Talking About Our Generation - our new website to recruit baby boomers for pioneering project

Release Date: 16 September 2011

Source: Mental Health Foundation

Country: United Kingdom

We today launch an online initiative to recruit people born between 1946 and 1955 for a ground-breaking project, Age Well.

The two year project, led by an inquiry panel chaired by Baroness Lola Young of Hornsey, is investigating how people born between 1946-1955, the so-called ‘baby boomers’, can lead the way in tackling mental illness and improving the quality of life in later years.

As part of the project we are inviting people to share their views and take part in debate about ageing in Britain.

Janis Grant, Age Well Project Manager says:

“Currently around one in four people aged over 65 suffer symptoms of mental illness, mostly depression. This affects their quality of life, is often untreated and is generally regarded as being a normal part of ageing.  We don’t think this has to be the case.

There are around 7 million people in Britain who were born between 1946 and 1955. At current rates some 1.75 million of these baby boomers are at risk of poor mental health in later life. However the lives they have lived, their attitudes to independence and their willingness to do things differently suggest that people born in the post war years will be more likely to protect their mental health and also more likely to seek help from a variety of sources if they experience mental illness. The project is aimed at identifying what needs to change to better support people’s mental health in later life.

We have done a lot of research on why older people experience mental illness. But the best way for us to develop proposals about how to protect future older people is to engage in discussion about the issues, with people, who were born in these post war years.  The project website will host surveys and debates and form a major part of our ongoing research.”

Baroness Lola Young of Hornsey, Chair of the Age Well Inquiry Panel says:

“This project is about improving the quality of life of older people. Our baby boomer generation has been fortunate to experience better health and greater life expectancy than any previous generation. At age 65 men can now expect to live on average for another 18.6 years and women of the same age for another 20.9.  But we are interested not just in how long someone is likely to live, but also in the quality of their life.

We know that as people get older they are likely to experience many challenges, including poorer health, disability and bereavements involving the loss of close relationships. However, long term mental illness is not an inevitable outcome of these experiences. Mental illness in later life is itself a major factor reducing quality of life. We aim through this project, to make a real impact on the future independence and wellbeing of people as they get older. I hope that many baby boomers feel inspired to join the debate and sign up ”