Press release

Publication of DWP Research Report 737 Aspirations for Later Life

This news article was published under the 2010 to 2015 Conservative and Liberal Democrat coalition government

Research examines what aspirations people of all ages hold for their later life and what they are currently doing to prepare.

Research published today examines what aspirations people of all ages hold for their later life, what they are currently doing to prepare, and what enablers and barriers there are to achieving their aspirations.

This study focuses on many of the social aspects of preparing for later life and specifically looks at what plans people are making for later life in their earlier years; what hopes or ambitions may motivate people as they approach later life; and, whether later life is viewed as an opportunity to do things people were unable to do in their earlier years or as a time to relax and do less.

Key Findings:

  • The majority (65 per cent) held hopes or ambitions for their later life with about a third of these having some ideas but not having thought about it that much though. However, the remaining 35 per cent stated they had not thought about it at all.
  • Among those respondents aged 50-59 years, 53 per cent held hopes or ambitions for their later life, 22 per cent had some ideas but had not thought about it that much and 25 per cent had not thought about it at all.
  • Among those who either had some ideas about their later life but had not given it much thought or had not thought about it at all, 41 per cent said this was because they don’t tend to plan their life in advance. For 37 per cent, it was because they felt themselves to be too young or that it was too far off.
  • For those with hopes or ambitions for later life these predominantly related to leisure activities or hobbies (cited by 81 per cent). Others related to volunteering (39 per cent) and paid work (37 per cent).
  • In terms of planning, a wide range of preparation activity was reported (for example, 35 per cent by estimating their likely future pension income and 32 per cent by starting to save). Planning for long-term care was least commonly reported (six per cent).
  • Expectations for caring in later life showed that almost three-quarters (73 per cent) of respondents expected to care for someone when they themselves were in later life.
  • Younger respondents were most likely to state that they expected to have caring responsibilities in later life.
  • Interest in volunteering in later life varied by type: with 53 per cent of respondents interested in formal volunteering and 33 per cent in informal types. However, 31 per cent were not interested in either type of volunteering.
  • Older respondents were less interested in any type of volunteering with 61 per cent of those aged 65 years or more stating that they were unlikely to do any type of volunteering in the future.

Notes to Editors:

  1. DWP Research Report 737 ‘Aspirations for Later Life’ can be found at: http://research.dwp.gov.uk/asd/asd5/rrs-index.asp
  2. The authors are Alun Humphrey, Lucy Lee and Rosie Green of the Society and Social Change Group at the National Centre for Social Research (NatCen). 
  3. The research for this report was conducted as part of the National Centre for Social Research Omnibus (May - July and August - October 2010). A total of 1,867 adults aged 16 years and over took part in the survey across the two waves of data collection. The Omnibus uses a stratified random probability sample which is nationally representative of adults in Great Britain.