The coronavirus crisis risks creating a ‘lost generation’ of retirees facing poor health and financial insecurity in retirement, new data suggests.
A report from Ipsos MORI, commissioned by the Centre for Ageing Better, shows that a fifth of people in their 50s and 60s have seen their physical health deteriorate during the lockdown period, and over a third say their mental health has worsened.
Over half have also had a medical or dental appointment delayed or cancelled, prompting fears that untreated conditions could set back the health of this generation irreparably.
Of this age group, 37% have been drinking more alcohol during lockdown, and 39% have been smoking more.
The new figures also raise concerns that the impact of lockdown could seriously damage this generation’s financial future.
Almost half believe that their personal finances will worsen over the next year, and only 39% of those who are currently furloughed or of working age but not in employment are confident that they will be employed in the future.
The Centre for Ageing Better is calling on the government to make sure this generation of adults is not left behind in the recovery and to provide tailored job-seekers support for older workers.
The organisation has also warned that government efforts to improve the nation’s health must be “redoubled” to avoid vital progress being lost.
Anna Dixon, Chief Executive at the Centre for Ageing Better, said: “These figures are deeply worrying. If this generation continues to be an afterthought in the coronavirus recovery, we will see a lost generation entering retirement in poorer health and worse financial circumstances than those before them.
“We know that the over 50s already face serious disadvantages in the workforce, are more likely to be made redundant and struggle more than any other group to get back into work once they have fallen out. And yet this group are being ignored when it comes to proposed actions to support the recovery.
“It’s clear that this group face serious risks to their health. More than one in five have seen their health deteriorate during lockdown. We need to see much stronger action to improve the health of the population and tackle the causes of preventable illness and disability, especially in poorer areas.”