Pensioners 'missing out on luxuries'

Many pensioners are unable to afford luxuries and are forced to live 'just above the breadline', a report by Age Concern has suggested.

The report found that 40% of over 65s felt that their social life was restricted because of a lack of money, while just over a third admitted that they could not afford to spend a day out with friends of family. One in three said that they could not afford to go out for a meal or to the pub or entertain friends or family at home.

Pursuing a hobby or leisure activity was also impossible for a third of respondents and 41% said that they were unable to afford a holiday.

Age Concern warned that thousands of older people are missing out on a decent quality of life, which could put them at risk of isolation and depression later on.

The report found that many older people used strategies such as heating only one room, buying economy food or food near its sell-by date and buying second-hand clothes from car-boot sales in order to save money.

However, in spite of this, most felt that they "could get by" on their income and cover essential costs. The Winter Fuel Allowance was also widely praised.

However, Age Concern said that although pensioner poverty has reduced since 1997, one in five pensioners are still living below the breadline.

Age Concern's Director-General Gordon Lishman said: "It's appalling that so many older people face a daily struggle to make ends meet and are being forced to sacrifice simple pleasures to afford their rapidly rising bills.

"There is no question that radical pensions reform is desperately needed to prevent future generations facing the same fate in retirement. But the plight of today's pensioners must not be overlooked in the midst of the pensions debate."


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