Ill-health dominates fears of growing older

Health issues, a failing mind and the loss of independence are among the biggest fears about getting old, a new UK study has revealed. Loneliness, being a burden to others, having little money to fund their social care or being forced out of their home also feature among the top 10.


Worrying about ageing

It also emerged that the age we start to worry is getting lower, with almost seven in 10 of those in their early 50s admitting their fears started sometime in their 40s, compared to just 14 percent of those who are already pensioners.

But 70 percent admit they have no plans in place to deal with growing old, despite more than half admitting it would actually give them peace of mind.

Researchers also found eight in 10 over 50s worry about ageing with some even admitting they are ‘kept awake’ by their fears.

Lyn Duncan, CEO for social care marketplace provider cloudBuy, which commissioned the research, said: “As time goes on our worries change and we start thinking about what is going to happen as we get older and our body and mind starts to let us down.

“The over 50s are tending to live for the here and now and we must recognise there is a ticking time bomb in place particularly if they fail to address their concerns with friends and family and don’t put any plans in place.

“There’s nothing we can do to stop the ageing process or avoid getting older, but by being prepared and getting the right support, hopefully we can spend less time worrying.

“It is in everyone’s interest when looking at care to ensure we keep our elderly independent for as long as possible.

“We need to get rid of the ‘illness’-type society and focus on pushing through a heath society that with the introduction of personal health budgets empowers people as they get older to make daily decisions and choices about their own care.”

The study of 1,000 over 50s Brits found that more than half of over 50s also worry about loss of independence, voting it into fifth place in the poll, while failing sight, or even losing it completely came sixth.

Being a burden to others, a failing body but a fit mind, money and having to leave their home to move into a care home complete the top 10.

Struggling to continue with your favourite hobbies and how your children will cope if you become ill or pass away also feature on the list.


Differences between the sexes

But the results show some big difference between the sexes, with women much more concerned about losing their independence, with 58 percent naming this as a concern compared to just 43 percent of men.

Women are also more likely to fear loneliness – 39 percent compared to 27 percent of men, as well as their mind failing them (66 percent compared to 51 percent of men).

Other highlights of the study:

  • Just over four in 10 over 50s worry about ageing so much that it keeps them awake for an average of two nights awake.
  • For the average Brit, concerns about getting older start just after their 50th birthday, with one in 20 admitting they started to worry before they even reached the age of 40.
  • A staggering 95 percent of over 50s would prefer not to enter a care or nursing home. And half would even be prepared to cut down on holidays to fund their full-time home care in future years.

Here’s a list of the top 20 ageing anxieties:

1. Health issues.
2. Serious illness.
3. My mind failing me.
4. Becoming forgetful.
5. Losing my independence.
6. Losing my sight.
7. Being a burden to others.
8. My body failing me, but my mind being completely fit.
9. Money.
10. Having to go into a nursing/care home.
11. My partner getting seriously ill.
12. Dying.
13. My partner dying before me.
14. Being lonely.
15. Having to move out of my home.
16. Not being able to drive.
17. Being bedridden.
18. Losing my hearing.
19. My looks and appearance.
20. Not being able to continue with my hobbies.

 (** PHOTO CREDIT: Flickr, Kristjona)


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