Pandemic has left Brits more fearful of ageing, Christian charity warns

A resident at Middlefields House in Chippenham, the first PFS care home to be based on a new intergenerational model.(Photo: PFS)

New research by a Christian care home charity suggests the pandemic has left Brits - and even many Christians - fearful of growing old. 

In the study by Pilgrims Friend Society (PFS), nearly half (42%) of UK adults said they were afraid of ageing while over half (52%) said the pandemic had made them more fearful of this. 

Five years ago, only a fifth (22%) of UK adults said they feared ageing, according to a BBC Radio 5 Live survey in 2016. 

The PFS poll was carried out by Savanta ComRes and involved 2,047 UK adults. 

Feelings of fear were prevalent even among those who identified as Christians, with over half (54%) saying they were more afraid of growing old as a result of the pandemic. 

A majority of adults overall (71%) said the pandemic had left them concerned about whether existing policies could provide adequate care for older people, with slightly more Christians worrying about this (74%). 

The poll also found that experiences of ageism are on the rise, with 22% of BBC respondents in 2016 saying they had experienced this, rising to 28% in the PFS study. 

The findings have inspired PFS to launch a renewal programme that uses an innovative 'household' model that will build intergenerational engagement.

The first home to be based on this model, Middlefields House in Chippenham, will be opened on 2 October. 

PFS CEO Stephen Hammersley said: "As Christians, we are often guilty of not valuing and plumbing the depths of the older saints around us.

"We don't call on their wisdom or lean on their prayer enough and perhaps if we did that more, our attitudes towards ageing would begin to shift, we would become less fearful and we would value older people more.

"Living a fulfilled life does not have a sell-by date and growing old is not something to be afraid of. Intergenerational community, discipleship and meaningful relationships are an essential part of countering the increased fear in ageing. Not because the old need the young, but because we all need each other.

"The effects of ageing may be the result of the worlds brokenness, but the new creation we were made for will be intergenerational."