Covid-19 could create ‘lost generation’ of older workers

Covid-19 risks creating ‘a lost generation’ of older workers worse affected by health issues, more financially insecure and struggling to find new jobs if they face redundancy.

Older lady sits in armchair looking pensive


The Covid-19 crisis could lead to a generation of people in their 50s and 60s entering retirement in poor health and without enough money to support themselves, according to a survey from the Centre for Ageing Better.

The survey shows a fifth of people in this age group have seen their physical health deteriorate during the lockdown period and over a third say their mental health has worsened. Over half have had a medical or dental appointment delayed or cancelled and 37% have been drinking more alcohol during lockdown, with 39% smoking more.

Almost half believe that their personal finances will worsen over the next year and only 39% of those who are currently furloughed or of working age but not in employment are confident that they will be employed in the future.

The Centre for Ageing Better warns that without action, the impact of lockdown risks creating a ‘lost generation’ of pensioners in poor health and financially insecure. It is calling on the government to make sure this generation is not left behind in the recovery and to provide tailored job-seekers support for older workers to protect their financial well being.

The new figures also show that the unemployed and those who anticipate their finances worsening over the next year are more likely to have seen their health deteriorate over the lockdown period.

Anna Dixon, Chief Executive at the Centre for Ageing Better, said:  “These figures are deeply worrying. If this generation continues to be an afterthought in the coronavirus recovery, we will see a lost generation entering retirement in poorer health and worse financial circumstances than those before them.

“We know that the over 50s already face serious disadvantages in the workforce, are more likely to be made redundant and struggle more than any other group to get back into work once they have fallen out. And yet this group are being ignored when it comes to proposed actions to support the recovery.

“At the same time, it’s clear that this group also face serious risks to their health. More than one in five have seen their health deteriorate during lockdown. We need to see much stronger action to improve the health of the population and tackle the causes of preventable illness and disability, especially in poorer areas.”

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