Text to donate

Text RVOL03 £3 to 70070 to make a £3 donation and help an older person today


In your area

Find your local Royal Voluntary Service and see how we can help.

Loading... please wait

email sign up

Keep up to date with our regular emails.

Sign up

Defining well-being

a report of research with older peoleThe report Voices on Well-being presents a summary of the key findings from the national consultation held in phase one of the project, in which a diverse range of older people were asked to define their well-being, the factors that shape it, the barriers to well-being, the impact of services on well-being and suggested improvements. 166 participants shared their views and concerns with us in focus groups and qualitative research interviews.

The research showed that participants define well-being as feeling healthy, free from pain and able to lead a positive life. They describe the feelings of well-being as: happiness, contentment, satisfaction, peace of mind, comfort, enjoyment and euphoria. Well-being is also associated with feelings of self-worth and achievement.

It also reveals that services older people believe are crucial to their well-being are suffering as a result of government cuts across the country which are creating greater pressures on the health service.

The Shaping our Age study reveals:

  • Social interaction is cited as being one of the most important factors to improved well-being and quality of life, but older people are feeling more isolated as services become increasingly remote – for instance as services move online, or as local facilities close.
  • There is a tangible impact on older people, the wider community and the UK economy as a result of cuts to public services designed to prevent older people from being isolated, such as day centres and befriending services (eg organised shopping trips, exercise classes, or specialist one-to-one support during times of change or difficulty).
  • The level of practical support available to older people to enable them to continue living in their own home is not sufficient, and there is a need for greater access to support at critical times, such as following bereavement.
  • There are significant failings in hospital care for older people – poor treatment from hospital staff, poor hospital hygiene and low disability awareness.
  • The lack of dignity and respect exposed in hospital care is now being seen in other public services, such as GP surgeries – there is evidence that unacceptable older people’s care is present throughout the public sector, which is sparking concern about the quality of public services more broadly.

Download Voices on Well-being full report and summary

Shaping our Age partner logos

Work in partnership with Royal Voluntary Service?

Work with us to improve the lives of older people.

Get in touch