Age UKs Wellbeing IndexThe Wellbeing in Later Life Index, developed by Age UK and the University of Southampton, analysed data from 15,000 people aged 60 and over to measure the wellbeing of the UK’s older population.

It looked at how people were doing in different aspects of their lives under five key areas – social, personal, health, financial and environmental.

Overall it showed there is no ‘magic bullet’ for positive wellbeing in later life and that instead, a whole host of factors under each of the key areas play a part in contributing to a person’s overall sense of wellbeing.

Factors which were found to have a bigger influence in improving peoples’ wellbeing than many people might suppose included:

  • having an open personality and being willing to try out new things;
  • being physically active;
  • having a good memory and thinking skills;
  • and a good social network and lots of warm relationships around you.

Interestingly however, the Index found that taking part in ‘creative activities’ such as the arts had the most direct influence in improving a person’s wellbeing in later life. The activities that older people took part in included dancing, playing a musical instrument, visiting museums, photography, singing, painting and writing.

This may be partly because older people who are fit and well, with an adequate income, a positive outlook on life, and possibly a good education too, are more likely to want to be able to get involved in activities like these, and more likely to be able to do so, than others who lack these advantages.

As the number of people aged 60 and over is expected to pass the 20 million mark by 2030, the Index provides a unique snapshot on how older people are doing now and shines a light on some of the changes that are needed to improve the quality of life for our ageing population in future.

Download the full report here.