter (26 per cent) feel relief when they have confided in someone about a problem
  • Eight per cent feel that the problem has gone away once shared

Whether they usually share a problem or not, most people still turn first to a friendly ear rather than to the Internet for help - with half including their partners (51 per cent) in the top three sources of help they turn to, 23 per cent a friend, and 22 per cent their mother - compared to only six per cent choosing to go online for help.

Actor Larry Lamb, who narrates the new Age UK TV ad highlighting the benefits of seeking advice about growing older, said: 'There's no doubt in my mind that opening up and sharing thoughts, fears, and experiences can really help - whatever your age. The vital work that Age UK does provides people with information and advice to cope in later life and means none of us has to keep things to ourselves and feel alone.'

Lucy Harmer, Head of Information and Advice at Age UK, said: 'We know from the research that a vast proportion of us worry about financial, health and work issues, and getting older plays on lots of adults' minds.

'We want to show older people and their friends, families and carers that there is someone to turn to with your worries and no one has to feel like a burden.

'From advice on money and benefits or health and wellbeing, through to information on care options, help at home and working in later life - experts at Age UK are on hand to ensure that older people, and those who care for them, can get the advice needed to resolve worries.'

The new advert focuses on the variety of ways that the Charity's Information and Advice service can help improve later life and illustrates the areas that Age UK can offer friendly advice on - all brought to life through animated cakes that are sliced up into manageable pieces.

Age UK's Information and Advice service offers a wealth of free, friendly and impartial advice to people in later life, their friends, family and carers. Trained advisors can help people in all sorts of situations to make informed decisions about a range of age-related topics including money, health, residential care, and housing-related and consumer issues.

For more details and to talk to someone who can help, call Age UK Advice free on 0800 169 65 65.

Factsheets and guides on your rights, policies, practices and national and local services are available to download .


For further information, please contact Emma Russell (tel: 0207 009 3145) or Gillian Stark (tel: 0207 009 3151) at 3 Monkeys Communications or email

Notes to editors

References: *Statistics, except where highlighted, should be accredited to the research, which polled a total of 2,000 respondents adults in March 2012. The research was carried out by OnePoll on behalf of Age UK.

[1] According to a study released by comScore in December 2011: It's a Social World: Top 10 Need-to-Knows About Social Networking and Where It's Headed.

Age UK:

For media enquiries relating to Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland please contact the appropriate national office: Age Scotland on 0131 668 8055, Age Cymru on 029 2043 1562 and Age NI on 028 9024 5729.

About Age UK: Age UK is the new force combining Age Concern and Help the Aged, dedicated to improving later life. We provide free information, advice and support to over five million people; commercial products and services to over one million customers; and research and campaign on the issues that matter to people in later life. Our work focuses on five key areas: money matters, health and well being, home and care, work and training and leisure and lifestyle. We work with our national partners, Age Scotland, Age Cymru and Age NI (together the Age UK Family), our local Age UK partners in England and local Age Concerns. We also work internationally for people in later life as a member of the DEC and with our sister charity Help Age International.

Age UK is a charitable company limited by guarantee and registered in England (registered charity number 1128267 and company number 6825798). Age Concern England and Help the Aged (both registered charities), and their trading and other associated companies merged on the 1st April 2009. Together they have formed the Age UK Group ("we"). Charitable services are offered through Age UK and commercial products are offered by the Charity's trading companies, which donate their net profits to Age UK (the Charity).


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Last updated: Oct 06 2017

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