The impact of the economic recession on well-being and quality of life of older people

Health Soc Care Community. 2012 Nov;20(6):617-24. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-2524.2012.01077.x. Epub 2012 Aug 14.


The importance of economic well-being is recognised in the recent UK Government policy. Older people may be particularly vulnerable to economic fluctuations as they are reliant on fixed incomes and assets, which are reducing in value. Within the literature, little is understood about the impact of the current economic downturn on people's general quality of life and well-being and, in particular, there is little research on the financial experiences and capability of the older age group, a concern in light of the ageing UK population. This article reports a qualitative research study into the nature of older peoples' vulnerability by exploring their perceptions of the impact of the economic recession on their well-being and quality of life. It explores specifically a group of older people who are not the poorest within the ageing population, but who may be described as the 'asset rich-income poor' group. Key themes relate to the impact of the recession on the costs of essential and non-essential items and dimensions of mental, physical and social well-being. Implications for health and social care practice in meeting the needs of older people during times of economic recession are then explored. The paper adds to the debate by demonstrating that the recession is having adverse consequences for older people's quality of life in terms of economic, mental and social well-being, although there is also evidence that some of them are equipped with certain resilience factors due to their money management and budgeting skills.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Economic Recession*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Personal Satisfaction*
  • Qualitative Research
  • Quality of Life*
  • Resilience, Psychological
  • United Kingdom