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Pandemic fuels money fears for older women 

A new survey has revealed that women over 50 are one and a half times more likely to have suffered mental health problems than men since the start of the pandemic and are more likely to have money worries about the future.

According to the survey for SunLife:

  • 40% of women over 50 have seen their mental health decline because of the pandemic compared to 26% of men over 50
  • Almost half of women over 50 are ‘worried’ about the next 12 months compared to less than a third of men and 1.5 times more likely to worry about money now
  • 29% of women over 50 are financially worse off as a result of the pandemic – by £449 a month on average

SunLife’s Exploring the impact of the pandemic on over 50s report found that one in three older people have seen their mental health decline as a result of the pandemic. 

SunLife interviewed 1,051 people over 50 in December and 33% said their mental health had worsened because of the crisis, while 40% say they were worried about the next 12 months.

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The report highlighted that older women were more likely than men to have seen their financial situation deteriorate because of the crisis and those who have (29%) are £449 worse off per month on average. 

SunLife’s study also found working people were more likely to have seen their mental health decline because of the pandemic and were almost three times as likely to be worse off financially than those who are retired. They are also considerably more worried about the future – both in general and money terms – than retirees.  

Almost half (46%) of over 50s who were working at the start of the pandemic have either lost their job, been furloughed, or had their hours or pay cut, and 39% are now worse off – by £458 a month on average. Among retirees, just 12% are worse off, says SunLife.  

Three quarters of people over 50 say their work-life balance is worse as a result of the pandemic.

Key Survey Stats

 

All over 50s

Under 65

Over 65

Women

Men

Working

Retired

My mental health is worse as a result of the crisis

33%

40%

22%

40%

26%

38%

23%

I am feeling worried about the next 12 months

40%

48%

27%

47%

32%

48%

26%

My financial situation is worse as a result of the pandemic

27%

35%

16%

29%

26%

39%

12%

The pandemic has made me more worried about money than before

21%

28%

9%

26%

16%

30%

7%

The pandemic has made me worry my money will run out

13%

16%

8%

15%

11%

17%

6%

Source: SunLife 

Ian Atkinson, marketing director at SunLife said: “Our research shows that the pandemic has taken its toll on older people’s mental health, and women more than men.

“There are undoubtedly a number of factors at play here, but not being able to travel, and the lack of social contact are likely to be major reasons, as previous studies have told us that spending time with family and going on holiday are the things that bring older people – particularly women – the most happiness. 

“The disruption to jobs, worsening work/life balance and reduced incomes has almost certainly had an impact; almost half of people over 50 who were working at the start of the crisis have seen their job negatively impacted and 39% are now worse off than they were before.

“But, with the vaccine programme well underway and the roadmap for the easing of restrictions now in place, at least now there is some light at the end of the tunnel and older people can hopefully start feeling a bit more positive about the future.”


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