Headlines: December 2nd, 2009

Research released today has found that more people are afraid of losing their independence as they grow older than of dying. The study by the charity the Disabled Living Foundation shows that more than two thirds of people say losing independence or becoming dependent on others is their major concern.

Those worries are second only to concerns about ill health which were mentioned by 74 per cent of respondents. Almost half of people were worried about having to move into a care home in old age. In spite of the present economic climate and worries over pensions only 44 per cent of those taking part in the study listed struggling to cope financially as a concern while just 29 per cent were concerned about dying.

The DLF said that better healthcare and healthier lifestyles meant more people than ever are living to 100, but with the older population growing rapidly and increased demand on the welfare system there was both a need and a desire for people to be able to retain their independence and stay in their own homes as long as possible.

The Foundation’s Chief Executive, Christine Shaw, said: “Getting older should not be a barrier to having choice and control over the quality of your life, or be a reason to move out of your own home. Many older people just need help, ideas and advice about the simple equipment that exists to help them with daily tasks and to lead full, active and safe lives.”

The DLF research also shows that two thirds of people currently help an older family member, neighbour or friend with basic tasks.