It is encouraging to read that most people over 50 feel less stressed, are happier and have a better sense of wellbeing than those who are younger – well I guess there has to be some advantage to gaining a few more wrinkles! Maybe to some extent the pressure is off because we are no longer worried about conforming or being in the centre of social activity, and we now have established friendship groups. I’m sure our generation will also remain younger at heart and much more active than our parents, which all adds to the feel good factor of being middle aged.
However, whilst we may be the envied ‘baby boomers’, as the sandwich generation with kids still living at home increasingly more of us now also have to look after our parents who are living longer. As anyone with elderly parents knows, this brings a whole new set of problems and stressful responsibilities. Older women in particular are becoming the largest demographic in the world, and 20% of our generation is expected to reach 100. In Britain there are now more pensioners than children, and half of those aged over 75 already live alone, so care for the elderly can only become a bigger problem for us all, and it is one that politicians seem loath to address in depth.
Our ‘baby boomer’ demographic is now the largest socio economic group, with the highest spending capacity. Yet many of us would also say that we become rather invisible once we hit 50 – nearly 70% of older people from a Times survey said they thought politicians assign them a low priority. Politicians should realise that our votes and those of our parents will become their single most important voting group.
Issues relating to the welfare of the older generations need to have a much higher priority.