Don't call me pensioner, say over 60s

Article date: 18 February 2002

Britain's over 60s are rebelling against the label‘old-age pensioner’, a new study reveals today.

More than half of the people officially known as OAPs arerejecting the term – with three quarters claiming it’spatronising and out of date.

And television characters like grumpy Victor Meldrew and noseyEastEnder Dot Cotton do more harm than good in depicting retirees,according to research from Norwich Union.

Now, the majority of active and fit over 60s are calling for theword pensioner to be banned and a new term to be introduced tobetter reflect their age group.

Norwich Union polled over 60s across the country and the mostpopular new names to replace old-age pensioner were:

  1. Matures
  2. Seniors
  3. SWELS (seniors with energetic lifestyles)
  4. Veteran
  5. Seasoned
  6. Vintage

And soon to be pensioners – the over 55s – alsoadmit to suffering from old-fashioned perceptions of OAPs, with 15per cent feeling pressure from society to act a certain way.

Norwich Union’s study amongst over 60s also revealed:

  • More than two in five people never claim benefits available tothem, with a quarter admitting they are not even aware thatthey’re eligible for discounts
  • A quarter see the term OAP as having a stigma attached to itwhich makes them feel excluded from the rest of society
  • Only 14 per cent of people over the age of 60 feel theiractual age – with the majority saying that being an OAP is astate of mind rather than a specific age
  • Men feel more social pressure than women to act a certain wayand live a certain lifestyle when they reach the age of 60

Commenting on the findings, Daren Carter, head of equity releasemarketing for Norwich Union, said: “Our research shows thatperceptions of the over 60s are out of date and quite patronising.People simply don’t want to be known as OAPs any more.

“Radical changes in work patterns mean people could belooking forward to 30 or more years of retirement. Many feel at theprime of their lives, have a younger outlook and a real zest forlife.

Don Steele, director of social policy for the Association ofRetired and Persons over 50 (ARP/O50) added: “The UK’smature population is more active than ever but still suffers fromthe social stigma attached to being labeled OAPs. Society hasbecome youth obsessed. It’s time for people to change theirperceptions and realise that for a growing number of people lifebegins not at forty, but at sixty.”

Norwich Union conducted the study as it launches a new equityrelease product with a minimum eligibility age of 55 – thelowest available – so that people don’t have to waituntil they retire to take advantage of it.

Norwich Union has also relaunched its existing fixed rateFlexible Cash Release Plan with an improved benefits package. Andtake-up of equity release has increased more than tenfold over fiveyears* and the signs are that it is continuing to boom.

Norwich Union has produced a guide for consumers explaining theequity release process. For your free copy of ‘Unlock yourfuture – equity release made easy’ call Freefone 0800122 876.


Press contact:
Anja Kueppers or Matthew Buchanan at QBO on 020 7379 0304, 07803501804 or 07939 232174. Or Louise Zucchi at Norwich Union PressOffice on 08703 66 68 60

Notes to Editors:

  • Based on the research results, Norwich Union has re- designedthe OAP road sign to visually represent the most popular names(see attached). These can be e-mailed or sent by ISDN ifrequired.

*source SHIP 2002

  • Norwich Union commissioned Taylor Nelson Sofres to conduct anindependent survey of 365 people aged 55 years plus. The researchwas carried out in January 2002.
  • The plans provide a lifetime loan secured on property. Fullwritten terms and conditions are available on request.
  • Norwich Union is the UK’s largest insurer. It is theUK’s largest provider of life, pensions and investmentproducts and one of the leading IFA providers. IFAs provide around75% of the company’s long-term savings business.
  • Norwich Union has strategic alliances with over 20 buildingsocieties and other leading UK brand names including TescoPersonal Finance and The Royal Bank of Scotland Group.
  • Norwich Union’s news releases are available on thisinternet site
  • A selection of images is available from the CGNU Newscast siteat
  • An ISDN facility is available for studio quality interviews.Call the press office on 08703 66 68 68

For all life & pensions media enquiries 08703 66 68 73
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