Almost two out of three people over the age of 40 want to live independently as they get older, according to research from positive ageing consultancy Years Ahead.
Surprisingly, less than 20% believe it’s the state’s responsibility to provide products and services to help them overcome daily living difficulties as they age.
Only one in five of the UK's ageing population would voluntarily choose assisted living or residential care in later life, but this is the only option for many. Most people reported difficulties with simple activities such as mobility or household chores - 40% of whom were under 60. Most retailers don’t actively provide or market any products to the 20 million people in the UK aged over 50.
Tesco announced this week that it was finally looking at making stores more friendly for older consumers, indicating that the market place is finally waking up to the needs of this economically powerful and growing section of the UK population.
Some 95% of people who used a product said their purchase had really helped them. These included small and cost-effective items such as: grab rails, walk-in showers, mobility scooters, recliner chairs, long-handled sock and stocking aids.
Only 15% of those experiencing difficulties would look for a product that helps them carry out ordinary household tasks. And just 29% of people seeking advice on independent-living products such as kettle tippers or grab rails go to a retail outlet, with 27% preferring to talk to a health or social care professional.
Maggie Winchcombe, co-founder and director of Years Ahead, said, “Despite the fact that the UK has one of the fastest-growing ageing populations in Western Europe, people are not comfortable discussing the ageing process.
“It is important that products are more readily available that fulfil the vital function of helping consumers throughout later life. At the moment, retailers and product suppliers simply don’t cater for these needs.”
“The reason why only 15% of these consumers think about buying something is because they don’t know where to go on the high street for advice or where to find the products they need. Our study shows that the vast majority of consumers remain in the dark, which may hinder their chances of living independently or living well.”
Some 55% said the top three aspects of daily living that are problematic as they grow older are: getting out and about, household chores and DIY and gardening
Only one in three had obtained or bought a product to support them; two out of three hadn’t.
Price was found not to be a major barrier to purchasing independent-living products
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