Wednesday, 30 December 2009

Online Job Hunting

These are some sensible guidelines for job hunting online.

Boomers all over the world are redefining retirement

Boomers at every stage they have passed through have had a fundamental impact on our social institutions. It is not surprising therefore that they are redefining retirement. In the UK more people are delaying retirement because they have to but many more are doing so because they don't want to. 30 -40 years of doing very little that is meaningful is having a real impact on people's thinking. We all need work be that non-paid or paid. Meaning is the new money. And the boomers want lots of it! Look at a recent Canadian article : "When I visited an art festival this summer in Peterborough, Ont., I was struck by how many artists were Baby Boomers who had retired from 30-year-plus careers in business or government and finally took the plunge as creative artists. Tina DiVito, director of retirement strategies for BMO Financial Group, noticed the same trend during a trip to Quebec City in August. 'They're not trying to make millions but it's very rewarding to a lot of people."

Other Boomers will build home-based businesses, using the Internet. Anyone on Twitter is familiar with the hordes of Internet-based marketers, selling products or services through multi-level marketing schemes, affiliate programs and their variants."

Three years ago, a BMO study found most Canadian Boomers planned to work "in some capacity" after traditional retirement, with the top two reasons being "to stay mentally active" and "stay in touch with people." Money was third. In 2009, the three were reversed, with more than 80% citing the need to "earn money" in retirement or semi-retirement.

The growth in self employment in this age group, often because of difficulty in finding a job after 50 or not finding one that is flexible enough is testament again to this development.

The 20th century model of education, paid work and retirement is collapsing in front of our lives.

Thursday, 24 December 2009

What older workers say they want

Ipsos-MORI questioned 1,196 people born between 1945 and 1960 between September 11 and October 1.

Only one in four older workers plans to retire early, with 43% intending to work on into their late 60s and 70s, research has shown.

Around 26% of people aged over 50 who have not yet retired hope to give up work before they reach the state pension age, according to the Department of Work and Pensions.

But 25% plan to work on for a few years after being able to claim their state pension, while 12% say they will work for a long time after this date, and 6% will leave their current job but look for other work that suits them better.

Only 31% of those questioned said they planned to retire when they were able to pick up their state pension.

Around 28% said they planned to work for longer due to financial considerations, with 26% saying the recession had changed their retirement plans.

But 22% said they did not feel old enough to retire completely, 21% said they loved their job and 20% said they thought working kept them younger and fitter.

Many people did not know the benefits of working on beyond the state pension age, with 44% not realising they would not have to pay National Insurance, while 38% did not know they could defer taking their state pension in exchange for getting a larger income later.

Minister for Pensions and Ageing Society Angela Eagle said: "The idea that you reach state pension age and suddenly stop work is being challenged by our generation of baby boomers, with many not feeling old enough to stop work completely.

"People want the choice to decide what's right for them but, worryingly, many make this decision based on little or no knowledge of the financial facts."

Tuesday, 22 December 2009

Christmas 2009: Young and Old

A recent BMJ article quoted some research into how articles published between January 1997 and April 2008 the Economist dealt with ageing. Most featured pensions, demography, and politics. Of these 64% portrayed population ageing as a burden and 12% as a benefit; 24% had a balanced view. Most articles therefore showed a predominantly ageist view of older people as a burden on society, often portraying them as frail non-contributors. Recurrent themes included pension and demographic "time bombs" and future unsustainable costs of health care for older people. The researchers concluded that this negative view of older people might be influential in shaping the attitudes of readers, who include opinion formers in political and economic circles. Gerontologists (including geriatricians) need to engage with influential media, as well as helping to promote a professional development of journalists that is informed and knowledgeable about the negative impact of ageism on the wellbeing of older people. Amen to that!

Monday, 21 December 2009

An antiwrinkle cream that actually works?

I use google alerts to get up to date stories and data relevant to the 50+'s and at least half of all the alerts are about anti-wrinkle creams of some kind or another. So what might make this story different. A new pill has beeen developed by food giant Nestlé and L’Oréal, the world’s biggest cosmetics company. It uses a compound found in tomatoes to promote the regeneration of new skin cells and protect old ones from damage.

Known as Innéov Fermeté, it is claimed that taking one of these pills just once a day will lead to a younger appearance by harnessing the health-giving properties of tomatoes.

Scientists who designed the pill claim that trials have shown it dramatically slows down the ageing of the skin.It is already on sale in parts of Europe and South America.

A British launch is planned, although the companies remain tight-lipped about the exact date. Before this can happen, teams of skincare consultants will have to be trained to help customers with advice on taking the pill.

Scientists developing the pill based it on lycopene, the red carotene pigment found in tomatoes. They modified it into a form more readily absorbed by human cells, then combined it with a form of vitamin C and with isoflavones — chemicals extracted from soya beans.

All three ingredients are powerful antioxidants which, scientists believe, help protect tissue against damage.

The developers have tested their wrinkle drug with two groups of female volunteers: 90 post-menopausal women aged 51-69 and 70 others with an average age of 45.

In each study, the women were divided into those who took the new pill and those who swallowed a placebo.

After six months, the skin of those taking the real drug showed an 8.7 per cent better rate of elasticity — the rate at which it sprang back into place after being stretched or twisted rather than leaving wrinkles.

One drawback, however, is the cost. The new drug will cost about £25 for a 10-day supply. In addition, manufacturers say women may not notice a difference for three months.

Maybe I should offer to be a tester!

The Pluses Of Employing 50+'s

We keep building our dosier on this topic and the latest research comes from the US in a recent study from the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM), which showed that:
  • 72 percent of human resource professionals said older workers provide invaluable experience.
  • 69 percent said they had a stronger work ethic than younger workers.
  • 68 percent said they were more reliable employees
We have to keep making these points whenever we meet employers or more to the point recruitment types.

Friday, 18 December 2009

Goodbye to Terry

Sad moment this morning as The TOG era came to an end with Terry's departure from his regular morning show. We quote him in most talks we do about the 55+'s, " Use by dates don't apply to people". He finished this morning by commenting that age is important only if you are a cheese!

In my latest book on portfolio careers I write about the importance of managing everyday stress and speaking personally in the morning in my bathroom I regularly used to switch from the confrontational, bad news stuff on the Today Programme to Terry for light relief and to make you smile for the first time in the day.

Thursday, 17 December 2009

Look younger, act younger - are you younger?

Yes - according to some research on twins in Denmark. Researchers have established that a fresh-faced appearance means a longer life, as opposed to those who usually look older than they really are, as the BBC can confirm. Danish researchers looked at 387 pairs of twins to come up with the conclusion mentioned above. Nurses, teachers and colleagues were asked to look at photos of the twins and estimate which one looked younger; then, they determined that the one who did not look their age actually lived a longer life than the twin who seemed older. The explanation for that was found in DNA pieces called telomeres, which were longer in younger looking people, the aforementioned media outlet says.

“In the study, the people who looked younger had longer telomeres. All of the twins were in their 70s, 80s or 90s when they were photographed. Over a seven-year follow-up the researchers, led by Professor Kaare Christensen of the University of Southern Denmark, found that the bigger the difference in perceived age within a pair, the more likely it was that the older-looking twin died first,” the BBC informs. Age, profession and gender were not factors in the findings.

“Perceived age, which is widely used by clinicians as a general indication of a patient’s health, is a robust biomarker of ageing that predicts survival among those aged over 70,” researchers tell BBC of the findings. “It’s probably a combination of genes plus environment over a lifetime that are important,” Professor Tim Spector, who is also conducting a study on twins, says for BBC.

One explanation that researchers are also considering is that people who look older than they really are lead a tougher life: not only it shows on their faces, but it also takes a toll on their body. Either way, being fresh-faced certainly “pays off.”

Wednesday, 16 December 2009

Exercise really does slow down ageing

Your truly half way round the Abbey Dash 10k in Leeds recently running for charity. So you can see why I was delighted to unearth the following research studies which have finally proved that regular exercise can slow down the ageing process, and the reason for this can be found within the body’s white blood cells. We already know that exercising reduces the risk of heart disease and some cancers, and now scientists have discovered that athletes and regular exercisers have longer telomeres (protective DNA at the ends of cell chromosomes) than healthy adults who are non-smokers and non-exercisers.

These telomeres protect the cells much like the coating on the ends of bootlaces prevent them fraying and unravelling, say the German researchers behind the study. Our cells divide throughout our lifetimes, with the telomeres becoming shorter each time, until they get too short to divide further – which is when the traditional signs of ageing such as loss of muscle tone, appearance of wrinkles and degeneration in our senses start to appear.

The study compared the general fitness and telomere length of athletes in their twenties with those of sedentary adults (less than 1 hour’s exercise a week) and found, not surprisingly, that the athletes had lower BMI, lower blood pressure and lower resting heart rate than the non-exercising group of the same age, as well as longer telomeres. A similar study was carried out with participants in their fifties, with similar results. So it’s official – exercise keeps you young. For longer, anyway.

So get out there and exercise!

Monday, 7 December 2009

ACAS can help in disputes about ageing

I had a very interesting discussion with the regional director of ACAS in Yorkshire and Humberside recently and was amazed at the range of activities they get involved in - including helping individuals to examine whether or not they have a case against their employers. They handle around 1 million calls a year from people calling for advice and this of course would include issues around age discrimination. Have a look at their online brochure for details of what they do.

Sunday, 6 December 2009

Do I really want to be taught how to put my slippers on!

Warwickshire County Council is offering a service allowing “older people” to bring in their old slippers and replace them with a pair, which it claims can cut the risk of falling over.

For a fee of £5, participants receive a fitting session, a new pair of the Velcro fastening slippers, and advice on how to don them and avoid accidents around the home.

However, critics have dismissed the so-called Sloppy Slippers project, which is costing taxpayers £3,500, as a waste of money and "patronising" to people in their 50s and 60s.

The council claims that the initiative, which has been adopted by other local authorites, will save money in the long run because it prevents costly injuries to elderly people.

Seriously, it is estimated that around 20 to 30 per cent of falls among the elderly can be prevented. Badly fitting slippers are said to significantly increase the risk of suffering a fall which can lead to disability or death.

The new slippers are safer because they have non-slip soles, better support and a Velcro fastening to ensure a snug and tailored fit, makers Natureform claim.

But slipper coaching at 50!!

Friday, 4 December 2009

Specialist Holidays Increasingly Popular With The Over 50s

According to a recent report by Travelzest and the Centre for Future Studies, more and more adults in their 50s and 60s are turning away from traditional sun and sand holidays in favour of specialist activity or learning based holidays.

Popular niche holidays include yoga and meditation breaks, hobby holidays such as cooking or painting retreats, sports tourism, cycling holidays, wine tasting tours, festivals and fiestas, wildlife tours, adventure holidays and health spa breaks.

There has also been a surge in demand for accommodation designed to take large gatherings of friends and family. The home from home hotel has become increasingly popular with the over 50s in recent years, and this trend is expected to continue.

The internet has been a major force in driving these changes. A recent survey carried out by has revealed that over half of OAPs book their holidays online. The global reach of the internet has made it a lot more economical to reach small and specialist markets, which has resulted in a far greater level of choice for the holidaymaker.

Grandparents save families £860 in childcare

A new study by RIAS has found that 6.1 million older Britons look after their grandchildren regularly for nothing, devoting an average of five hours a week to helping out their hard-working children. This saves families, typically, around £860 a year which adds up to £5.2 billion across the whole country.

Many grandparents will step in to pick up children on the school run or give them lifts to out of school activities. When the youngsters are ill and parents find it hard to take time off work, the older generation steps in to help.

The recession has seen grandparents come to the rescue more often and in different ways, including chipping in financially to pay their children's bills and other costs. A third of grandparents (33 per cent) say they regularly contribute financially, even putting up money towards family holidays and other costly items where they can afford to help.

Combining their free childcare services plus irregular loans can add up to an outlay of £25,000 for one grandchild from birth to their 18th birthday, the report calculated.

Thursday, 3 December 2009

Why cliff edge retirement is not the healthy option

An important research study from the University of Maryland from over 12,000 retirees found that it is better for physical and mental health to partially retire rather than sudden full retirement. The US use the term "bridging occupations' to refer to a job specifically taken up to ease a person into full time retirement. People and organisations please make a note.

Men who believe ageing is linked to happiness binge drink

Young men who believe that ageing is associated with a decline in happiness are more likely to engage in risky health behaviours such as bingedrinking, according to a new study. Their negative view of the aging process may act as a disincentive to behave ‘sensibly’ and encourage them to make the most of the present in anticipation of ‘miserable’ old age, say researchers Dr. John Garry and Dr. Maria Lohan from Queen’s University Belfast, Northern Ireland.

For the study, researchers analyzed data from face-to-face interviews with over 1,000 citizens of Northern Ireland aged over 15 years.
The respondents were also asked to report how happy they currently felt, as well as to estimate how happy they expected to be at the age of 30 and 70. Those who were over 30 and/or 70 were asked to think back at how happy they were then. The researchers also asked them to indicate how happy the average person of their age at age 30 is and how happy at age 70.

Young people wrongly believed that ageing is associated with a decline in happiness. Indeed, young people estimated that happiness declined with age, whereas in actual fact there was no difference between the self-reported happiness levels of young people and old people.
Just over half the respondents were categorized as binge drinkers – 59 percent of males and 45 percent of females. In particular, young men who were pessimistic about future happiness were more likely to binge-drink.

“Our findings confirm, in the case of binge drinking by men, that risky health behaviour in youth is associated with an underestimation of happiness in old age. It may be worthwhile to emphasize, to young men in particular, the positive impact on their lives of reducing alcohol and inform them about happiness in old age,” the authors said.

Wednesday, 2 December 2009

Over 50s planning to use their home to fund pension

There is an article today in Home Move which outlines the results of a survey from Liverpool Victoria which found that more than one million Britons over the age of 50 are planning to cash in on the rising value of their property to help fund retirement.

However, the recent slump in the property market may have scuppered their plans after an average £27,250 has been wiped off property values since autumn 2007.

According to LV, around 12% of over 50s have opted to save less for their retirement because they believed the value of their home would continue to rise.

In September last year, consumer group, Which?, warned those considering equity release should do so as a last resort.

The consumer group believes that the schemes are sometimes expensive, inflexible and leave people with little equity.

Over the last few years, equity release has grown in popularity particularly among pensioners as a retirement solution. The decade-long property boom has meant that many pensioners have been sitting on large amounts of property cash.

However, Which? advises those considering equity release should do so cautiously and seek professional advice and recommends exploring other options and equity release should be a last resort.

One option could be downsizing to a smaller and cheaper property, or another option could be to use existing savings, or even borrow from family who can be paid back when the property is eventually sold, concluded Which?.

Men aged over 50 hit hardest by unemployment

According to a new CIPD report.

Older workers are finding it tougher than other age groups to rejoin the job market after being made redundant. Fewer than one in five over-50s find employment within three months of losing their job, compared to more than 40 per cent of 25 to 34 year olds, official figures show.

Men in the 50-plus age band are faring the worst, with long term unemployment - being jobless for more than six months - doubling in the age group in the past year. This effectively forces men into early retirement, says the alliance of organisations.

In contrast, the rate of long term unemployment among women aged over 50 has only risen half as much, possibly due to their ability to work part-time or willingness to take lower paid roles in the service sector.

Existing government and employer initiatives, such as the Job Guarantee scheme, focus on helping 18 to 24 year olds into employment.

Dianah Worman, the CIPD’s diversity adviser, suggested a similar scheme could help older workers. “For older workers it is far too easy for long-term unemployment to turn into permanent disengagement from the labour market. A job guarantee for older workers would send a signal that these people cannot and should not be resigned to spend the rest of their life reliant on the state.”

Andrew Harrop, head of public policy at Age Concern and Help the Aged, said: “An end to the working lives of men in their 50s now will not only condemn them to an uncomfortable retirement, but will also deprive the recovering economy of their skills and experience, just when they are most needed. The Government must take action in the Pre-Budget Report to avoid creating a lost generation of older workers.”

We would also argue that there must be more emphasis on flexible working which is what the 50`s say that they want. We need to stop thinking that this is all about creating masses more of 40+ hour a week jobs.

Tuesday, 1 December 2009

Great quote from Sophia Loren

“There is a fountain of youth: it is your mind, your talents, the creativity you bring to your life and the lives of people you love. When you learn to tap this source, you will truly have defeated age.”