The hardships and pain facing UK pensioners are laid bare in a hard-hitting, recently published report. The Age Audit was compiled from official data and other authoritative sources by the National Pensioners Convention (NPC).
- The UK has the lowest state pension out of 37 developed countries in relation to the amount of average earnings that it replaces.
- Over the past seven years, the proportion of older people who are unable to afford a decent standard of living has risen from 23% to 32%.
- Current poverty levels of those aged 75 and over are 18.5% – compared to just 11% amongst the population as a whole – and just over 10% for those aged 66-75.
- Four million pensioners have a longstanding illness.
- £6bn has been cut from social care budgets since 2011, leaving 1.2 million pensioners in England without the care and support they need to carry on living with dignity and independence.
- Up to 800,000 older people are the subjects of abuse and/or neglect in the UK each year.
- Only 36% of people aged 50 and over feel confident that pensioners using care services, such as help with getting in and out of bed and getting washed and dressed, are treated with dignity and respect.
- One in three households where the oldest person is aged 75 and over live in low-quality homes that have failed the official Decent Home Standard.
- Four million households are in fuel poverty, forcing them to ration their heating.
- Homelessness amongst the elderly has increased by 100% since 2010.
The audit shows the UK has the lowest state pension in terms of the amount of average earnings it replaces of any developed country.
It states that 1.9 million older people are living in poverty and unable to maintain a decent standard of living – a rise from 23% to 32% since 2010.
An estimated four million pensioners have a limiting longstanding illness.
Jan Shortt, National Pensioners Convention general secretary, had this to say:
“Over the last few years, pensioners have often been described in very negative ways or portrayed as the cause of society’s problems.
“Terms such as bed blocker are usually linked with older people to give the impression that the shortage of beds in the NHS is the fault of the individual, rather than the collapse of the social care system in the community.
“Equally, older people have been said to have escaped austerity and are the cause of all the problems faced by younger generations. Pensioners are invariably shown as gallivanting on Saga cruises or jumping out of aeroplanes.
“But the reality is that 20 per cent of older people live in poverty and at least half are living on an annual income of less than £11,500 a year.
“We can only start to address the very serious issues facing older people when we accept a more balanced view of what life is like for millions of pensioners in 21st century Britain.
“With this understanding we can then start to design and map out the kind of services and welfare that is needed to look after and support people after a lifetime of work.
“The UK is not the best place in which to grow older and that needs to change.”
500,000–800,000 older people are subject to abuse and/or neglect in the UK each year, the Age Audit found.
It also revealed that only 36% of people aged 50 and over feel confident that elderly people who receive care services are treated with dignity and respect.