Ageing populations are an increasing issue for the Western world. The proportion of people over aged sixty is growing plus there has been a rise in older men and women living alone and a decline in those living with children or relatives. A new study analysed the impact of living alone, with a spouse or with others on the health and happiness of older people and how it varies within Europe and in England and Wales.
Key findings from the research include:
Professor Emily Grundy from the Centre for Population Studies at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine commented: "These findings have important policy implications for whether long term care services for older people living alone should be prioritized, or if services should be directed at unpaid family carers. This research highlights differences within Europe. Older people in Scandinavia were happier than in other regions of Europe. In Scandinavia there are generous welfare systems. In quite a lot of countries, including the UK, older people living alone were less happy and had lower life satisfaction than those who lived with others".
The study was carried out by Harriet Young and Professor Emily Grundy at the Centre for Population Studies at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine. It was based on findings from the Office for National Statistics Longitudinal Study on England and Wales, the English Longitudinal Study of Ageing on England, and the European Social Survey with data from 19 European Countries. Four categories were used for living arrangements: living with a spouse only, living alone, living with a spouse as well as other people, and living with people other than a spouse.
This study was funded by the Economic and Social Research Council.
Materials provided by Economic & Social Research Council. Note: Content may be edited for style and length.
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