A new study from Retirement Villages Group (“RVG”) reveals that the total value of unpaid services provided by retirees in the South West annually is £4.9-billion and a staggering £48-billion across the UK every year — the equivalent of 2% of 2021 UK GDP.
The findings highlight the critical but often overlooked role people aged over 65 have in our society and economy.
Bespoke economic modelling by the Centre of Economic and Business Research (“Cebr”) calculated the total time spent by retired over 65s engaging in unpaid services, multiplied by the average wage as per the Annual Survey of Hours and Earnings (ASHE) for a comparable, paid role, to calculate the economy-wide impact.
These services include: formal volunteers (unpaid help through clubs and organisations), informal volunteers (unpaid help to individuals), informal adult carers (unpaid) help to friend or family member), and local authority councillors.
Finding purpose through volunteering
RVG’s study found that 8.6 million retired over-65s engaged in some kind of formal or informal volunteering in 2020/21, which equates to an economic value of £32.7-billion.
RVG also recently commissioned the National Innovation Centre for Ageing (NICA) to provide insight into the levers that impact wellbeing, quality of life and healthy longevity amongst older adults. The work highlighted that retired people over 65 are motivated to volunteer for the social interaction and to give them a sense of purpose once they leave the working world, recognising the importance of engaging actively in society for the benefit of their physical, mental and emotional wellbeing.
Caring for the nation
Close to one million retired people over 65 are acting as informal carers to loved ones, whether looking after grandchildren or caring for relatives, which equates to an economic value of £15.3-billion.
Bridging the community and the council
Another way retirees over 65 ‘give back’ is through taking on positions in local councils. A third (37%) of all local authority councillors in England are aged over 65, equating to an economic value of £129million.
Will Bax, CEO of Retirement Villages Group comments: “It’s time to shine a light on the massive contribution made by our elders and change the misplaced public narrative from care and dependency to a more accurate reflection that recognises their wisdom, experience, and social contribution.
“This research highlights the importance of older people to the UK economy. But it’s only half the story, our elders are an army of talent, who are often the glue of society using their time, post retirement, to serve their communities.”
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