There must be a greater government focus on preventing ill-health, increasing employment opportunities for older people and improving housing as a significant proportion of people are at now risk of spending their later life in hardship, a report has found.
Research published today by charity Centre for Ageing Better said about 1.9 million pensioners are now living in poverty, the first time levels have risen since 2010.
Using publicly available data, the report State of Ageing in 2019 said women and black and minority ethnic groups are most likely to experience financial struggles in later life.
The proportion of all people aged 50-64 who have three or more chronic health conditions currently stands at 23% and is rising, the charity said.
However, the poorest people are much more likely to suffer from a range of conditions than their wealthier counterparts. The report found that the poorest men are three times as likely to have chronic heart disease, twice as likely to have type 2 diabetes or arthritis and almost four times more likely to need help with basic daily activities.
The charity said 1.3 million people aged over 55 live in homes that pose a serious risk to their safety, while 3.3 million 50-64-year-olds are not in work.
Centre for Better Ageing chief executive Anna Dixon described the report as a “wake-up call”.
She added: “We must act now to add life to our years to make sure that everyone has the opportunity to make the most of a longer life.
“Without radical action today to help people age well, we are storing up problems for the future and leaving millions at risk of poverty and poor health in later life.”