Optimism amongst older people in Wales plummets
Research undertaken by the Older People’s Commissioner for Wales has revealed that levels of optimism amongst older people have plummeted during the past two years.
Just 4 in 10 of the older people surveyed recently said they felt optimistic about the future, a figure that was far higher when the Commissioner asked the same question in March 2021, when 8 out of 10 of older people said they felt optimistic, despite living with the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic.
The Commissioner says that this provides an important insight into how older people are feeling about their lives, and the ways that issues such as the cost-of-living crisis and pressures on public services are impacting upon older people.
She warned that it could reflect the fact that life for many older people has still not returned to ‘normal’ since the pandemic, with many people still anxious about getting out and about into their communities again, meaning they are missing out on doing the things that matter to them.
The Commissioner is concerned that this significant drop suggests that older people are now more worried about what the future might hold for them than they were in 2021, and that this stress and anxiety is impacting upon older people’s health, well-being and quality of life.
She says it is crucial that policy- and decision-makers throughout Wales recognise what these figures suggest about older people’s experiences during the past few years, and ensure that the right policies and services are in place to support older people.
Older People’s Commissioner for Wales, Heléna Herklots CBE, said: “I was shocked to see that levels of optimism amongst older people in Wales have dropped so drastically in such a short period of time, highlighting just how much of an impact the challenges during the past few years have had on how older people feel about their lives and the future.
“Alongside familiar issues such as the cost-of-living crisis and pressures on public services creating stress and anxiety amongst older people, many older people have also told me they are still worried about re-engaging with their communities, meaning they are often left feeling lonely and isolated.
“Given the impact that we know these factors can have on people’s health and well-being, it is crucial that much more is done to ensure that older people can get the support they need when facing difficulties and are able do the things that matter to them.
“I will be sharing my findings and concerns through my ongoing work with policy- and decision-makers within government and public services throughout Wales to help them better understand the difficulties older people are facing, the impact these are having and the way older people are feeling, and the kinds of policies and services needed to support older people more effectively.”
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