One in five Brits have no idea who will care for them in old age Bupa survey shows

12 July 2016
  • Nearly three quarters (73%) of respondents think themselves or others will have care needs in old age
  • Nearly a quarter people surveyed (24%) think about what old age will be like at least a few times a week
  • Only 51% expect their family to look after them if they have care needs in old age
  • Less than a quarter (24%) of the population feel that older people are valued by society

nurse talking with an elderly resident

Research released today from Bupa reveals that a fifth of the nation (20%) don’t know who will look after them if they have care needs in old age. Nearly three quarters (73%) think they will have care needs in older age, but only around half (51%) expect their family to care for them.

The survey of more than 2,000 Brits reveals that old age is a regular consideration, with 24% of respondents thinking about what life will be like in old age a few times a week – 17% think about it every day. 

The research reveals that under a quarter (24%) of the population feel older people are valued by society, illustrating the need to change perceptions of ageing and ensure older people are appreciated and treated as individuals.  

Professor Graham Stokes, Global Director of Dementia Care, Bupa says: "The perception that older people aren’t valued by society is concerning and needs to be addressed. The proportion of people over 80 is expected to increase almost fourfold over the next 50 years, the role they play as well as their needs and desires should be recognised.

“It’s clear from the research that people have some realistic concerns about their needs and potential health challenges in old age, but old age can be a happy and fulfilling time when people are valued and treated with respect.”

Despite concerns about getting older, people are optimistic that they can still live a fulfilling life, with the majority of people believing old age will not stop them living life to the fullest.

Professor Graham Stokes continues: “As we age our preferences and personalities remain individual, which is why, if care is required, it should be provided in a way that meets the person’s needs and wishes. This could be through enabling someone living in a care home to walk on the beach if they’ve lived near the sea all their life, or helping people to plant a garden if they have a passion for gardening.

The study into attitudes towards ageing marks the launch of a new campaign by Bupa, Person First, to highlight the benefits of providing personalised care and understanding the needs and wishes of the individual.

‘Person First’ is Bupa’s company-wide principle for aged care and supporting people living with dementia and their families. It is about ensuring that care focuses on the person first and not their condition, listening to and thinking about the person, to meet their needs in the way that they want.  

From 15 July, Bupa will be sharing personal stories to celebrate examples of Person First care and demonstrate how starting with the person helps provide a happier older age. See for more details.

Notes to editor

All figures, unless otherwise stated, are from YouGov Plc.  Total sample size was 2,139 adults. Fieldwork was undertaken between  26th - 29th February 2016.  The survey was carried out online. The figures have been weighted and are representative of all UK adults (aged 18+).

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