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Ill health dominates fears of growing older

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Health issues, a failing mind and the loss of independence are among our biggest fears about getting old, a new 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 ten.

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

But 70% 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 ten 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, found health issues and serious illnesses are the top concerns, followed by their mind failing, and becoming forgetful.

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 ten.

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.

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

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

The study found that just over four in ten over 50s worry about aging so much, it keeps them awake for an average of two nights awake.

And for the average Brit, concerns about getting older start just after their 50th birthday, with one in twenty admitting they started to worry before they even reached the age of 40.

It also emerged that a staggering 95% 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.

Lyn Duncan, CEO at cloudBuy added:

“With the introduction of personal health budgets this month, technology enables us to tackle the issue of social care in a different way.

“We have developed a national care marketplace which is a platform that provides the means for people to browse, choose, purchase and feedback on care services whether that be extra grip rails, arranging meals, visits from a nurse or help with shopping.”

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 bed-ridden
18. Losing my hearing
19. My looks and appearance
20. Not being able to continue with my hobbies