Relate Press Releases
JUN 26 2013 / Relate calls for Minister for Ageing Society as four million people face a lonely old age
Relate, the UK’s leading relationship support organisation, publishes a report today with New Philanthropy Capital, which calls for a Minister for Ageing Society. The report, Who will love me when I’m 64? examines the importance of good quality relationships in later life, but finds that not enough is being done to support older people to strengthen their relationships.
Research conducted earlier this year by Relate and Ipsos MORI found that while 83% of over 50s believe relationships are the most important thing for a happy retirement, 1 in 5, or almost 4 million older people lacks the confidence to form new friendships and relationships. Who will love me when I’m 64? finds that there is currently no coherent government strategy for coping with our increasingly ageing population, but that with the right support, relationships can play a key role in preventing many of the negative issues and realising some of the benefits that come with later life.
As well as calling for a Minister for Ageing Society, the report also recommends:
- A new and comprehensive government strategy on ageing, which will work across government departments
- Better support for older carers to enable them to care for their partners at home if they wish, and to maintain a healthy relationship
- The measurement of older people’s relationships as part of the work of Directors of Public Health
- Embedding relationship support in the local service landscape so that older people are offered support early existing touch points within public services.
- An innovation fund to target resources for local innovations that look to develop and strengthen existing relationships for older people
- Older people themselves should recognise the importance of building and maintaining a robust network of good quality relationships.
Relate’s Chief Executive, Ruth Sutherland said, “What this report shows us is that there are three pillars to a good later life – health, financial security and good personal relationships, and yet relationships are largely missing from the wider debate around our ageing society. We know from this report that good relationships have a direct impact on health and wellbeing, and that loneliness and isolation have negative impacts on both our health and wider society more generally. With 1 in 5 older people lacking the confidence to form new friendships and relationships, we are looking at a future in which 4 million people could be facing loneliness and isolation. Without a Minister of State for Ageing Society, we will not see a coherent strategy which ensures that we don’t drift into an old age that we don’t want.”
Dan Corry, Chief Executive of NPC said, “There are many pressures which growing older puts on relationships. People’s identities change when they leave the workplace, declining health and shifting dynamics at home are all challenges. But with the right support, the evidence suggests that relationships can play a key role in making later life a positive experience for older people and also for society as a whole. We must see our ageing society as an opportunity rather than a drain on the public purse, but that means we need people to be supported to build and maintain a healthy network of relationships.”
Will you still love me when I’m 64?is launched four months into Relate’s campaign on the importance of relationships in later life. Relate has partnered with Gransnet, the online community for grandparents, with Ipsos MORI to survey more than 1,000 older people on their views of later life, and with NPC to publish this report. Resources, information and a relationship checker can be found on Relate’s dedicated site for older people, www.retirementtogether.org.uk
The report is available here.
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Notes to editors:
- Relate champions the importance of strong and healthy relationships as the basis of a thriving society.
- Personal and social relationships are important in our everyday lives and are central to our wellbeing.
- Relationships are under increasing pressure - breakdown costs the UK economy £44 billion each year according to the Relationships Foundation.
- Over a million people every year access information, support and counselling from Relate but it's clear many more would benefit from Relate services.
- Relate’s services extend beyond relationship counselling to family counselling, counselling for young people, sex therapy and informal courses and workshops and are offered through a network of 2,000 counsellors across the country.
- Relate offers resources, information and a relationship checker on its dedicated site for older people, www.retirementtogether.org.uk.
- Relate celebrates its 75th anniversary in 2013
- For more information and advice visit: www.relate.org.uk