Your Priorities 2017-18
Published on 26 June 2018 11:40 AM
‘Your Priorities’ is an annual research project that Age UK London conducts in order to increase understanding of the day-to-day issues affecting older people in London. Participants in the research evaluate their experiences in relation to thirteen areas of daily living that have been highlighted by older Londoners and organisations working for older people as being key in maintaining a good ‘quality of life’. In this way, ‘Your Priorities’ brings the cumulative voice of a wide range of older Londoners together in order to develop the knowledge base that Age UK London uses to inform campaigning and programme activities.
This year, 422 participants provided their anonymous feedback on issues ranging from ‘transport’ to ‘condition of neighbourhoods’ and ‘computer access’ to ‘housing’, each providing an assessment of relative happiness with these areas and giving further explanatory details to explain this assessment. Participants also provided anonymous demographics information that enabled comparative analysis of responses across a range of equality characteristics.
The full paper will be used internally to contribute towards future action-planning and decision-making but a small selection of the findings from the research are as follows:
1) Condition and tidiness of neighbourhoods – Participants commented on the general issue of litter and the lack of street-cleaning impacting on their neighbourhoods. Damaged or uneven pavements as well as obstructions on footpaths were also mentioned – issues that may well particularly affect more frail older people or those with mobility difficulties.
2) Health and Social Care now and in the future – Difficulties getting an appointment and lengthy waiting lists for appointments and operations were reported by many participants as well as concern over closures of local facilities. Any inability to cope with current demand is particularly worrying alongside demographic projections for the future so it is unsurprising that this is a concern for older Londoners looking to plan for their futures as well.
3) The extent to which neighbourhoods are age-friendly, in particular for frail older people or those with a disability – Participants who reported that they had a disability and those in the ‘oldest old’ bracket reported far less positive outcomes in relation to many of the issues. This was particularly notable in relation to contact with family and friends and being able to get around using public transport.
4) Experiences of the ‘younger-old’ – This was an issue that was apparent in the previous year’s ‘Your Priorities’ and the same trend has been shown this year as well. Specifically, that it is the younger-old (55-64 year-olds) that were more inclined to give lower scores in relation to their satisfaction across a wide range of issues. This was particularly apparent in relation to their financial situation and their housing.
5) Gender and finances in later-life – Women scored their financial situation significantly worse than men did. Some possible explanations for this came out of open-ended responses in relation to how many older women today grew up in a society that tended to have women looking after children while their husband worked – an issue that affected income as well as future job-prospects after a period of time out of work.
Age UK London would like to thank everyone who participated in this study either by directly providing a response or by raising awareness of the project to their organisation’s members.