wrinkled hand holding coinsSome signs of the "green shoots" of recovery are seen in a report into older people's finances and well-being.

Saga's quarterly report finds that many are doing their best to "grin and bear it", having seen soaring bills last year while failing to receive any real return on their savings. The first Saga Quarterly Report of 2012 highlighted some "tentative" signs of stability emerging this year.


One third (32%) of those surveyed report poorer living standards than a year ago, a slight improvement on the 38% who believed this when a similar study was carried out in the last three months of 2011.

Fewer over-50s also appear to be cutting back on spending on goods and services in response to rising living costs, indicating that living standards are stabilising, the survey said.

Prices for pensioners have risen by a much higher rate compared with the UK as a whole since the economic crisis got under way, the report said, at 20% for older people compared with the UK average of 15%.

Just over two-fifths (44%) of over-50s in this quarter report believe prices over the last 12 months have risen by 6% or more, down from just over half (52%) in the last three months of 2011.

Saga director general Ros Altmann said: "The first quarter of this year is still worse than last year but it seems like it may be showing some signs of green shoots relative to the dire position of last year. 2011 was an awful year and just kept getting worse. Looking at some of the survey results, it suggests that people are trying to grin and bear it."

Dr Altmann added: "We are still a long way from reporting a positive quality of life for the over-50s. Although there seems to have been a minor improvement over the last quarter only, it's too early to say whether this marks the start of a new trend towards true quality of life."

She highlighted the "damage" caused by inflation, as rising prices have caused older generations to make significant spending cuts.

More than 10,000 people took part in the survey.

© 2012 Press Association