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Later Life Goals

Find out how our Later Life Goals programme supported over 10,000 older people experiencing life events by providing information and advice to help them to feel less lonely and get the most out of later life.

What was Later Life Goals?

Our Later Life Goals programme provided holistic information and advice to thousands of older people. The programme targetted people aged 50+ who were experiencing a significant life event or coping with a life change.

Examples of life events or changes include bereavement, a relationship breakdown, a dementia diagnosis, having a fall, becoming a carer, a change in housing needs or falling into debt. Age UK research shows that significant life events like these can be triggers for older people to become more isolated or feel lonelier. 

Local advisers on the programme would talk in depth to the older person, often in person and in their home, to help them identify what they would like to achieve and how this could be done. 

As well as supporting them with their life events, our advisers would take time to talk through and advise on any other changes the person might like to make in their life.

Later Life Goals built on the learning of previous projects, such as Ambitions for Later Life, but also looked at whether the life event support could help reduce feelings of loneliness and improve wellbeing overall.

"We're very happy again"

Find out how Later Life Goals has supported people through significant life events.

How long did Later Life Goals run for?

Later Life Goals ran for a total of four years, from October 2018 to September 2022.

The start of the Coronavirus pandemic meant that the programme had to be paused for six months from March 2020, and the way the programme was run had to be adapted from October 2020 onwards. Despite this, we still managed to achieve much of what the programme set out to do, and we were able to draw conclusions about changes in feelings of loneliness and wellbeing.

Where did the programme run?

What impact did Later Life Goals have on older people?

By the end of the programme, we had supported 10,219 older people with a wide range of issues that affected their daily lives. Almost two-thirds (65%) of these people hadn’t been helped by their local Age UK before and the vast majority were aged 70 or older.

Before the Coronavirus restricted what we could do, we visited 82% of people in their homes, enabling those older people to talk about what was important to them from the comfort of their homes – with paperwork at hand, and allowing our advisers to see how that person was living day to day.

Maximising income

The Later Life Goals programme identified unclaimed benefits for over half the older people we supported – £21.2m in total. If successfully claimed, this works out as an average of £4,076 extra a year in their pockets – probably for the rest of their life.

Testing to see if we could reduce loneliness and improve wellbeing

Up until March 2020, we asked people questions about their feelings of loneliness and wellbeing during their first advice session and then, around 12 weeks later, followed up with questionnaires to as many people as possible. We then compared the two sets of responses.

The questions on loneliness followed good practice by asking both indirect and direct questions, maximising our chances of revealing loneliness.

Find out more about how we measure loneliness

Reducing feelings of loneliness

The results from the follow-up survey showed a good reduction in feelings of loneliness, particularly in the 'often lonely’ category:

  • 26% of people who completed the follow-up survey, who reported being 'lonely some of the time' at the baseline survey, reported lower levels of loneliness.
  • This rose to 56% for the people who reported being 'often lonely' at the baseline survey.

It's understandable how programmes like this would see a reduction in loneliness, as Later Life Goals provided a listening ear, gave older people opportunities to connect with other people in their area, and helped remove many of the practical barriers that can lead to persistent loneliness or prevent people from managing or overcoming loneliness – such as low income, access to transport or lack of digital access. 

Find out more about how we help people who are lonely.

I feel less isolated and less lonely now. I feel everything is going towards the right direction and my condition has improved.

Later Life Goals beneficiary

Improving feelings of wellbeing

The same surveys asked people to rate their satisfaction with life and how worthwhile the things they did in their life felt. We also asked what had changed for people since our support. The results showed some positive changes

  • 46% of people who completed the life satisfaction question in both surveys reported an improvement in their life satisfaction score.
  • 40% of people who completed the worthwhileness question in both surveys reported an improvement in their score.
  • 73% of older people’s responses indicated that their life had positively changed since Age UK had provided advice and support.

98% of people who completed the survey said they were satisfied with the advice and support from Age UK – with 92% saying they were very satisfied.

I am so relieved and grateful for all the help and support I have received. I am a different person. Thank you.

Later Life Goals beneficiary

Quantitative evaluation report

For a more detailed look at the findings on loneliness and wellbeing, take a look at the survey analysis carried out by Vinal Karania from Age UK's Research Team.

What's next?

Our family of holistic advice programmes, such as Later Life Goals, continue to show real impact on the lives of the older people they support – including their income and financial security, loneliness and wellbeing.

So we’ll continue to search for new funding to offer more programmes like this across the country. With the cost-of-living crisis and access to health and social care so difficult, the need for such programmes has never been greater.

Our partner

Masonic Charitable FoundationAge UK is extremely grateful to the Masonic Charitable Foundation and the Freemasons for funding the Later Life Goals programme, and for their flexibility and generosity during the pandemic.

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Last updated: Dec 13 2022

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