WRVS have published distinctive research into the socio-economic contribution of older people in the UK.
The report, Gold age pensioners, claims that people over 65 made a net contribution to the UK economy of £40 billion last year, even allowing for the costs of pensions, welfare and health services. 'This equates to just over £100 million per day, challenging the widely held view that older people progressively become a burden and a drain on society.'
The hidden value of older people’s volunteering is said to be worth £10 billion per year. Provision of social care by older people is worth £34 billion, predicted to grow to £52 billion by 2030.
The contributions range from leadership or high levels of membership of local clubs and societies, to informal support looking out for vulnerable neighbours and helping them stay independent for longer.
- ‘Sixty-five per cent of older people regularly help out elderly neighbours – and are the most likely of all adult age groups to do so.’
- ‘Older people are very often the driving force for local community-based organisations, with active retirees combining their expertise, skills and experience to provide the leadership, as well as a disproportionate quantum of the membership, of many local organisations, groups and societies.’
I was told about this report yesterday while I was at a drop-in session for older people (part of our Neighbourhoods Connect project in Haringey) - at more or less the same time as one of the participants was saying:
'You can come here and make people cheery; and if you can do that, it makes you cheery too'.