Tuesday, 27 October 2009

Life expectancy at birth and at age 65 by local areas in the United Kingdom, 2006-08

Latest from the Office of National Statistics. In 2006–08 life expectancy at birth for males was highest in the South East of England (79.2 years) and lowest in Scotland (75.0 years). For females, life expectancy was highest in the South West of England (83.1 years) and lowest in Scotland (79.9 years). Life expectancy at age 65 in 2006–08 was highest in the South East and South West of England for males (18.4 years) and in the South West of England for females (21.2 years). Scotland had the lowest life expectancy at 65 for both men and women; 16.3 years and 18.9 years respectively. For local areas, life expectancy at birth for males and females in 2006–08 was highest in Kensington and Chelsea (84.3 years and 88.9 years respectively) and lowest in Glasgow City (70.7 years and 77.2 years respectively). In 2006–08 life expectancy at age 65 for males and females was highest in Kensington and Chelsea (23.1 years and 26.3 years respectively) and lowest in Glasgow City (13.8 years and 17.4 years respectively). Not sure whether this will cheer you up or not!

A new survey on adventurous sex drive

Good news for those of us on the wrong side of 50. It seems that your sex life doesn’t dry up as you get older after all, at least not in Canada! The research was conducted online and more than 494 people over the age of 50 participated in an in-depth interview about their sex lives and sexual desires. The results indicated that many of the older participants were anything but past it. The survey found that many Canadians over the age of 50 reported having adventurous and frisky sex as they have grown older. The word ‘ferocious’ was also used to describe some of their sexual encounters. This stands in stark contrast to the common attitude that sexual desire and activity decreases with age. Nearly half of the people surveyed said their sexual inhibitions had decreased since they turned 50, and more than a quarter said the quality of their sex life has improved since turning 50. Also more than half of the respondents said they wished their sex life was more spontaneous. One possible explanation of the significant increase in sexual activity in the over 50’s is that the life stresses are often reduced dramatically with retirement and with children leaving home. The reduction in these day to day stresses could have a direct influence on the renewed interest in sex.

Monday, 26 October 2009

Lords support anti age discrimination

Have a look at Chris Ball's blog in which he describes a debate in the House of Lords about older workers along with some other issues. We have quoted Chris before who is the CEO of TAEN.

Wednesday, 21 October 2009

Latest from the National Statistics

Out today. We have reproduced the stats that are most relevant to this age group.

The population of state pensionable age is expected to rise by 32% over the next 25 years from 11.8m in 2008 to 15.6m in 2033.

  • The number of people over 85 is projected to more than double over the next 25 years from 1.3 million in 2008 to 3.3 million by 2033.
  • The number of centenarians - people who live to 100 - is expected to rise more than sevenfold from 11,000 in 2008 to 80,000 in 2033.
  • The proportion of people aged 65 and over is projected to increase from 16% in 2008, to 23% by 2033.

The population of working age is projected to rise by just under 14%, from 38.1m in 2008 to 43.3m in 2033.

In 2008 there were 3.2 people of working age for every person of state pensionable age, but this ratio is expected to fall to 2.8 by 2033, taking into account the future changes to state pension age.

How old is 'old'?

The old perennial comes around again. Personally an elderly person is anyone older than me! The Dept of Work and Pensions have just produced a report bringing together a number of surveys which basically says that most people think that old age starts at 63 with youth stopping at 45.

By their mid-30s, most respondents stopped describing themselves as young, and only by their mid-70s did they start calling themselves old.

There was some good news for the older generation, with more people saying they were more comfortable with a boss aged over 70 than with somebody under 30 being in charge at work.

But 26% of those asked said they had experienced ageism. This was not just the retired, but also those who were not working or who were not married.

Stereotyping meant that people aged over 70 were viewed as more likely to be pitied, and also were considered an "economic threat" by some.

"Nearly a quarter of respondents believed that people over 70 take out more from the economy than they put in," the report said.

However, this was less of an issue for people living in Yorkshire and the Humber than anywhere else in the UK. Yet another reason for living in God's own country!

Monday, 19 October 2009

Learning Through Life

This is the title of an excellent publication from NIACE which is the definitive report into the future for lifelong learning in the UK. It represents an independent Inquiry into the Future for Lifelong Learning and presents: • the first authoritative and coherent strategic framework for lifelong learning in the UK for the next 10 – 15 years; • an overview of the current state of learning in the UK; and • radical recommendations for long term change.
I was fascinated by, amongst other things, the classification of learners presented in their 4 stage model - up to 25, 25-50, 50-75, 75+. They make a very strong case for enhancing training and education opportunities for the 50-75 group and that much more needs to be offered to the 75+ group to ensure that they continue to be stimulated and develop not least of which is the huge contribution they make to caring and volunteering. Anyone involved in learning should read this report.

Your as old as you eat

The Daily Mail has a list of vitamins and additives supposedly that will decrease ageing effects. Have a look.

Sunday, 18 October 2009

Carry on surfing

We have posted on this topic before but there is now additional evidence that clearly shows that web surfing materially impacts our brain in a positive way.

The researchers worked with 24 men and women aged between 55 and 78. Half of them had used the internet a lot; the others had little experience.

At the start of the research, they were asked to conduct a series of internet searches while their brains were scanned using a technique known as functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI). This measures changes in blood flow around the brain to work out which parts are the most and least active.

After the initial scan, participants went home and used the internet to carry out specified tasks for an hour a day at least seven times over the following fortnight. Then they had a second brain scan, again while searching the internet.

The impact began immediately, with the first scan demonstrating brain activity in regions controlling language, reading, memory and vision.

By the time of the second scan, however, the activated areas had spread to include the frontal gyrus and inferior frontal gyrus, areas known to be important in working memory and decision-making. The researchers suggest internet searching stimulates brain cells and pathways, making them more active.

“Searching online may be a simple form of brain exercise that might be employed to enhance cognition in older adults,” said Teena Moody, one of the researchers who will be presenting this work at the annual meeting of the Society for Neuroscience in Chicago tomorrow.

It has long been known that as people age, their brain functions and abilities also change. In many respects these changes are beneficial — verbal and social skills tend to improve until at least late middle age, for example. In other areas there can be declines. One of the best known is mathematics, as shown by the number of mathematicians and physicists who do their best work early and then struggle to match their youthful performances.

In Britain around 700,000 people suffer from dementia, a condition in which so much of the brain has died that function is severely impaired.

The researchers argue that brains are similar to muscles, in that the more they are exercised, the healthier they become. So, activities such as internet use, reading and socialising can slow or reverse normal age-related declines.

Interestingly they reckon that internet searching appears to engage a greater extent of neural circuitry that is not activated during reading. So now you know! Carry on surfing!

Saturday, 17 October 2009

Jobcentre Plus staff accused of poor service to older people

Jobcentre Plus advisers have been accused of discrimination against older jobseekers and should be given training to help deal with their specific needs, age campaigners said.

Figures published last week revealed the number of unemployed people aged over 50 had risen to 371,000 – a 44% increase in a year – while those out of work for between six and 12 months rose 71%.

The Age and Employment Network (TAEN) and charity Age UK claim that Jobcentre Plus staff have not have the right training to tackle rising unemployment among over-50s, and that tailored sessions on the requirements of older jobseekers must be added to advisers' training programmes.

They complain that advisers tended to focus on paper qualifications, which many older workers did not possess and call for Jobcentre Plus staff to be trained on the range of informal skills held by older jobseekers, and for more support to be given to preparing CVs and interview techniques.

Help for older jobseekers is available through Jobcentre Plus' New Deal 50+ scheme, but this service is not routinely offered to older workers as it has a limited budget. The service is being replaced by the Flexible New Deal.

TAEN chief executive Chris Ball comments that the training of New Deal 50+ advisers had been phased out. "The message is that New Deal 50+ has passed its sell-by date and is not the priority of Jobcentre Plus," he said.

Ball cited the example of one jobseeker who told TAEN: "The Jobcentre virtually told me to go away when I was made redundant at 61 and came to it looking for employment."

The Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) said Jobcentre Plus advisers received 7.5 days induction training followed by seven days personal adviser-specific learning. In the first three months of employment, advisers also undergo seven days of job-specific training.

A DWP spokeswoman said: "Jobcentre Plus is providing real help for its customers. It continually assesses the training needs of staff and the service needs of its customers." In other words no acceptance of the criticisms that many older workers voice when they attend.

Wednesday, 14 October 2009

Free cycling courses

Free cycling courses are being offered to people over 50 in York as part of Age Concern’s Fit As A Fiddle project. Similar sessions took place earlier this year and proved a success. The scheme, funded by the Big Lottery, includes six free cycling courses this month and next month in Acomb, Haxby, Fulford, New Earswick, Rawcliffe and Rowntree Park.

The free cycling courses will cover basic bike maintenance, cycling training and confidence and a led cycle ride by qualified instructors in the last week. They are aimed at beginners but those with experience can join as well.

The first course starts at York RI in New Lane, Acomb, tomorrow, at 11.30am.
City of York Council's sport and active leisure team joined forces with Age Concern to offer York residents aged 50 and over the chance to try a range of different activities for free.

The project - 'Fit as a Fiddle' - has been designed to make people over 50 more aware of the physical activity opportunities available across the city. Sessions earlier this year included line dancing, chair based exercise classes, pilates, tai chi, fun and easy aerobics, yoga, square dancing, country dancing, bowling, petanque, archery and salsa.

After each session participants will be informed of where they can continue to participate in the sport if they wish to.

For more information telephone Fit As A Fiddle co-ordinator for Age Concern Katie Ellis on 01904 553440 or email katie.ellis@york.gov.

Tuesday, 13 October 2009

Over 50's using social media more and more

Experian Hitwise came to these conclusions by sampling f 10 million U.S. Internet users to measure the online traffic to each social network.

The growth on social networks is, at least in part, being fueled by older users flocking to the sites like Facebook and Twitter. Experian Hitwise found that the 55-plus demographic on Facebook now comprises 13.53 percent of users, a growth of 108 percent from September 2008. Meanwhile, users between the ages of 18 to 24 and 25 to 34 still comprise the largest segment of users on Facebook at 26.96 percent and 23.31 percent, respectively.

MySpace also saw growth in the 55-and-up demographic, growing 26 percent to 6.84 percent over the past year. However, the older social network saw a 13 percent decline in users ages 18 to 24. The 25 to 34 demographic grew 12 percent to comprise 22.43 percent of users.

Portfolio Careers

Just to remind you that the new book that I wrote with Katie Ledger on Portfolio Careers is out this Thursday. Also to remind you that research done on this topic states that the 2 age groups most interested in this topic are the under 25's and the over 60's. Look at our new website on this to learn more. www.portfoliocareers.net

Sunday, 11 October 2009

Good deal on The Rainbow Years

Learndirect are revamping the fiftyforward.co.uk website. Its new address is www.learndirect.co.uk/fiftyforward. Why are we telling you this? Because they are offering a really good price for The Rainbow Years:The Pluses of Being 50 +. If you buy from them you can get it for £9 which is cheaper than anywhere else that we have seen.

Thursday, 8 October 2009

What do the over 50's use their mobiles for?

Apparently for taking photos - well certainly when they are on holiday.

This is according to a new poll by Saga Holidays, which revealed that the over-50 age group has become more likely than ever to use technology such as camera phones and mp3 players while on an overseas holiday.

Over half (60 percent) of over-50s going on holiday said they had camera phones which they planned on taking abroad.

Chief executive of Saga Holidays Susan Hooper explained that phone cameras will become a "holiday packing essential" as technology improves further.

"The over-50s have really embraced new technology and I'm sure we will be seeing some of our customers updating their Facebook or blog pages via their handheld soon," she said.

It was also revealed one in 20 over-50s were planning on using their camera phone as much, or more than, their regular camera.

A separate Saga poll recently revealed that the over-50s had become more inclined to experience new cultures than have a beach holiday.

Friday, 2 October 2009

Most Babies Born Today Will Live 100 Years, Scientists Say

Most babies born in rich countries this century will eventually make it to their 100th birthday, new research says. Danish experts say that since the 20th century, people in developed countries are living about three decades longer than in the past. Surprisingly, the trend shows little sign of slowing down.

In an article published Friday in the medical journal Lancet, the researchers write that the process of aging may be "modifiable."

James Vaupel of the Max Planck Institute in Germany and colleagues in Denmark examined studies published globally in 2004-2005 on numerous issues related to aging. They found life expectancy is increasing steadily in most countries, even beyond the limits of what scientists first thought possible. In Japan, for instance, which has the world's longest life expectancy, more than half of the country's 80-year-old women are expected to live to 90.

"Improvements in health care are leading to ever slowing rates of aging, challenging the idea that there is a fixed ceiling to human longevity," said David Gems, an aging expert at University College London. Gems was not connected to the research, and is studying drugs that can lengthen the life span of mice, which may one day have applications for people.

"Laboratory studies of mice, including our own, demonstrate that if you slow aging even just a little, it has a strong protective effect," he said. "A pill that slowed aging could provide protection against the whole gamut of aging-related diseases."

While illnesses affecting the elderly like heart disease, cancer and diabetes are rising, advances in medical treatment are also making it possible for them to remain active for longer. The obesity epidemic, however, may complicate matters. Extra weight makes people more susceptible to diseases and may increase their risk of dying.

In the U.S., data from 1982 to 2000 showed a major drop in illness and disability among the elderly, though that has now begun to reverse, probably linked to the rise in obesity.

The graying population will slowly radically transform society, and retirement ages may soon be pushed back, said Richard Suzman, an aging expert at the U.S. National Institute on Aging.

"We are within five to 10 years of a watershed event where there will be more people on earth over 65 than there under five," he said. "Those extra years need to be financed somehow and we need to start thinking about it now."

Thursday, 1 October 2009

Third age entrepreneurs

NESTA has just published a fascinating new report on older entrepreneurs. We already know that 50+ entrepreneurs overall are less likely to have their businesses fail than younger entrepreneurs. This study examines the differences between the growth and more lifestyle enterprises set up by the over 50's. Download it by following the hyperlink above.

Called to account?

Whilst basking in the pluses of being 50+ I was reminded last week that our generation are not universally admired or approved of. Just reflect on this letter published in the Guardian of Thursday 24th September 2009;

'How is it that your generation feels it can continue to shaft my generation (CBI advises raising university fees to £5,000 a year to tackle funding crisis, September 21)? I am 23, and have many friends who are unemployed due to an economic crisis caused by your generation. We can't afford houses as your generation preferred anything rather than burst the bubble. We will have no oil, and will face a climate crisis that your generation has continually refused to fix. And now your generation is proposing raising university tuition fees due to a funding crisis which you caused.

I have an alternative suggestion. Instead of increasing the already huge debt that most students face when leaving university, how about we place a windfall tax on the generation that received funding while in further education? How about we make you pay for your university funding crisis, by making you pay the equivalent loan that we have had to pay – with interest?

Now, it's unfair that it should be based on the average student loan – after all, things were cheaper – but then you're going to have to pay your grant back as well. So, let's give you the average £15,000 loan, apply the RPI from the 25 years since you graduated. That's no interest while you're at university, as we're feeling kind. That comes to £373,515. Payable tomorrow.

Maybe this will force some of you off the property ladder, bringing down house prices. You'll have to spend less and economise; forget your patio heater. And finally, maybe it will make you take some responsibility for what you've done. You've made this mess, so you can pay to clear it up.

George Lewkowicz London

Well said George! You will be a brilliant addition to the 'grumpy old men' in 50 years time!

How we really forgotten how to have sex?

Not according to all the research we have come across, but clearly Manchester Council think that its older citizens need some tips. There has been an uproar about their spending £8k of council tax money on producing an illustrated 47-page booklet which offers tips for those seeking to spice up their marriage or looking for new love after divorce.The Daily Mail, along with other media are having a ball with this - a good start to International Older Person's Day - which is today. Those of us living in Yorkshire of course know that on this side of the pennines we don't need this kind of help!