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Your Later Life 2020

We must keep older people at the forefront of our minds

Caroline Abrahams

Charity Director, Age UK

Dealing with this virus is a marathon, not a sprint – especially for older people, who are going to need everybody’s help to keep their health in good shape and their spirits high.


It has been heart-warming to see so much solidarity being shown towards older people throughout this terrible pandemic.

At Age UK, we have been overwhelmed by all the offers of help we have received and the generosity of the public.

However, we are also beginning to realise, as no doubt you are too, that dealing with this virus is a marathon, not a sprint – especially for older people.

Many experts predict a resurgence later in the year

Even if, as we all hope, the rate of infection continues to decline, it is still a real menace to older people in some places and in shared living settings like care homes.

We must keep these older people at the forefront of our minds and give them all the practical and emotional support they need.

What’s more, while it may be suppressed during the summer, many experts predict a resurgence later in the year, coinciding with the usual seasonal flu and creating a ‘double whammy’, which will be tough to overcome.

This means that older people are going to need a lot of love and support for a good while yet, if they are to survive all of this with their health in good shape and their spirits high.

It is clearly going to be a long time before the shielded group can expect to live ‘normally’ once again

The lockdown has been lifted to the extent that families are able to meet with both grandparents, albeit only in a public space or a garden. After so long physically apart, this felt like – and indeed was – a big step forward.

The next step was that those who are shielding because they are at exceptional clinical risk of becoming severely ill if they contract the virus, were told they could very cautiously venture out and meet one other person, provided they abide by the social distancing rules.

This was a very welcome start – though we know many remain too afraid to take advantage of it.

Nonetheless, it is clearly going to be a long time before the shielded group, that includes almost a million older people, can expect to live normally once again. 

We must keep these older people at the forefront of our minds and give them all the practical and emotional support they need.

It isn’t only shielded older people who require this, but others who live with someone extremely vulnerable, such as those coping with health problems unrelated to COVID-19, as well as the older people who contracted the virus and thankfully survived.

Let’s not forget, too, those with deep emotional scars following bereavement, who were unable to mourn in the usual way; and the older people who have lost capacity, or confidence as a result of being cooped up and less active than before.

We can only continue to be there for older people with the support of the public

Now is the time for us to redouble our efforts to reach out and care for older people.

It’s why our brilliant local Age UKs will go on being there, delivering food and medicines and running their local services, and why our national Information and Advice and Friendship services are gearing up – not winding down.

COVID-19 hasn’t done with us yet and older people still need our help.  

Age UK can only continue with the support from you, the public, so if you can, please do help us by donating via our website www.ageuk.org.uk/yourlaterlife or by giving us a call on 0800 077 8751.

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Home » Health » We must keep older people at the forefront of our minds
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Why you CAN apply for a mortgage in later life

Steve Robinson

Head of Lending, Marsden Building Society

It might surprise you but applying for a mortgage in later life isn’t out of bounds. In fact, those in later life can apply for a mortgage to buy a new home, remortgage an existing property or release funds to help children or grandchildren onto the property ladder.


Steve Robinson, Head of Lending at the Marsden Building Society, says that a growing number of lenders offer mortgages for the over 50s.

“This reflects how people’s lifestyles have changed,” he says. “And, of course, we’re all living a lot longer.”

There are lots of reasons why an older borrower may be interested in taking out a retirement mortgage.

The plus for most older borrowers is that they’re likely to have a more-or-less guaranteed pension income.

And it’s not just to transfer a current mortgage, older borrowers can take on a new mortgage and can borrow for a variety of personal reasons, supporting their lifestyle or loved ones.

Robinson admits, however, that the definition of a ‘retirement mortgage’ can mean different things to different lenders.

“From our perspective, applicants need to be aged 55 or over, either in retirement or very close to it, ” he says.

“Everyone’s circumstances are different, so it’s important to get the right advice and make sure the mortgage is tailored to your individual needs to make sure it’s affordable, both now and in the future.”

How much you can borrow will depend on your circumstances but, in the case of the Marsden, they’ll consider applicants from the age of 55 to the age of 85, opening up options for borrowers in later life.

What potential borrowers can expect on application

When applying for a retirement mortgage, older borrowers can expect lenders to carry out a full affordability assessment.

“It’s important to work out what the applicant’s income is, what their commitments are and if they can afford to make mortgage payments comfortably,” says Robinson.

“As with any mortgage, the property is valued, and a credit search is performed to make sure they are up-to-date with their commitments.”

But aren’t retirement mortgages a risk for both lender and borrower? After all, the clue is in the name: the mortgagor isn’t working anymore, so not generating an income.

“The plus for most older borrowers is that they’re likely to have a more-or-less guaranteed pension income,” says Robinson. “They may also have investments and, if they own a buy-to-let-property, rental income that we can take into consideration.

“There’s a lot more certainty about the income generated by people in later life. And, because they’re a little bit older, they’ve usually had a mortgage before, so understand how it works and what the commitment is.”

A change in circumstance is a key risk in later life, so finding a lender experienced in retirement mortgages is important. It’s not just about the help you receive in arranging your mortgage, but the ongoing support the lender will provide throughout the life of the mortgage. Circumstances can and will change, so you want to feel confident that help with always be there.

To find out more about the retirement mortgages the Marsden can offer, visit themarsden.co.uk/your-later-life or call 01282 440537*
Your Home May Be Repossessed If You Do Not Keep Up Repayments On Your Mortgage
*Calls will be recorded and may be monitored

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