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Older Londoners are feeling more lows than highs new research reveals

Group of smiling older Londoners

Published on 28 September 2023 07:06 AM

  • 59% of older Londoners feel positive about living in London and only 5% feel negative about it 
  • Only 13% of Londoners over 60 think the city values older people  
  • 36% of older Londoners say London is increasingly unaffordable

New research from Age UK London has revealed that, while more than half of older Londoners (59%) feel positive about living in the city, only 13% consider London a place where older people are valued. Underpinning these feelings of being undervalued, the report identified financial worries as a chief concern, with over a third (36%) saying London is becoming increasingly unaffordable for them. 

The research, published in a report titled ‘Older Londoners: the highs and lows of living in the capital,’ was carried out with over 1,000 Londoners aged over 60. The report considers a wide array of views and experiences, including health and wellbeing, finances, housing, public transport, public spaces, and family and community connections.  

When it came to health and wellbeing, the majority (93%) say that their health is important, but only 64% were satisfied with their current health. Just over a quarter (37%) of older Londoners agreed with the statement ‘I feel confident I will get quality healthcare when I need it’ and there were concerns about future of healthcare, despite many being in good health now.  

Financial insecurity and poor health or disability significantly impact the attitudes and experiences of life in the capital for older Londoners. When it came to feelings of loneliness, 23% of older Londoners who have a disability or long-term health condition reported often feel lonely, compared with 12% of those who do not. Almost a quarter (24%) of those who are reliant on a state pension and rent from a local authority say they ‘often feel lonely’, compared with 16% of older Londoners with private pensions who own their home. 

Abi Wood, CEO of Age UK London said: 

“Older Londoners told us that they really love London and the communities to which they belong, but they’re unconvinced that the city values them. What really stood out from this research is that inequalities have a massive impact of how over 60s feel about living in London on every measure. Older people who are living only on state pensions, in social or private rented housing and who are in poor health, experience a vastly different London to their peers. Action is needed to make London work for all older people.” 

The research has been published as the international community celebrates the United Nations International Day of Older Persons on 1 October and Silver Sunday, a celebration of older people in the UK on the same day.  

Abi Wood concluded: “Decision makers urgently need to look at what older Londoners are saying now and reflect this in every decision they make – this is the fastest growing demographic in the capital and yet this isn’t reflected in decision making.”  

The full report can be viewed here.


For further press information, case studies and interviews contact Dee Byrne, or call 07986 378358.  

 Editors Notes: Key findings 

  1. Most older Londoners love life in the capital, and struggle to imagine living elsewhere. 59% of older Londoners feel positive about living in the city and only 5% feel negative. Participants perceive London as a vibrant ‘melting pot,’ that continues to keep them stimulated and helps them maintain active family and community relationships – areas they identify as vital for a positive experience of ageing. 
  2. While older Londoners feel positive about the city, only 13% think London is place where older people are valued. This spills into perceptions relating to employment with over 50% agreeing it is harder to get a new job or promotion as you get older. 
  3. Older Londoners view health and wellbeing as the area that has the most impact on experiences of ageing. 93% of older Londoners feel that health and wellbeing is important, and this research found that experiences of older age are much more challenging for those in poor health. However, only 64% of older Londoners are satisfied with their health and wellbeing, suggesting a degree of unmet needs. 
  4. Finances are another area which older Londoners report as being important to them where they also have low levels of satisfaction: 79% say finances are important but only 61% are satisfied with them. 
  5. While housing is considered important, satisfaction in this area is also much higher. This reflects the high levels of home ownership amongst older Londoners, with 70% of older Londoners surveyed owning their home. Those in social or privately rented housing are far less likely to be satisfied with their housing and only 40% of private renters are confident they will have somewhere suitable to live as they get older compared to 67% of total respondents. 
  6. Intersecting inequalities, such as financial insecurity and poor health or disability, significantly impact attitudes and experiences of life in the capital. This impacts satisfaction with multiple aspects of life, including experiences of loneliness: 23% of older Londoners who have a disability or long-term health condition often feel lonely, compared with 12% of those who do not. 68% of those who own their own home and have a private pension are satisfied with their health and wellbeing compared to only 48% of those living solely on a state pension and in social housing. 
  7. Location significantly impacts the experiences of older Londoners. Those living in outer London feel much more negatively about most aspects of life in the city, with just 52% feeling positive about living in the city overall. This is driven by local area dynamics such as public spaces, transport, and safety. Note on terminology: within this report, mention of ‘participants’ refers to findings generated from the qualitative phases, while mention of ‘older Londoners’ more broadly refers to findings from the representative quantitative survey