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Older people optimistic about ageing, but "fear becoming a burden"

The report was launched by broadcasting legend Mícheál Ó Muircheartaigh, who said that “getting older doesn’t have to mean losing your health.”
Sep 28th 2012, 10:04 AM 2,299 11

THE MAJORITY OF older people in Ireland feel optimistic about growing old – but a considerable percentage worry about being a “burden” in the future.

That is according to this year’s Pfizer Health Index, which reveals that 78 per cent of older people feel either prepared or optimistic about getting old and 74 per cent of older people agree that they feel growing old is more a happy than sad experience.


The vast majority – 95 per cent – of older people surveyed agreed that it is important to retain independence as one ages, while 50 per cent worry about becoming a burden upon others as they age.

When it comes to finances, 26 per cent said that they don’t have enough money to do the things they want to do, with 62 per cent claiming to have enough money in this regard.


Older people were also asked about technology, and 60 per cent of them feel that modern technology and computers have “left them behind”.

When it comes to grandchildren, 67 per cent of grandparents say they don’t mind looking after grandchildren, but 17 per cent say they would rather not look after them.

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At the launch of the report, legendary GAA and sports broadcaster, Mícheál Ó Muircheartaigh said:

Although I retired in 2010 from RTE I haven’t stopped working, doing bits and pieces here and there, which I enjoy thoroughly. I am eighty two years young, with a career that has spanned six decades, some people may think I am old, but I’ve never looked upon age as anything other than a number. I believe that as you get older you should try and maintain a healthy lifestyle – getting older doesn’t have to mean losing your health.


Sixty five per cent of older people are uncomfortable with the idea of living in a nursing home, while 18 per cent are comfortable.

  • More than 72 per cent of older people hold a medical card and more than a third (37 per cent) continue to pay for private medical insurance.
  • There has been a decline in middle class people who have health insurance – 64 per cent in 2010, 63 per cent in 2011 and now 52 per cent in 2012..
  • Two thirds (65 per cent) of adults score their own health assessment at 8 out of 10 or higher, which is the highest personal health assessment score observed over the seven years the report has been produced.
  • The gap in health perceptions is widest among those from socially disadvantaged backgrounds, with a difference seen of over 7 percentage points when comparing personal health assessment.
  • In the 2012 survey, older people rate their own health at 7.3 out of 10.

David Gallagher, Managing Director of Pfizer Healthcare Ireland, said:

Health prevention and disease management strategies are key in ensuring that people reach old age in good health and can continue to live full active lives.

Read: One third of pensioners in one Irish county live on their own – census>

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Aoife Barry


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