Gary O’Brien

23 February 2021

The top 5 things over-50s are looking forward to once lockdown is over

The end of the coronavirus pandemic might be a long way off, but the vaccination programme has shown that there is light at the end of the tunnel.

Once this third lockdown is over, many hope that there will be a gradual return to normal life. With our liberties curtailed for the best part of a year, it’s been tough to be separated from family and friends and to miss those things we really enjoy.

So, what are you looking forward to when the government finally end the national lockdowns? Insurer Sun Life recently asked this question to over-50s – here are the top five responses.

Going on holiday

According to the Sun Life research, it’s holidays and travelling that over-50s are most looking forward to once lockdown is lifted. Out of those surveyed, four in five had to cancel their holiday in 2020, with a quarter cancelling a foreign trip and one in five a staycation in the UK.

Indeed, holiday and tour operators have reported a surge in demand from over-50s expecting to be inoculated by the summer or early autumn in a phenomenon described as "vaccine confidence".

The Telegraph reports that TUI, the UK's largest tour operator, says half the bookings on its website are currently by the over-50s.

Ian Atkinson, marketing director at Sun Life says: “It’s clear from our research that there are plenty of things that people over 50 are desperately missing and can’t wait to get back to. We found that four out five who had a holiday booked between March and December 2020 had it cancelled, so it is perhaps no surprise that holidays top the list.”

Of course, there are still risks that summer holidays may not be able to take place in 2021.

If you’re heading to Europe on business, you are now required to have a PCR test 72 hours before departure, which costs between £100 and £180. You also have to take a fast, 30-minute Covid-19 test, which costs a further £50 to £75 at the airport before you have left the country. If you were to then face the same on the way back, a summer holiday could become hugely expensive.

Both the prime minister and transport minister have said that it is too soon to book a holiday in 2021, either in the UK or overseas. Grant Shapps told the BBC Today programme: “Please don’t go ahead and book holidays for something which, at this stage, is illegal to actually go and do, whether it’s here or abroad.”

Seeing family

The Sun Life survey found that, after holidays and travelling, seeing grandchildren and children were the next two things over-50s were most looking forward to.

A survey by Gransnet, the online community for the over-50s, found that, pre-Covid, more than half of grandparents provided regular childcare.

Lara Crisp, editor of Gransnet, says: “So many of them are so much a part of their grandchildren’s lives. They’re doing the school drop-offs, pick-ups, taking them to swimming lessons, helping out on ad hoc babysitting. In normal times, it’s estimated that grandparents save the economy £22.5 billion in childcare per year.”

While you might have tried to keep in touch with children and grandchildren over the last year through letters or Zoom, there’s no substitute for personal interaction with your loved ones.

Not wearing a face mask

Perhaps surprisingly, over-50s identified “not wearing a face mask” as something they were looking forward to above meeting multiple friends, sporting events, and haircuts.

While the vaccine shows us a path that returns life to normal, many over-50s could be disappointed, as experts believe masks could be here to stay.

Ian Atkinson from Sun Life adds: “There are aspects of social distancing that may continue even when they’re not mandatory – for instance, more than a quarter of people over 50 intend to continue using face masks even if they become non-compulsory, and almost a third will try to maintain a two-metre distance even if restrictions are lifted.”

On this subject, Sun Life asked whether there was anything over-50s had been forced to change because of lockdown or government restrictions, that they will continue to do even when they don’t have to.

Top responses to this question included:

  • Walking more
  • Going out less
  • Staying two metres away from everyone.

Hugging people

Close human interaction is also a priority for the over-50s once lockdown is lifted.

While this short-term loss of connection has been tough, psychotherapist and grandmother of seven Gill Mathias, says that the last few months shouldn’t have weakened your bonds.

“I use the word grief,” she says. “I know it’s a temporary loss rather than a permanent one, and that there are these platforms – Houseparty, WhatsApp – but a virtual hug is no substitute for the real thing.”

Get in touch

If you want to do things differently after lockdown, and need advice on how you plan your future, we can help. Please email or call 01904 655330.

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