Understanding older people’s experiences of poverty and material deprivationAuthors: Nicola Dominy, Professor Elaine Kempson
Funded by: Department for Work and Pensions
Published by: Corporate Document Services
Publication date: July 2006
Report number: DWP Research Report No 363
Little is known about how well material deprivation measures reflect the experience of poverty for older people. This study was commissioned with the overall aim of providing an understanding of pensioners' experiences of poverty and indicators of income-related material deprivation.
The study had a number of broad aims and objectives:
- To better understand pensioner’s experiences of poverty, and their understanding of what poverty means.
- To better understand why pensioners spend and save, what their spending priorities are, and when they are willing to use their savings.
- To explore the impact that (financial and in-kind) support from others has on older people’s perceptions of their needs.
- Explore the comparisons older people make with regard to poverty.
- To better understand the responses older people give to material deprivation questions.
- To identify factors that lead to material deprivation and the role that income plays in this.
The study was qualitative and comprised two stages: focus groups and depth interviews. The focus groups looked generally at the ways in which older people interact with questions that are designed to capture material deprivation. They also sought to identify what older people consider to be essentials, that should never be cut, and areas of expenditure where economies can be made if money is short.
Building on this initial exploration, the depth interviews focused more closely on the issues of poverty and affordability, and the decisions older people make when prioritising expenditure. They also explored in detail older peoples' interpretation of questions that are generally used in surveys to capture material deprivation.
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