Queen's Diamond Jubilee send spirits soaring for over 50s
The mood and wellbeing of Britain's over 50s soared after the Queen's diamond jubilee celebrations, lifting them out of one of their worst depressions for years, according to Saga's Quality of Life Index.
A snap survey after the Jubilee celebrations revealed a sharp rise in the proportion of over 50s who said they were happier than a year ago - 22% after the Jubilee, compared to just 12% beforehand.
In the lead up to the jubilee, however, Saga's latest Quality of Life Index had reached a record low (from -8.8 in Q2 last year to -16.2 in Q2 this year), while its new measure of over 50s wellbeing - the SMILE index - was in negative territory.
The SMILE Index (Saga Measure Indicating Life Enjoyment) used the same questions as the Government employs to track national wellbeing, asking about worry, loneliness, happiness, life satisfaction, feelings of self-worth and self-esteem.
The new SMILE measure is part of Saga's Quality of Life Index (QOLI) which reaffirms Saga's commitment to achieving better insights into the wellbeing of the nation's over 50s to ensure their needs are not ignored by policymakers.
Despite tentative signs that Quality of Life for the over 50s was stabilising in the first quarter of this year, the Index for the second quarter fell from 68.2 to 67.5 - a decline of 1%. This largely reflects loneliness and worry among women and lower socio-economic groups, and a fall in average reported life satisfaction across all age bands and socio-economic groups.
Dr. Ros Altmann, Director-General of Saga, commented today: "Britain's older generations have been finding it tougher than ever, but the Diamond Jubilee saw everyone come together in a national celebration and has notably increased the happiness levels of the over 50s.
"A blast of sunshine, pride in our country and time spent outdoors with family and friends may be just the ticket for millions of older people. Our hope is that the rest of the summer and the Olympics will help raise spirits further in the UK."
Dr Altmann warned however that the lift in the nation's mood was unlikely to be permanent. "Although older people were cheered by the jubilee, the fundamental problems remain," she said. "Inflation has hit them hard and their confidence continues to wane.
"The normally stoical older generations are finding it increasingly hard to remain upbeat, as our SMILE index shows. At the heart of these findings is a policy environment that is eroding the spending power and the livelihoods of Britain's older people.
"Policy makers simply must feature older generations more prominently on their agenda."