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The Mayor of London The London Assembly

Social Exclusion of Older People in London

Older people can face various barriers to experiencing the full range of benefits that society affords. Poor transport links, social isolation and insufficient income can all have a detrimental impact to a person’s quality of life.

This inability for an individual to benefit from the opportunities and resources that society should offer is referred to as social exclusion. The GLA have written a report that looks into the various drivers of social exclusion amongst older people (although many of these indicators are equally relevant amongst all age groups) and identifies areas in London where susceptibility is particularly high.

Six key drivers have been included with various indicators used to measure these. The majority of these indicators have been broken down into small geographical areas (LSOAs) to identify differences across different neighbourhoods in London. Below is a list of the six drivers and some key findings from the report.

1) Economic situation:
The Indices of Deprivation show that Tower Hamlets has the highest levels of income deprivation among older people followed by Hackney, Newham and Islington.

2) Transport Accessibility:
There are several LSOAs in London with both poor public transport accessibility and a high rate of older people living in households with no cars or vans. Although these LSOAs are quite dispersed, there are more towards the east, with five in Newham and a further seven in the neighbouring boroughs of Hackney, Greenwich and Waltham Forest.

3) Household Ties:
Older people living in Inner London were more likely to be living alone than in Outer London.

The majority of the LSOAs with a high proportion of older people providing 50 or more hours of unpaid care were in East London (especially Barking & Dagenham).

4) Neighbourhood Ties:
LSOAs in Tower Hamlets, Newham and Ealing exhibited the highest rates of residents aged 65 or over who cannot speak English well whilst LSOAs in Bromley and Havering had comparatively low rates.

Areas with high churn rates (i.e. high numbers of people moving in and out of the area)  are more common in Inner London; most notably Wandsworth, Westminster, City of London and Hammersmith & Fulham.

5) Health:
Dementia is an increasingly prevalent issue with over 45,000 Londoners diagnosed with the disorder as of 2014-15.

The majority of LSOAs in eastern boroughs had a high proportion of those aged 65 or over with a limiting long-term health problem or disability.

6) Safety:
Newham and Barking & Dagenham reported the highest rates of both those worried about anti-social behaviour in the area and those who feel unsafe walking alone after dark.  On the other end of the scale, Richmond reported the lowest rates for both indicators.

Inner London LSOAs averaged higher crime rates than Outer London. Crime rates were especially high in western Inner London boroughs such as Westminster, Kensington & Chelsea, and Camden.

Pulling all of these indicators together can help to identify areas where older people have a particularly high susceptibility of experiencing social exclusion, i.e. living in an LSOA with multiple disadvantages.

Figure 1: Number of indicators in the top decile of London LSOAs

Top decile

Over half of LSOAs in both Newham and Tower Hamlets had four or more of the twelve indicators in the top decile (that is the 10 per cent of LSOAs that have the worst scores). This was driven by fear of crime, inability to speak English well, income deprivation and a high rate with a limiting long-term health problem.

On the other end of the scale there are 11 boroughs with no LSOAs with four or more indicators in the top decile. These are Barnet, Bromley, Harrow, Havering, Hillingdon, Kingston upon Thames, Merton, Sutton, Waltham Forest, City of London, and Richmond upon Thames.

For a more detailed analysis, read the full report.

full report

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