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Struggling to cope

Age UK wants to see a world where everyone can enjoy and make the most of later life. Feeling well, having enough money, eating well and staying socially connected are key to wellbeing, but we know that some older people struggle with this.

We wanted to know more about what life is like for older people who show signs of struggling in various aspects of their lives, which might include:

  • Not keeping on top of household tasks
  • Hoarding
  • Letting their property fall into disrepair
  • Not maintaining personal hygiene
  • Not eating properly
  • Not taking medication
  • Social isolation and 'shutting off from the world'
  • Not keeping on top of finances, leading to debt or threats of eviction

'Maybe I feel a bit sorry for myself. Just some days I think "I don't want to be here".... you just feel you're a burden.'

Anne, 87, London

Our research project

Our carefully designed research ensured that older people were at the centre of the project. We interviewed older people and couples in their homes (or another venue of their choice).

We also ran discussion groups including friends and family members with concerns about the older people in their lives, and a workshop with professionals who work to support older people on a day-to-day basis.

Our research has given us important insights into people's lived experiences, as well as the perspectives of others in their lives. In our report, we build on these experiences and propose recommendations for supporting people to make changes and enjoy better wellbeing.

'You have to motivate yourself, don't you? But it is hard sometimes. You just let it go, let it go.'

Adam, 61, London

Read Age UK's Briefing on Struggling to Cope with later life

Four older people who took part in our research agreed to be interviewed on camera. The following films illustrate four themes which arose from these interviews. 

Theme 1: Asking for help or support

If you or someone you know, would like to sign up for a weekly friendship call, visit our befriending page to find out more.

Film 2: Employment and having a sense of worth

Age UK provides advice on employment in later life, as well as transitioning into retirement - visit our work and learning section.

Film 3: Debt and money worries

For more information on a wide range of money topics, including how to claim benefits, managing debt, and understanding the pension system, visit our money advice section.

Film 4: Choice and motivation

Age UK offers information and advice on emotional wellbeing - find out more.

For support on these and many other issues, you can also contact our Information and Advice line - contact us.

Read the full research report on Struggling to cope with later life

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Last updated: Mar 22 2018

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