Older Londoners say they feel unloved

Age UK London research finds older residents of the capital are “unconvinced that the city values them”, reports Noah Vickers, Local Democracy Reporter

Old people at Tower Bridge
credit Kenza Benaouda via Unsplash

Just 13% of Londoners over the age of 60 believe the capital is “a place where older people are valued”, a new report warns.

Research published by Age UK London has found that the experience of older people in the city varies significantly, with “stark inequalities” visible.

Approached for a response to the report, both the mayor of London and the government said they were working hard to support the elderly.

Abi Wood, the charity’s CEO said: “Older Londoners told us that they really love London and the communities to which they belong, but they’re unconvinced that the city values them.

“What really stood out from this research is that inequalities have a massive impact on how over-60s feel about living in London on every measure.

“Older people who are living only on state pensions, in social or private rented housing and who are in poor health, experience a vastly different London to their peers. Action is needed to make London work for all older people.”

The report was published to coincide with the United Nations International Day of Older Persons on 1st October and ‘Silver Sunday’, a celebration of older people in the UK on the same day.

It also found that geography plays a key role in elderly residents’ enjoyment of life in the capital.

While 68% of older people living in inner London feel positively about living in the city, the same is true of just 52% of those living in outer London. Across London, the average was 59%, with just 5% feeling negative.

The affordability of living in the capital and the provision of healthcare were both found to be of particular concern, with 36% of older Londoners saying London is becoming increasingly unaffordable for them, and only 37% agree with the statement ‘I feel confident I will get quality healthcare when I need it’.

Abi said: “Decision makers urgently need to look at what older Londoners are saying now and reflect this in every decision they make – this is the fastest growing demographic in the capital and yet this isn’t reflected in decision making.”

A spokesperson for mayor Sadiq Khan said the the city’s elderly are “hugely valued” and that he “is determined to continue building a fairer and more prosperous London that works for everyone, including all older Londoners”.

He said: “The mayor is working to make the capital a more age-friendly city via a range of policies. He is investing in homes that meet the needs of older Londoners.

“He is making public transport more accessible. He is cleaning up London’s polluted air, which is disproportionately affecting older people.

“He is also funding support for older Londoners at risk of fuel poverty and investing in basic digital skills training targeted at older Londoners.”

He added: “His work with London boroughs to encourage the take up of the pension credit has helped thousands of older Londoners receive an additional £8.4m in benefits so far and he has also invested £600,000 to help low-income and marginalised communities, including older Londoners.

“But there is clearly much more to do and Sadiq will continue working from City Hall to ensure older Londoners not only feel valued, but can thrive in our city.”

A government spokesman said: “This government is protecting pensioners with the biggest state pension increase in history this year as well as boosting pension credit – worth around £3,500 a year for those on the lowest incomes.

“On top of this, pensioners most in need will receive up to £600 this winter to help with essential costs and we are bearing down on inflation to make everyone’s money go further.”

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