High living costs and other economic pressures means the quality of life for over-50s in the UK is significantly worse now than it was a year ago, according to research published today by Saga and the Centre for Economics and Business Research.
The latest Saga Quarterly Report, which brings together official data and a survey of over-50s, found that 32% of the age group reported poorer living standards in the first quarter of 2012 than at the start of 2011.
According to Saga, unemployment and abnormally high levels of inflation are eating away at the spending power of older generations. Job losses have hit women particularly hard, it noted.
Concerns over living costs remain the number one worry in life, particularly for those in their 50s with over 60% of people aged 50-54 citing living costs as a greater concern than this time last year, while 45% of over-50s are cutting back on non-essential spending.
Dr Ros Altmann, Director General, Saga said: "We are still a long way from reporting a "positive" Quality of Life for the over 50s in the UK. Although there seems to have been a minor improvement over the last quarter only it's too early to say whether this marks the start of a new trend towards lasting quality of life improvement.
'Our Quarterly Report Series serves as a reminder to policy makers that older generations should feature more prominently on the Government's agenda.'
Saga also called on the Bank of England to take the impact of inflation 'more seriously' as its survey showed the damage caused to economic activity by rising prices. Rising living costs were consistently the biggest concern of over-50s during 2011, and remain so in the first quarter of 2012, causing older generations to significantly cut their spending.
Despite the gloomy picture, Saga also found that a third of over-50s were still financially helping their children and grandchildren.