New international healthcare research released from Bupa reveals the emergence of a young-at-heart generation, who still feel young and healthy in their 70s and 80s. Across the globe, 72 per cent of those aged 65 and above do not consider themselves to be old, with France emerging as the most young-at-heart nation with nearly a third believing that people are only old when they are over 80.
The majority of people around the world are failing to plan for the realities of old age. Fewer than a quarter of over 65s have put money aside to prepare for old age. Two-thirds assume that their families will be there to shoulder the burden of care.
A new report by the London School of Economics (LSE) suggests that the informal care network (the traditional pattern of families looking after their elderly) is disintegrating. This is due to a number of factors, including the number of older people in need of care growing faster than the number of potential carers from younger generations, the growth of women in employment and the increase of one-person households.
Dr Sneh Khemka of Bupa International says, "People now need to start thinking about who will care for them, when they are no longer able to look after themselves. We talk about our pensions but not our long-term care needs. The risk is that families will be in danger of not being able to deal with the specialist care needs of their elderly relatives. All older people have the right to personalised care. But this will only be possible if people who are living for today, also start planning for tomorrow. We urge everyone to start thinking about their future care, to start talking about it with their families and to start preparing for it."