Jun 22, 2020

Goodbye, Generation Gap: Young and Old Become More Connected

Bizclik Editor
6 min

LONDON, June 22, 2020 /PRNewswire/ -- New research conducted by McCarthy & Stone, the UK's leading developer and manager of retirement communities, has revealed that the COVID-19 crisis has seen a significant narrowing of the generation gap.

The research, conducted through the collection of data and fieldwork assessing younger generations (18-59-year olds) and older generations (60+ year olds) across the UK, sought to understand the perception of generations between each other and how this may have shifted during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Results showed that 60% of both generations have spent more time speaking with each other since the start of COVID-19 pandemic, with each finding comfort and leaning on the other for support throughout the crisis. This has led to increased knowledge sharing, with younger generations (58%) seeking wisdom from older relatives, neighbours and friends, while the older generation (63%) have called on younger generations' skills, including their technological ability.

The majority of these COVID-19 sparked conversations have been taking place over more traditional means of communication, with 74% of respondents speaking over the phone, bucking the trend of overreliance on text messages and emails. 

The British public are clearly enjoying these closer ties, as the research shows that no one wants this connection to end, with 77% wanting to spend more time with other generations once the country emerges fully from lockdown. McCarthy & Stone will be leading the charge to support this strengthened intergenerational connection, launching a Senior Experts Panel that will help maintain communications between all generations through new interactive platforms and initiatives. On top of technology trials that have helped connect McCarthy & Stone homeowners to their friends and family during this crisis.

Fast Stats:

  • Intergenerational communication has increased dramatically in recent months. 60% of both generations state they have spent more time speaking with each other since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic
  • 76% of younger and 80% of older generations wish to spend more time communicating with each other post-COVID-19
  • Generations have sought comfort from one another - 52% of older and 46% younger generations gaining comfort from increased contact with each other
  • Generations are citing different reasoning for respecting each other, which centred and pulled from various global crises.
  • For younger generations, WW2 is seen as the greatest factor of resilience building in the older generation (55%), and they respected the older generation for their 'keep calm and carry on' mentality (45%).
  • The older generation saw the younger generations' optimism (51%) and courage when facing extreme lockdown measures (42%) as reasons for an increase in respect.

Not only will the bonds between generations remain closer post-COVID-19, it may also see a large shift in perceptions of getting older. In fact, 59% of younger generations believe that the experience of COVID-19 will mean that society will value the older generation more.

Once lockdown ends, McCarthy & Stone will continue their commitment to supporting and tailoring their services to society, and specifically the shift in attitude and appetite for generational connection.

CEO John Tonkiss said, "We have seen a lower impact of COVID-19 in our developments, than the general over 65 population, and this proves more than ever that our communities are safe, resilient and supportive places to live.

"The UK must now collectively learn the lessons from this crisis and redefine how best to support our ageing population. We need a joined-up and long-term plan, starting with more and better housing for older people and stronger intergenerational communication.

"It's fantastic to see that the generational gap is declining and, once again, young and old are respecting and actively seeking to learn from one another. We'll ensure that McCarthy & Stone will be at the forefront, nurturing this societal change."

McCarthy & Stone Homeowner, Mrs Madeline McManus said, "This has been a truly horrible period for so many people. One of the silver linings for me, has been how much more time I've spent speaking to my children and grandchildren - I've even done a few quizzes with them!

McCarthy & Stone have been such a support to me throughout this period whilst I've been voluntarily shielding. My family showed me how to video call and being able to feel close to them even though I can't be with them has been a blessing. I think we will continue to talk more regularly in the future, it's shown us how easy it is."

McCarthy & Stone will launch their Senior Experts Panel next month, to support the strengthening of connections between today's younger and older generations.

Notes to Editors

About the research

Data collection and fieldwork was carried out by Vitreous World, a research consultancy that delivers global data solutions to its clients, offering a full range of research services and the ability to deliver data across a wide variety of platforms and methodologies. They are a Market Research Society (MRS) Company Partner, fully committed to research excellence, quality and transparency.

The Wise Words Questionnaire was conducted online among two audiences: Younger Generations and Older Generations defined as follows:

  • Younger Generations: 18-59 Years Olds
  • Older Generation: 60+ Year Olds

A total of 1,464 of Young Generations and 536 of Older Generation were collected in the UK, with results reported at the 95% confidence level with a margin of error of +/- 2.2% for both audiences. All respondents were recruited from online panels that meet the required standards for data collection. All participants were recruited between May 29th and June 1st, 2020.  

A total of 12 questions were asked of each of the audiences, excluding screening and demographic questions. The questions were focused on capturing the understanding the perception of generations between each other and how this may have shifted during the COVID 19 pandemic.

About McCarthy & Stone

McCarthy & Stone is the UK's leading developer and manager of retirement communities, with a significant market share. The Group buys land and then builds, sells and manages high-quality retirement developments. It has built and sold more than 58,000 properties across more than 1,300 retirement developments since 1977 and is renowned for its focus on the needs of those in later life.

McCarthy & Stone has two main product ranges – Retirement Living and Retirement Living PLUS – which provide mainly one and two-bedroom apartments across the country with varying levels of support and care for older people. Retirement Living developments provide independence in private apartments designed specifically for the over-60s, as well as facilities such as communal lounges and guest suites that support companionship. Retirement Living PLUS developments, which are designed specifically for the over-70s, offer all of this plus more on-site facilities such as restaurants, well-being suites and function rooms. Importantly, they also provide on-site flexible care and support packages to assist those needing additional help.

All developments built since 2010 are managed by the company's in-house management services team, providing peace of mind that it will look after customers and their properties over the long term. This is a key part of how McCarthy & Stone seeks to enrich its customers' lives. This commitment to quality and customer service continues to be recognised by residents. In March 2020, the Group received the full five-star rating for customer satisfaction from the Home Builders Federation for the fifteenth consecutive year – making it the only UK developer, of any size or type, to achieve this accolade.

For further information, please visit www.mccarthyandstone.co.uk

1. ONS population projections (2018)

2. YouGov research for McCarthy & Stone (2019) 

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