Ageless generation

30 October 2013

Who are you calling old

This Morning presenter Ruth Langsford backs calls for families to talk openly about support options

Who are you calling old? 

  • Stigma about ageing does not reflect how today’s over-65’s feel
  • Brits aren’t doing enough to find out how they can live independently for longer
  • This Morning presenter Ruth Langsford backs calls for families to talk openly about support options

They feel like they can take on the world and would describe themselves as ageless. But a generation of over-65s still feels held back by ageism and don’t think about their future care needs, researchers say.

Personal alarm provider Centra Pulse commissioned a poll of 2,000 British adults aged between 65 and 93* which found that, with over-65s now totaling a sixth of the population, only six percent think of themselves as old and say it has an impact on how they live their life. More than eight out of 10 (83%) believe their age group can make a huge difference to the country. 

But 47% who took part in the survey by YouGov said “old fashioned” views about growing older still hold their generation back while 62% feel that they are more likely to be seen as a problem by society. One in five (21%) fear they will be classed as a burden to friends and family by other people as they get older.

More than three out of five over-65s (65%) went on to admit they hadn’t seriously thought about the type of care and support they would prefer as they get older during the last five years, leading to Invicta Telecare to call for adults to take control of their future independence.

Wendy Darling, managing director at Centra Pulse & Ccentra Connect, said: “With the number of us aged 65 and over set to increase rapidly, it’s important to tackle the old fashioned taboos that many are coming up against. We all need to be prepared to discuss this subject more openly within our families and make sure people get access to the right information and help for them.”

“It’s clear many worry they will lose their identity and be seen as a problem as they grow older so it’s important not to underestimate the support out there which will give full control of your freedom and independence. Something as simple as a personal alarm or wireless sensor, which only helps you when you really need it, will still make sure you live your life to the full.”

The research also found that more than six out of ten (63%) over-65s refuse to define themselves as old because it is just a mindset and 39% are happier now than at any other time of their life. 42% said one of the benefits of getting older was that they were more tolerant.

But almost half (48%) of over-65s think their generation is ignored and more than one in three (37%) believe they are treated disrespectfully because of their age. A third (34%) even class the word ‘old’ as a negative or offensive term. More than a quarter (27%) of over 65s also say the term ‘elderly’ is negative or offensive and 30% object to being described as an ‘OAP’.

This Morning presenter Ruth Langsford has backed Invicta Telecare’s calls to address the stigma about care and support after it forced her to take tough decisions about her own parents care needs. She said: “My own wonderful parents ended up bottling up worries and concerns because they feared being seen as a burden to us, meaning we couldn’t talk openly about their needs.”

The Queen and Dame Judi Dench were heralded as positive role models for their generation, with 76% backing the 87-year-old reigning monarch and 70% championing 78-year-old Bond girl Dench for setting a positive example.

The number of over-65s is set to nearly double from 10 to 19 million within the next 40 years, when people in the age group are expected to make up one-in-four of the population.

As the UK’s largest independent provider of telecare services, Centra helps more than 100,000 people live independently in their in their own home, safe with the peace of mind that help is on hand at the press of a button. It provides a range of personal alarms, wireless sensors and detectors which spot and minimise the impact of every day dangers and provides access to a specially trained team of operators who are on hand every minute of the day or night to bring complete peace of mind, security and reassurance.

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