Wednesday 25 April 2018

Over-50s as healthy and happy as before recession, says ESRI

The large majority of older people said they were still in good health.
The large majority of older people said they were still in good health.
Aideen Sheehan

Aideen Sheehan

OLDER people have not suffered any decline in their health or well-being as a result of the recession, despite their property-related wealth taking a big hit.

A new report from the Economic and Social Research Institute (ESRI) shows that older people have experienced a 45pc decline in their net assets and expect to work a bit longer as a result of the economic collapse.

However, their average incomes have not been affected and they're just as happy and healthy as before the crash.

The ESRI found the net assets of people aged over 50 in Ireland plummeted by 45pc, from €565,000 to €306,000, between 2006 and 2012.

Most of this decline was explained by the drop in house prices, the report said.

However, the good news for older people was that their average income did not fall in this period.

And when the ESRI looked at quality of life, it found that the average level of well-being among over-50s actually increased between 2006 and 2011.


Though this fell back slightly in 2013, their well-being – in terms of how they rated their control, autonomy, self-realisation and pleasure – was still slightly higher than it was during the final days of the Celtic Tiger.

And the large majority of older people said they were still in good health. The report found that while the numbers declaring themselves to be in excellent health had fallen, this was more than made up for by a rise in the numbers reporting good or very good health – to two-thirds of the total – along with a decline in those reporting poor or fair health.

But many expect to be working longer, with 39pc believing they'll be working past the age of 62 or 63, compared with 34pc in 2006.

And while back in 2006, some 27pc believed that their standard of living would improve in the next five years, by last year just 7pc of people believed the outlook was rosy.

Report authors Alan Barrett and Vincent O'Sullivan said that although the recession led to large falls in wealth for those aged over 50, the data showed no significant deterioration in health or well-being.

The report said: "This could be related to the fact that median income did not appear to fall. The finding is consistent with other international studies, which suggest that any negative impacts of recession on health and well-being may be overstated in popular discussion."

Irish Independent

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