Evaluation of the household economic situation among the elderly

One aspect in terms of care for the elderly and their ability to be socially included is the economic situation of their household. Financial means are a significant factor for their self-sufficiency and independence. Thanks to these means, they are able to live as they choose and are not forced, at least to a certain degree, to limit themselves. However, the household economic situation of elderly individuals is dependent on many factors, some of which they can influence (limiting the use of certain products or substituting them with others), and others which they cannot (rent, medical equipment and medications). Evaluation of the economic situation is therefore to a certain degree always subjective. How do the elderly in the Czech Republic view their economic situation?

In May 2015, the Institute for Evaluations and Social Analyses (INESAN) completed a research survey dealing with selected aspects concerning care for the elderly in regard to social inclusion. The research survey focused on describing present living conditions of the target group and prerequisites for their successful inclusion. It also focused on attitudes and preferences concerning the method of inclusion and use of services. Quota sampling was used to select respondents and only people in a pre-elderly or elderly age, i.e. aged 55 to 84, were included in the studied sample; also, only people from areas with less than 5,000 inhabitants were included. A total of 651 interviews were carried out within the completed research survey.

Analysis of collected data showed that more than two thirds of households (69%) see their economic situation as very good or relatively good. While 28% of respondents see it as relatively bad, 4% evaluate it as being very bad. This positive evaluation of economic situation is an interesting fact, and is likely due to the subjective attitude of the elderly, as similar/detailed analyses tend to show the opposite. This phenomenon points to the fact that the elderly are not conscious of the real situation. They know they need to live within a budget, but they do not see their situation as burdensome. However, this can lead to the higher probability of their social exclusion. If we were to look at the situation in terms of age, we would see that people between the ages of 55 and 64 (73%) see their economic situation as good; on the contrary, only 64% of respondents between the ages of 65 and 84 see their economic situation as good. With age, the elderly become more dependent on their pension, are more prone to illnesses, their activity (whether physical or psychological) gradually decreases, and they cease to be capable of earning extra finances. At the same time, they tend to spend more money on necessary medical care and medications, rent and other expenses which they are unable to influence. This in turn leads to worse evaluations of the economic situations of their households.

Graph: Evaluation of the economic situation of respondents’ households

However, other circumstances also have an impact on the way the elderly evaluate the economic situation of their households. Those who contrarily see their economic situation as bad are elderly individuals living alone (44%), respondents who live in apartments (46%), people from households with a net monthly income under 15,000 CZK (47%), the economically inactive (37%) and respondents who live in rented housing (55%).