Pensioners are finding it harder to save money as they are hit by rises in the cost of living, a new survey has shown.
One in four people aged over 65 said they were saving less now than they were three months ago, and nearly half claim this is because they can no longer afford to, according to Sainsbury’s Bank.
A fifth of retired people admit they are not saving anything at all on a regular basis, and just 4% claimed they had been able to increase the amount they set aside during the past three months.
Across all age groups, 25% of people are saving less than they were three months ago and only 14% are saving more.
One in five is yet to pay off a mortgage and one in three is racking up average credit and personal debt of £5,900.
With many people buying a home later in life and state pensions not keeping pace with inflation, there are fears the problem will only get worse.
A report from Scottish Widows paints a worrying picture.
The total debt of those over 65 has hit £57 billion, according to the investment company, while pensioners’ average credit card and personal loan debt has risen by 42 per cent in the past year.
Kate Jopling, of the charity Help the Aged, called the figures “worrying”.
“With one in five retired homeowners still paying a mortgage and one in five pensioners living in poverty, the future looks pretty bleak.”
The cost of living for elderly people is rising at more than twice the rate of other households, research has showed.
People aged between 65 and 74 saw their annual expenditure increase by around 9% a year between 2002 and 2006, more than double the national average of 4%, according to insurer Prudential.
The situation is even worse for people over 75, who saw their cost of living soar by around 10% a year during the same period.
The group said the steeper increase in expenditure for older people was caused by the higher proportion of their income they spent on food and drink, the cost of which is rising at up to five times the rate of inflation.
It said the average household spent around 10% of its annual income on food and non-alcoholic drink, but this rose to 13% among people aged between 65 and 74, and was 15% for people over 75.
But it warned that the jumps in the cost of living being faced by pensioners were being made worse by the fact that the average pensioner income was increasing by just 3% a year.
Councils have made it harder for the elderly to stay in their own homes by increasing charges for basic support services such as shopping and laundry.
New research reveals that budget restraints mean that thousands of pensioners who need help with cleaning or feeding are no longer receiving it free.
They face a battery of tests to determine their ‘eligibility’ for care in spite of the fact that the vast majority have been paying council tax for years.
A survey to be published on Wednesday by the charity Counsel and Care will show that in the past year councils have raised the barriers even higher for those needing some domiciliary help.
Hundreds of thousands of elderly people have experienced some sort of abuse, a new report has found.
The UK Study of Abuse and Neglect report found 342,000 people aged over 66 have been victims of abuse, ranging from financial fraud to emotional abuse and even assault.
The report, comissioned by the Department of Health and charity Comic Relief, said 105,000 elderly people had suffered ten or more separate instances of neglect.
The figures, compiled over two years, are based on a survey of 2,000 people who live in their own homes.
The majority of abusers, 53 per cent, were living in the respondent’s house at the time of the abuse.
Of those, 65 per cent of perpetrators were recorded as having committed “interpersonal” abuse, meaning physical, psychological or sexual abuse was cited.
More than one-fifth of elderly people feel they are living in poverty, a Help the Aged survey has suggested.
Of 1,095 adults questioned, 28% said their quality of life had got worse in the last 12 months, while 93% said their lives had not improved.
The charity said the findings were “outrageous” and called for a clear commitment to end pensioner poverty.
A total of 13% of those surveyed said they were lonely and rarely left the house.
Hundreds of thousands of elderly people have had their “social care” cut in the past decade.
Seven in 10 councils in England have been forced to “ration” services since Labour came to power, according to the Local Government -Association.
Most town halls now provide services – including meals-on-wheels, trips to day centres and home visits from social workers – only to pensioners with “substantial” or “critical” needs.
Lack of funding means many councils now help only those who are seriously ill or incapacitated. In some cases, pensioners have had to sell their homes to help pay for private care, or ask their families to pick up the bill.
The revelations follow last week’s admission by Ivan Lewis, the minister responsible for care services, that provision for the elderly is “one of the great challenges facing our society”. He called for “a new settlement that is fair and -sustainable”.
A spokesman for Age Concern said: “The withdrawal of social care services is having a devastating impact on the elderly. Cutting down or restricting by tightening criteria will mean people will often have to do without.”