In many cultures, older people have an elevated status and respect. In the UK, over 65s are too often seen as frail, a burden or a drain on society’s resources. In their recent report WRVS stated that older people make a huge contribution to our society, but sadly, their potential isn’t always realised.
By 2030, there will be three million over 85s in the UK and more than 15 million over 65s. The baby boom generation is hitting 65 from this year onwards. Healthy life expectancy has never been greater. The debate about the changing demographics becomes focused on the resulting cost on the state. An ageing society is no longer a probability; it’s a very present, national reality.
WRVS don’t believe an ageing population spells disaster – in fact say it’s a recipe for success.
They commissioned independent economists SQW, who have worked with experts from a range of fields on, an in-depth study to spotlight older people’s social and economic contribution to the UK.
Their research finds that in 2010, over 65s, through taxes, spending power, provision of social care and the value of their volunteering, made an astonishing net contribution of £40 billion to the UK economy.
And as the overall number of people over 65 increases and people remain healthier for longer, opportunities to make a positive contribution through work or volunteering will only grow. WRVS estimate that in 2030 the positive net contribution of over 65s will grow to £77 billion by 2030.
They believe that more than any other group in society, older people are the social glue of most communities. The report concludes that every year, each older volunteer spends an average of over 100 hours ‘informally’ volunteering and more than 55 hours in formal volunteering roles. This is worth £10 billion to the UK economy.
To read the full report visit their website here