Sophie Borland discusses Demos's recent research on ageing in The Daily Mail.
European societies whose older populations are healthier, more financially secure and more socially included, older people will be more resilient to weather the economic storm. However, there is also a risk that older populations that are accustomed to higher levels of social spending could be the least well prepared for cuts to welfare and public services.
It is not inevitable that European governments will make tough choices that hit older people hardest. Recently both German and UK Governments chose to protect spending on pensions, while cutting spending on welfare and unemployment benefits. But there is a risk that increasingly this could be the case as the social impact of economic hardship across Europe deepens, if the social, economic and health needs of our growing older populations are not prioritised in coming years.
What is it that makes a country a good place to grow old? And where can Britain learn lessons from our European neighbours? This new evidence and analysis will inform the debate in the UK about our aspirations for our older citizens and how we might best achieve them in an increasingly challenging fiscal environment.
In this project Demos will conduct quantitative analysis of large data sets such as the English Longitudinal Study of Ageing and the SHARE Survey of Health, Ageing and Retirement in Europe to compare people’s experiences of ageing in England with the experiences of people aged 50+ in Germany, the Netherlands and Sweden. We will compare outcomes across a range of indicators including income and poverty, health, social inclusion and wellbeing and experiences of age discrimination.
We will interpret the findings from this quantitative research in the context of each country’s demographic and social trends, public policy framework and approach to service provision.
Building on our analysis of these findings, the final report will make recommendations for improving ageing policy in the UK and in other EU countries, and reflect on the potential impact of the current financial climate on the wellbeing of older people in the EU and implications for the future.
This project is supported by WRVS.
This pamphlet grounds public policy in people’s real, lived experiences of ageing.