New research has revealed three-quarters of people aged over 60 believe they are “unseen and unheard” by the major political parties in a damaging blow to all concerned in the upcoming General Election.
The report, released by Churchill Retirement Living, found just eight per cent of the 1,000 respondents are happy with how the government is treating our older generation and trust in politicians is slipping to an all-time low.
More than half of respondents describe themselves as ‘frustrated’ about how they are represented, with 46 per cent expressing ‘concern’. Indeed, more than a quarter are ‘worried’ or even ‘angry’ about the lack of political representation for their age group.
As Spencer McCarthy, Churchill Retirement Living’s Chairman and Group Managing Director, pointed out, dissatisfaction among pensioners could spell disaster in the run-up to the election. “Up until now, the over 60s have been the generation most likely to go out and vote,” he said. Now, with this demographic at risk of apathy, the key to winning the next general election could be all about reconnecting with the older generation and securing the ‘grey vote’.”
When it came to the issues needing addressing by the major political parties, pensions (64 per cent), affordable care homes (63 per cent) and better health care for the over 60s (60 per cent) topped the list.
Helping older people most at risk of longer-term loneliness and social isolation (55 per cent), housing support for the elderly (45 per cent) and better provision of specialist housing for older people (45 per cent) were also identified as areas requiring action.
Indeed, 76 per cent went as far as calling for the appointment of a Minister for the Elderly to better address the issues that matter most to the older generation.
McCarthy added: “As a developer of retirement apartments, it comes as no surprise to us that better provision of specialist housing for older people features so highly as a priority issue. Despite the overwhelming evidence that specialist retirement housing has a very real, beneficial effect on older people’s health and wellbeing, there is still a huge shortage of this type of accommodation available. If addressed, it would help save health and care services considerable resources and contribute to easing the longer term pressure on the NHS.
“We support wider government initiatives such as the forthcoming pension reforms and support for older workers. However, we would like to see more changes to the planning system to help tackle the shortage of specialist retirement housing, along with greater support for those downsizing such as stamp duty relief and the extension of the government’s Help to Buy scheme to those not using a mortgage.”