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Press Release

Children as young as 7 affected by mental health problems more likely to be out of work by 55

  • Events in childhood and young adulthood can influence workforce participation in later life.
  • Flexible working is far from common practise and for some workers it is impractical.

Two complementary research reports published today by the International Longevity Centre – UK (ILC-UK) have both found that physical and mental illness at younger ages can have a significant impact on employment trajectories in later life.

The reports are based on research conducted by two research consortia dedicated to examining retirement transitions and extended working lives: ‘Exploring retirement transitions’ is based on research from the Uncertain Futures* consortium, and ‘Working for everyone: addressing barriers and inequalities in the extended working lives agenda’ is compiled with data from the renEWL* research team.

All of the researchers involved in both reports are calling for mental health strategies to adopt a life course approach, ensuring good provision across all ages.

The Uncertain Futures team are also calling for employers to conduct ‘pre-retirement check-ups’ for their staff who are approaching the state pension age and for the Government to explore options for flexible withdrawal of the state pension before state pension age.

Both reports include analysis of the National Child Development Study, a cohort study of 98% of births in England, Scotland and Wales during a week in March 1958, with participants followed up throughout their lives.

The analysis found:

  • Children as young as 7 whose parents and teachers reported them showing signs of depression, worry or withdrawal on one or more occasions are more likely to be unemployed at age 55
  • Children displaying these problems are also at an increased risk of being permanently sick at 55
  • Children reported for disobedience, aggressiveness or bullying on at least three occasions have an increased risk for unemployment, permanent sickness and being homemakers than children not reported showing these behaviours

The research teams also found that traumatic events experienced in childhood, such as physical or sexual abuse, parental absence or parental divorce are also associated with reduced labour force participation at 55, even when considering other factors such as gender, mental health, education and socioeconomic position during adulthood.

Although public policy has focused on promoting flexible working in later adulthood to support longer working lives, this research indicates that Government will need to adopt a lifecourse approach to health and wellbeing if people are to work until current State Pension Age and beyond. The findings also suggest that flexible working is far from common practise and for some workers it is impractical.

  • Analysis of data on retirement transitions in England and the USA, shows that relatively few work after pensionable age directly as a result of moving into part-time work or self-employment beforehand.
  • It is still the case that the majority of working men continue to work full-time until retirement while women typically work part-time and then retire fully.
  • Detailed case studies of UK women working in low paid sectors suggest that some simply cannot afford to work part-time or reduce their hours.
  • Moreover, some employers are scared to discuss retirement with those approaching pensionable age for fear of breaching age discrimination legislation.

The renEWL research consortium are calling on the Government to ensure that mental health strategies adopt a life course approach, given that the team found that mental health issues in those as young as 7 continue to affect them and their workforce participation until age 55 and beyond.

The Uncertain Futures research team are calling for employers to offer ‘pre-retirement check-ups’ for staff approaching the state pension age to discuss their plans and options for the future. In response to the number of people who cannot afford to take phased retirement and so are working long hours despite needing greater flexibility due to ill health or caring responsibilities, the team are also calling for the Government to explore allowing people to have partial access to their state pension before state pension age.

The two reports also feature new findings related to the impact that different working conditions, informal caring responsibilities and socio-economic inequalities have on retirement transitions and workforce participation in later life.

Professor Jenny Head, Professor of Medical and Social Statistics, UCL and Head of the renEWL team said:

‘We know from previous research that mental health has an important influence on employment in later life. We found that poor psychological health across the life course, including as far back as childhood, is related to unemployment at age 55.

We also found that working conditions and onset of caring responsibilities have an impact on employment at older ages. We hope our findings will inform strategies to reduce inequalities in employment rates of older workers, including support for both children and adults with mental health problems’.

Professor Sarah Vickerstaff, Professor of Work and Employment, University of Kent and Head of the Uncertain Futures team said:

‘In the popular imagination the process of retirement has changed dramatically, with the old cliff edge of retirement for men, working full-time and then just stopping, being a thing of the past, the evidence from the longitudinal data sets and the organisational case studies suggest however that this is an exaggeration and access to flexible work or gradual retirement is untypical’.

David Sinclair, Director, ILC-UK said:

‘It is clear from this research that some of the drivers for unemployment in our 50s are determined very early in our lives. We must ensure that mental health strategies focus on supporting people of all ages. Early intervention is key if we are to ensure that people can continue to work into old age’.

Contact

Dave Eaton at ILC-UK davideaton@ilcuk.org.uk 02073400440.

renEWL team leader Professor Jenny Head and Uncertain Futures team leader Professor Sarah Vickerstaff are available for further comment and interview on request.

Notes

‘Working for everyone: Addressing barriers and inequalities in the extended working lives agenda’ and ‘Exploring retirement transitions’ will be available to download at www.ilcuk.org.uk on 00:01 Tuesday, 5th December.

About renEWL

The renEWL (Research on Extending Working Lives) research consortium, led by Professor Jenny Head and Dr Mai Stafford, conducts longitudinal research on the determinants of working beyond the age of 50, with a focus on the interface of different domains: workplace and health, family and workplace, area and individual. Funded by the ESRC and the MRC, the consortium includes researchers in the Department of Epidemiology and Public Health at UCL, the MRC Unit for Lifelong Health and Ageing at UCL, and the Wolfson Institute of Preventive Medicine at Queen Mary University of London (QMUL).

About Uncertain Futures

The Uncertain Futures research consortium, led by Professor Sarah Vickerstaff, studies the impacts on individuals and organisations of policy changes around the extension of working life, such as the ending of mandatory retirement ages and the right to request flexible working extended to all employees.

Funded by the ESRC and the MRC, the consortium is multidisciplinary using a mixed method approach and with a key focus on the employing organisation. The consortium includes researchers from the Universities of Kent, Bath, Edinburgh, Leeds Beckett, Queen Mary University of London, Manchester, Newcastle and The Institute of Occupational Medicine.

About ILC-UK

The International Longevity Centre – UK (ILC-UK) is a futures organisation focussed on some of the biggest challenges facing Government and society in the context of demographic change.

Much of our work is directed at the highest levels of Government and the civil service, both in London and Brussels. We have a reputation as a respected think tank which works, often with key partners, to inform important decision-making processes.

Our policy remit is broad, and covers everything from pensions and financial planning, to health and social care, housing design, and age discrimination. We work primarily with central government, but also actively build relationships with local government, the private sector and relevant professional and academic associations.

Ends

  • Improvements to life expectancy and mortality rates have slowed across Europe during austerity years (2009 – 13)
  • The UK has seen the greatest fall in subjective health, with people of all ages reporting a decline in their general health
  • As a result of increasing medical costs and declining personal income, a number of countries experienced rising unmet medical needs 

A new report from the International Longevity Centre (ILC-UK), ‘Public health in Europe during the austerity years’, has identified early warning signs that austerity will affect health outcomes for decades to come.

The report was compiled by a team of researchers at ILC-UK on the basis of a series of independent data sources, including the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development, Eurostat and the International Monetary Fund.

It indicates that progress on a number of key health indicators has stalled, including life expectancy and mortality rates. Levels of subjective health have fallen among young people aged 15 – 24 across Europe, and in all age-groups in the UK.

In the UK, improvements to mortality rates fell by 63% during the austerity years (2009 – 13) compared to the preceding years (2004 – 08), and progress in life expectancy stalled during the same period. By comparison, improvements to mortality slowed by 26% across Europe, while progress in life expectancy remained stable.

Cuts to preventative medicine in England, such as tobacco control programmes and sexual health services, were highlighted as austerity measures which could impact the health of young people decades into the future. Experts have suggested that preventative medicine has been the casualty of austerity measures as their impact is less visible to the public than cuts on hospitals and GPs.

George Holley-Moore, Research and Policy Manager at ILC-UK said:

“This study paints a mixed picture, with some worrying health outcomes such as a fall in subjective health here in the UK, as well as a reduction in prevention spending and rise in unmet medical needs across Europe. But with ageing populations and increasing prevalence of chronic conditions, European health systems do not need stagnation, they need continual improvement. If the best austerity can offer is health systems that are just about treading water, that will not be enough to meet the immense challenges of increased longevity. We should take heed of these early warning signs and initiate measures to protect our future health.”

The full report will be unveiled as part of the International Longevity Centre’s annual ‘Future of Ageing’ conference on Wednesday 29th November 2017.

-ENDS-

Notes to the Editor:

For further information and to arrange media interviews please contact:

Dave Eaton
DaveEaton@ilcuk.org.uk
Tel: 0207 340 0440

A number of spokespeople are available, enquire for opportunities:

  • George Holley-Moore, Research and Policy Manager, ILC-UK
  • David Sinclair, Director, ILC-UK

About ILC-UK

The International Longevity Centre – UK (ILC-UK) is a futures organisation focused on some of the biggest challenges facing Government and society in the context of demographic change.

We ask difficult questions and present new solutions to the challenges and opportunities of ageing. We undertake research and policy analysis and create a forum for debate and action.

The Future of Ageing Conference will take place on 29th November 2017 at the Amnesty International Human Rights Action Centre.

The ‘Public Health in Europe during the Austerity Years’ Report was funded by an unrestricted educational grant from Pfizer.

Press Release

Embargoed Friday 24th November 2017 00.01

Older people spending more time in ill health as health inequalities increase


Older people are spending an increasing number of retirement years living in poor health, according to new research from the International Longevity Centre-UK (ILC-UK). Inequalities in life expectancy by local authority have been increasing whilst the growth in pensioner income has been stalling.

The new findings have been revealed in ILC-UK’s annual flagship “State of the Nation” Factpack (“When I’m 64”) which has been supported by FirstPort.

The Factpack also finds that whilst the age at which older people retire has been increasing, relatively few older people work beyond State Pension Age. Older workers contribute towards a considerable amount of the UK economy’s gig economy work. And the over 50s account for more than a quarter of all zero hours work.

“When I’m 64” finds that life for 64-year old’s today is very different than 45 years ago with today’s 64-year-olds more likely to be homeowner, have a degree – but also more likely to have a chronic illness than those in 1972.

Life expectancy growing – but so is poor health and inequalities

  • Between 2000 and 2014, the gap between life expectancy and healthy life expectancy at the age of 65 rose from 6.4 years to 8.1 years for men, and from 8.2 years to 9.6 years for women
  • Inequalities in at 65 life expectancy by local authority have been rising, particularly for women. These inequalities are strongly related to local differences in health and disability, education, skills and training and employment
  • The average healthy life expectancy for those at 65 in the ten-worst performing English local authorities is 7.4 years. By contrast, the ten best performing local authorities have an average healthy life expectancy that is almost twice as long at 13.6 years
  • Tower Hamlets is the worst performing local authority with only 6.5 years of healthy life expectancy at 65, while Richmond upon Thames is the best performing local authority with 14.5 additional years of good health expected

A growing army of older workers, but still a retirement cliff-edge

  • 3.7 million people aged 50+ work in health and social work, education and wholesale and retail representing between 27% and 35% of their respective sectors
  • But agriculture is most heavily reliant on older workers, with almost half of the workforce (47.5%) over the age of 50
  • In 2016, economic activity rates for men aged 65 to 69 were 25.5%, while among women they were16.9%
  • The proportion of people in the labour force between 65 and 69 who were self-employed was 35.1% in 2017
  • The over 50s account for more than a quarter of all zero hours work

Life for 64-year-olds has changed significantly over the past 45 years. Today’s 64-year-old is much more likely to own their home outright than 64-year old’s in 1972 (69.5% compared with 26.3% in 1972). 17.6% of today’s 64-year old’s have a degree compared with 1.6% in 1972. 64-year old’s today are more likely to have a chronic illness and disability than 64 years old in 1972 (42.1% to 52.3%).

Ben Franklin, Head of Economics at ILC-UK said:

“This year’s factpack focuses on those making the retirement transition. It shows that in some areas, such as life expectancy, we continue to be making gains, but that these gains have not been shared by everyone. Supporting longer, healthier lives must be a critical priority for government and employers.

Only through such an effort will we be able to succeed in a number of key policy areas, such as: raising State Pension Ages and securing a sustainable health and care system.  Moreover, given the tightening of the labour market, and uncertainty over future migration policy, it is more imperative than ever that employers find ways to retain older workers”.

Nigel Howell, Chief Executive of FirstPort, added:

“Through our Retirement Property Services division, FirstPort manages retirement homes that help residents stay active, socially connected, and independent for as long as possible. Increasingly, this also means ‘economically active’ with residents continuing to work well into their sixties and beyond. This new trend can bring real benefits, both for society at large and to the quality of life for the individual.

“The insight that ILC-UK’s research and Factpack provides helps all of us – industry and government – to do better for everyone, and we are very proud to support it.”

When I’m 64 also highlights that:

  • The growth of net pensioner income has stalled in recent years
  • One in five people aged 50-64 are carers
  • Proportion of individuals between the ages of 55-64 renting privately has been steadily increasing
  • Those in their 60s today are most likely to be living in couple households by the time they are in their 80s, and the proportion of households accounted for by women living alone is expected to fall from 30% to 15%. But this still means around 25% of households will consist of individuals living alone
  • In 2015, those households between 65 and 69 spent more on package holidays than other age groups
  • In 2017, 89.9% of men and 90% of women aged between 55 and 64 had used the internet in the last 3 months

Contact: David Sinclair (davidsinclair@ilcuk.org.uk) or David Eaton (davideaton@ilcuk.org.uk)
Tel: 02073400440

Notes:

Full references are available in When I’m 64: The ILC-UK Factpack on Retirement Transitions. The report will be published on the ILC-UK website on 22nd November.

Advanced copies of the Factpack are available from ILC-UK.

The report will be presented at ILC-UK’s annual Factpack Pub Quiz to take place in London on the evening of 22nd November.

About ILC-UK:

The International Longevity Centre – UK (ILC-UK) is a futures organisation focussed on some of the biggest challenges facing Government and society in the context of demographic change.
We ask difficult questions and present new solutions to the challenges and opportunities of ageing. We undertake research and policy analysis and create a forum for debate and action.

About FirstPort:

FirstPort is the largest residential property management company in the UK.


Press Release

Think tank urges Government to ensure that more social care workers are protected against the flu

Responding to Simon Stevens’ call that NHS Trusts make an additional 3000 beds available to respond to what is expected to be a particularly pressurised winter flu season, the International Longevity Centre – UK (ILC-UK), is calling on the Government to work to ensure that more social care staff receive the winter flu jab.

Whilst the Government recommends that all adult social care workers receive the flu jab, they are not eligible to receive the vaccination on the NHS.

The flu epidemic in care homes in Wigan last winter, which lead to thirty cases of flu, eight deaths, and Wigan Infirmary and the North West Ambulance Service facing additional pressures, is a case study of the toll that low uptake of flu vaccination among care home staff can have on residents and the NHS.

David Sinclair, Director of the International Longevity Centre – UK said:

‘With Simon Stevens’ call for the NHS to ready itself for a particularly bad winter flu season, it is imperative that adult social care workers are immunised to prevent the vulnerable people they care for contracting influenza and becoming hospitalised.

Influenza is a serious illness which does kill.

We would urge all eligible older people to sign up for their free jab via their GP or pharmacy. For those not eligible for the free jab but who want to protect themselves against the flu, the vaccine is now widely available in pharmacies and supermarkets.

Contact

Contact Dave Eaton at davideaton@ilcuk.org.uk for more information.

Notes

For more information about vaccination, visit http://www.adultimmunisation.eu.

About

The International Longevity Centre – UK (ILC-UK) is a futures organisation focussed on some of the biggest challenges facing Government and society in the context of demographic change.

Much of our work is directed at the highest levels of Government and the civil service, both in London and Brussels. We have a reputation as a respected think tank which works, often with key partners, to inform important decision-making processes.

Our policy remit is broad, and covers everything from pensions and financial planning, to health and social care, housing design, and age discrimination. We work primarily with central government, but also actively build relationships with local government, the private sector and relevant professional and academic associations.

@ILCUK

This year's Future of Ageing Conference will play host to 10 different panel debates covering everything from automating care, ageism, innovation in housing and the end of life.

Eventbrite - The Future of Ageing Conference 2017:  Transforming Tomorrow Today

Confirmed workshops and confirmed speakers include:

Opening Keynote: Dr Pol Vandenbroucke, Vice President Medical Strategy, Pfizer

How can we maximise the economic contribution of older people?

  • Diane Kenwood, Editor, Woman's Weekly and ILC-UK Trustee
  • John McTernan, Senior Vice President, PSB and Former Political Secretary to Prime Minister Tony Blair
  • Jane Ashcroft CBE, Chief Executive, Anchor
  • Professor Debora Price, President, British Society of Gerontology and Director, MICRA
  • Professor Andrew Scott, Professor of Economics, London Business School

Is the Future less or more ageist?

  • Sam Smethers, Chief Executive, Fawcett Society
  • Rt Hon Dame Margaret Hodge MP, Member of Parliament for Barking, discussing 'How to stop wasting women's talents: overcoming our fixation with youth'
  • Yasmin Boudiaf, Virtual Reality Expert, discussing 'Can we use Virtual Reality to tackle ageism?'
  • Tessa Harding, Ex-NCVO and Help the Aged

Can technology drive innovation in pensions, health and care?

  • Alison Martin, Global Head of Life and Health, Swiss Re
  • Other speakers to be confirmed

Is antimicrobial resistance a threat to longevity - and what can we do about it? 

  • Mark Chataway, Managing Director, Hyderus
  • Professor Anthony Scott, Director, The Vaccine Centre, LSHTM
  • Professor Alan Johnson, Head of AMR, Public Health England's Centre for Infectious Disease Surveillance and Control

How can we save the NHS?

  • Rt Hon Stephen Dorrell, Chair, NHS Confederation and former Health Secretary
  • Dr David Oliver, Clinical Vice President, Royal College of Physicians
  • Baroness Sally Greengross OBE, Chief Executive, International Longevity Centre - UK
  • Pamela Spence, Partner, Global Life Sciences Industry Leader, EY

More inequalities in a world of austerity? 

  • Anna Dixon, Chief Executive, Centre for Ageing Better
  • Inequalities in Life Expectancy: Andrew Gaches, Head of Longevity, Life and Financial Services, Hymans Robertson
  • Inequalities in Old Age: Professor Thomas Scharf, Professor of Social Gerontology, Newcastle University
  • Austerity and Health Across Europe: Ben Franklin, Head of Economics of Ageing, International Longevity Centre - UK

Filling the skills gap: Migration, more older workers, or both?

  • Yvonne Sonsino, Partner and Innovation Leader, Mercer and Co-Chair DWP Fuller Working Lives Business Strategy Group
  • Professor Jonathan Portes, Professor of Economics and Public Policy, King's College London
  • Dean Hochlaf, Assistant Economist, International Longevity Centre - UK

Can we automate care?

  • George Holley-Moore, Research and Policy Manager, International Longevity Centre - UK
  • Eric Kihlstrom, Co-Founder, KareInn
  • Pamela Spence, Partner, Global Life Sciences Industry Leader, EY

How can the housing industry innovate for tomorrow's older consumers?

  • Baroness Sally Greengross OBE, Chief Executive, International Longevity Centre - UK
  • Nigel Howell, Chief Executive, FirstPort
  • Gary Day, Land and Planning Director, McCarthy and Stone
  • Lord Best, Co-Chair, All Party Parliamentary Group on Housing and Care for Older People

The future of the end: Living forever or dying in style?

  • Baroness Sally Greengross OBE, Chief Executive, International Longevity Centre - UK
  • Professor Douglas Davies FBA, Professor of the Study of Religion, Durham University, and Director of the Centre for Death and Life Studies
  • Louise Winter, Founder, Poetic Endings
  • Dave Eaton, Policy and Public Affairs Manager, International Longevity Centre - UK

Closing Keynote: Professor Andrew Scott, Professor of Economics, London Business School and author of 'The 100 year life'.

Eventbrite - The Future of Ageing Conference 2017:  Transforming Tomorrow Today

There will also be a number of keynote presentations, and an open slot to allow one delegate to present their idea to help society prepare for the future of ageing.

Join us at #FutureofAgeing
For more information click here: http://www.futureofageing.org.uk/

Future of Ageing 2017: Sponsored by:

Supported by:

In response to the Office for Budget Responsibility's first Fiscal Risk report, which found that ageing and technology cost pressures make health spending the biggest risk to fiscal sustainability, Sally-Marie Bamford, Director of Strategy and Research at the International Longevity Centre - UK (ILC-UK), the UK's leading think tank focusing on longevity, ageing and population change said:

“Today’s OBR Fiscal Risks report shows that the ageing of our population is the greatest single risk to government spending by driving up health costs over the long run. As our recent SOS2020 report showed, we will need transformative change in the health sector in order to ensure long run sustainability, which in particular will mean getting smarter with innovation.

Within the NHS, too many funding mechanisms still do not reward or encourage innovation, with payments too often based on output and not outcome, and Clinical Commissioning Group funding regulations discouraging the bold moves needed to create long-term cost savings, whilst still maintaining high levels of quality.

As one of the largest components of age-related public spending, healthcare is at the forefront of the challenge of ageing and delivering long run productivity growth in healthcare is likely to be one, if not the, most important element in ensuring a sustainable older society.”

In the SOS2020 report we modelled future health spending scenarios and found:

Health spending as a proportion of GDP

  • In the “transformative change” scenario, health spending rises from around 6% of GDP in 2019-20 to 8% by 2064-65.
  • In the “gradual convergence” scenario, health spending rises from around 6% of GDP in 2019-20 to 11.4% by 2064-65.
  • In the “no policy change scenario”, health spending rises from around 6% of GDP in 2019-20 to 16.4% by 2064-65.


The primary balance – the difference between non interest receipts and expenditure

  • In the “transformative change scenario”, the primary balance falls from a surplus of around 2% of GDP to a deficit of 1.9%.
  • In the “gradual convergence scenario”, the primary balance falls from a surplus of around 2% of GDP to a deficit of 5.3%.
  • In the “no policy change scenario”, the primary balance falls from a surplus of around 2% of GDP to a deficit of 10.3%.


Download the report, 'Towards affordable healthcare: Why effective innovation is key' at http://www.ilcuk.org.uk/index.php/publications/publication_details/towards_affordable_healthcare_why_effective_innovation_is_key

Contact

Dave Eaton (davideaton@ilcuk.org.uk) or 020 7340 0440.

Notes

The Office for Budget Responsibility's first Fiscal Risk report can be downloaded from http://budgetresponsibility.org.uk/frr/fiscal-risk-report-july-2017/

About SOS2020

SOS 2020 was established by ILC-UK with the aim to raise awareness of the need to adapt our economy and society to the big strategic challenges posed by an ageing population, and will outline the specific policy measures needed to achieve this goal. It will illuminate the issues that face us and develop fully considered and costed solutions that will act as a “call to action” to policy-makers and politicians.

This second report in the SOS health series draws on the learning and some of the innovations from the last report. We explore the potential for innovation application and diffusion in health care within the UK and critically how the ‘right type’ of innovation could make health care better and cheaper, essentially doing ‘more with less’.

About

The International Longevity Centre – UK (ILC-UK)
is a futures organisation focussed on some of the biggest challenges facing Government and society in the context of demographic change.

Much of our work is directed at the highest levels of Government and the civil service, both in London and Brussels. We have a reputation as a respected think tank which works, often with key partners, to inform important decision-making processes.

Our policy remit is broad, and covers everything from pensions and financial planning, to health and social care, housing design, and age discrimination. We work primarily with central government, but also actively build relationships with local government, the private sector and relevant professional and academic associations.

‘When the drugs won’t work: Antimicrobial resistance and the future of medicine’, produced with funding from Pfizer, outlines what Governments, medical professionals and individuals can do to prevent the rise of antimicrobial resistance, including:

  • Individuals can reduce the risk of infection occurring through washing hands with soap and water for the length of one verse of God Save the Queen, or two renditions of Happy Birthday
  • Governments incentivising the creation of new vaccines to reduce the use of antibiotics

Immunisation prevents an estimated 2-3 million deaths every year in all age groups. Vaccines have greatly reduced, or eliminated many infectious diseases that once routinely killed or harmed many people, and increased vaccine rates can reduce the usage of antibiotics through reducing the risk of secondary infection.

Given that AMR could negate longevity improvements made since the mid-20th century, the ILC-UK has produced this accessible guide to what AMR is, why it matters, and what can be done to prevent what Chief Medical Officer Dame Sally Davies has described as a ‘catastrophic threat’ to the UK, and the world.




Adapted from I. Holanec, ‘What you need to know about antibiotic resistance’, p12, IFoA Longevity Bulletin Issue 08, May 2016

As well as summarising existing literature, the report also draws on presentations delivered at an ILC-UK debate on tackling AMR in an ageing society held in November 2016. During the debate, an audience of public health experts heard from:

  • Professor David Salisbury CB, Associate Fellow, Centre on Global Health Security Chatham House
  • Matthew Edwards, Head of Mortality and Longevity, Towers Watson
  • Michelle Bresnahan, Founder, A Life for a Cure
  • Dr Gina Radford, Deputy Chief Medical Officer

The report’s section on what every individual can do to help prevent the rise of AMR quotes Dr Gina Radford, Deputy Chief Medical Officer, who said at the event:

‘Some of the prevention [techniques] are really simple things like hand-washing. On a day to day basis, you should wash your hands with soap and water for the length of one verse of God Save the Queen or two times through Happy Birthday.
And I can absolutely guarantee that most of us don’t do that. I know because I have observed – and I have observed myself. We don’t do some of this stuff and we are not practising just some of the most basic hygiene’.

Report author Dave Eaton, Policy and Public Affairs Manager, ILC-UK said:

‘We know that the rise of antimicrobial resistance could lead to up to 10 million deaths a year worldwide by 2050. However, it’s not just Governments and medical professionals who have a role to play in preventing the spread of AMR.

Each and every one of us can help reduce the risk of infection through good hygiene, like proper handwashing technique; through completing all courses of antibiotics and not requesting them for things like colds or sore throats; and through checking to see which vaccines we are eligible for, and keeping an up-to date vaccination record’.

Contact

Dave Eaton at ILC-UK davideaton@ilcuk.org.uk or 02073400440.

The International Longevity Centre – UK (ILC-UK) is a futures organisation focussed on some of the biggest challenges facing Government and society in the context of demographic change.

Much of our work is directed at the highest levels of Government and the civil service, both in London and Brussels. We have a reputation as a respected think tank which works, often with key partners, to inform important decision-making processes.

Our policy remit is broad, and covers everything from pensions and financial planning, to health and social care, housing design, and age discrimination. We work primarily with central government, but also actively build relationships with local government, the private sector and relevant professional and academic associations.

Notes to Editors

The report incorporates presentations delivered at the ILC-UK’s ‘The Dr Jack Watters debate: Tackling antimicrobial resistance in an ageing society’, held in Central London on Wednesday, 16th November 2016.

This report was made possible through an educational grant from Pfizer. The report was independently produced by the ILC-UK.

Employers ‘letting down’ over 50s on risks of alcohol in later life – new report

  • Recent retirees are more likely to drink every day
  • Almost one third of older drinkers in the professional occupational class drink 5-7 days a week
  • A quarter of the professional occupational class aged 60-69 drink heavily – more than under 30s
  • Those retiring before 60 and after 75 are more likely to be high-risk drinkers

Older adults in employment and facing retirement are being let down by employers when it comes to problem drinking, a report released today states.

The report written by ILC-UK and commissioned by Drink Wise, Age Well, urges employers and government to take more action to help over 50s in employment or facing retirement to avoid serious alcohol problems in later life.

It highlights retirement as a ‘danger point’ for problem drinking, with recent retirees over 50 being more likely to drink every day. Additionally, those retiring before 60 are more likely to become a high-risk drinker, as are those working beyond the age of 75.

It concludes that there is currently a ‘blind spot’ in support from employers and the state in preparing for retirement which falls short of emotional, health and social changes. For millions of people facing later retirement in the future, the report represents a clarion call.

For those over 50s still employed stress, boredom, lack of control over work and retirement worries all contribute to drinking more. Earlier this year the Drink Wise, Age Well survey revealed that as many as 1 in 4 older adults would not ask for help with an alcohol problem if they needed it.  For those who drank more than they used to, 40% cited retirement as a reason for doing so.

Other findings include:

  • Nearly 30% of over 50s in the ‘professional’ occupational classes drink 5-7 days a week, the highest of any occupational class
  • Almost a quarter of older groups in the highest professions drink more than their younger counterparts
  • Alcohol problems can cost UK employers money in terms of workplace absence and lost productivity – around 7.3 billion a year

Over 50s who have been out of work and recovered from an alcohol problem still face further barriers in getting back into work. Only 16% of employers said they would consider employing someone with a previous alcohol problem, leaving some of the UK’s most experienced workers who want to work unable to realise their potential.

The authors of the report call for employers to introduce measures to assist employees over 50 who might be struggling with an alcohol problem, such as counselling and effective workplace policies that treat alcohol issues like any other health issue.

For those into retirement, the report calls for GPs to factor in the effects of retirement when giving advice on reducing risk from alcohol. The report also calls for greater engagement from employers to staff pre and post-retirement. This includes social clubs and guidance on how to avoid alcohol becoming a problem once working life is over.

Julie Breslin, head of programme for Drink Wise, Age Well said:

“People aged over 50 who are out of work, may struggle more than any other age group to get employment. Add this to someone over 50 who is in recovery from problem drinking, and there is a compounded stigma. However, people in recovery will often have so much more to offer a workplace; experience, loyalty and commitment, and by making employment opportunities more accessible everyone benefits.

Additionally, people who are approaching retirement age will have given much of their life to the workplace and supporting their employer’s success. It is only right that there is an investment from the workplace into their well-being particularly as they approach retirement. There should be a holistic approach to retirement which includes health and well-being. Providing people with knowledge and awareness, and coping strategies to manage the transition hopefully means people won’t turn to increased alcohol use if they are struggling”

David McCullough, chief executive of Royal Voluntary Service said:

“Retirement is like a cliff edge and often older people go from having a busy schedule and colleagues to interact with, to days where they might not see anyone or even have a conversation on the phone. It doesn’t take long for loneliness to set in and drinking a little more than they should each day can quickly become the norm. It’s vital that people facing retirement or those recently retired, remain mentally and physically active and engaged in their community and we would urge employers to ensure they have the necessary support and guidance in place to help employees with what can be a very steep transition.”

Baroness Sally Greengross, chief executive of the International Longevity Centre – UK said:

“As our population ages, the importance of older employees continues to grow.

A healthy and happy older workforce is vital, and having a better relationship with alcohol can help towards this. This report shows that many older adults are reaching retirement drinking potentially harmful amounts, and there is a need for increased support from employers in treating alcohol problems as they would other health problems.

Employers, health professionals and family members should be having these potentially difficult conversations sooner rather than later, to prevent serious alcohol related harm developing later in life”.

The report is available to download here.

Notes to Editors:

  • The report was compiled from existing health and social-related data and took evidence from working and retired over 50s, and employers at a series of enquiries at the House of Lords.
  • The AUDIT Alcohol Use Disorders Identification Test identifies three categories of drinker:

o LOWER RISK: This group is defined as: AUDIT score of 0-7 Or: Men who regularly drink 3-4 units per day. Women who regularly drink 2-3 units per day. This group is defined as ‘lower risk’ rather than ‘no risk, as evidence is accumulating that no level of alcohol use is without risk entirely. This is particularly true for older adults.

o INCREASING RISK DRINKERS This group is defined as: AUDIT score of 8-15 or Men who regularly drink more than 3 to 4 units a day, but less than the higher risk levels. Women who regularly drink more than 2 to 3 units a day, but less than the higher risk levels.

o HIGHER RISK DRINKERS This group is defined as: AUDIT score of 16+ or Men who regularly drink more than 8 units a day or more than 50 units of alcohol per week. (5 bottles of wine or 20 pints). Women who regularly drink more than 6 units a day or more than 35 units of alcohol per week. (14 pints lager or 3 ½ bottles of wine)

  • High Risk drinkers are defined in this research as respondents in Understanding Society who drink more than five times a week and who drink more than eight units in a typical day.
  • Recent retirees are defined as respondents in Understand Society who retired between waves four and five.
  • Drink Wise, Age Well will be delivered over a seven year period by a consortium led overall by Addaction and in Northern Ireland by Addiction Northern Ireland, and including Royal Voluntary Service, International Longevity Centre UK and Drug and Alcohol Charities Wales. The programme will be evaluated by an academic team led by the University of Bedfordshire’s Substance Misuse and Ageing Research Team (SMART

Each partner will take the lead in a demonstration area:

  • Western Health and Social Care Trust, Northern Ireland: Addiction Northern Ireland (contact Director Thelma Abernethy or Locality Manager Joanne Smith )
  • Cwm Taf Wales: Drug Aid (Director, Caroline Phipps or Locality Manager Richard Broadway)
  • Devon County, England:  Addaction (Contact Clare Pawley)
  • Sheffield City, England : Royal Voluntary Service- (Contact Emma Wells)
  • Glasgow City, Scotland: Addaction (Contact Graeme Callander)
  • Research and Evaluation: Sarah Wadd, SMART who will lead a UK wide academic team
  • Policy- Sally-Marie Bamford, ILC-UK
  • The Big Lottery Fund supports the aspirations of people who want to make life better for their communities across the UK. It is responsible for giving out 40% of the money raised by the National Lottery and invests over £650 million a year in projects big and small in health, education, environment and charitable purposes.
     
  • Since June 2004 it has awarded over £8 billion to projects that change the lives of millions of people. Every year it funds 13,000 small local projects tackling big social problems like poor mental health and homelessness. Since the National Lottery began in 1994, £34 billion has been raised and more than 450,000 grants awarded.

Press Release

For Immediate Release

5 December 2016

Think Tank urges action to improve uptake of Shingles Vaccine among older people

Responding to the news of falls in uptake of the shingles vaccination, the International Longevity Centre UK (ILC-UK) has urged a change to its eligibility guidelines.

Public Health England has reported a decline in the uptake of the Shingles vaccination in both the routine (70 year old) and catch up (78 years old) cohorts (from 61.8% in 2013/14 to 54.9% in 2015/16 and from 57.8% in 2014/15 to 55.5% in 2015/16, respectively).

In 2013, ILC-UK published “Immune Response”, calling for a lifecourse approach to immunisation and making 30 plus recommendations for policy action.

In 2015, ILC-UK launched a European Adult Immunisation Hub, which seeks to provide information and news about adult immunisation across Europe.

David Sinclair, Director, ILC-UK and Editor of the European Adult Immunisation Hub said:

“Vaccination is not just for kids. In an ageing society we need a much greater focus on improving awareness and uptake of vaccination among adults.

Anything we can do to reduce likelihood of pain is of huge importance in old age, with 6 in 10 people in their mid-70s suffering from pain.

Shingles can be a significant cause of pain in old age and vaccination is an effective way of reducing the likelihood that we will suffer from it. We must ensure that older people eligible for the Shingles vaccination take up their right to receive it.

Some parts of the country have very low coverage of the Shingles vaccine among eligible people. It is important that Public Health England and the Department of Health work to ensure that we don’t see emerging a postcode lottery in access to the vaccine.

The complexity of the age of eligibility guidelines for shingles will no doubt be hampering the ability to communicate uptake to relevant individuals. Perhaps now is the time to extend eligibility to everyone between 70 and 80, after all, all of these people are at risk and would benefit from vaccination.”

Details of who is eligible for a shingles vaccine are available here: http://www.nhs.uk/Conditions/vaccinations/Pages/who-can-have-the-shingles-vaccine.aspx

See the European Adult Immunisation Website for more information about the latest figures for Shingles uptake: http://www.adultimmunisation.eu/shinglesherpes-zoster/shingles-vaccination-uptake-falls-england/

Contact

David Eaton (davideaton@ilcuk.org.uk) 02073400440 or 07851042609

Notes

The International Longevity Centre – UK (ILC-UK) is a futures organisation focussed on some of the biggest challenges facing Government and society in the context of demographic change.


The European Adult Immunisation Hub is available at: http://www.adultimmunisation.eu/.


The Rt Hon. Stephen Dorrell, Chair of the NHS Confederation and former Secretary of State for Health and former Chair of the Health Select Committee, and Dwayne Johnson, Director of Adult Social Care, Sefton Metropolitan Borough Council have agreed to join our fantastic list of speakers at the Future of Ageing conference.

Dr Margaret McCartney, GP, author and regular contributor on Radio 4’s Inside Health, will also present at the conference. Dr Islene Araujo de Carvalho of the Department of Ageing and Life Course at the World Health Organisation will also focus on health and care issues, taking a more global perspective.

Conference attendees will also hear from:

  • John Cridland CBE, Head of the Independent State Pension Age Review
  • John Pullinger CB, National Statistician, UK Statistics Authority
  • Professor Sarah Harper, Director, Oxford Institute of Population Ageing
  • Linda Woodall, Director of Life Insurance and Financial Advice, and sponsor of the Ageing Population project, Financial Conduct Authority
  • Jonathan Stevens, Senior Vice President, Thought Leadership, AARP
  • David Sinclair, Director, International Longevity Centre - UK
  • The Rt Hon. the Lord Carey of Clifton, Archbishop of Canterbury 1991-2001

Join as at the Future of Ageing Conference on Wednesday, 9th November. Our Earlybird prices must end on 31st August, so sign up now to take advantage of this special discounted rate.

 

Since our June update, we have launched five new reports, including a landmark publication on the future of the UK welfare state; a report on the economic benefits of migration; and our annual factpack, which this year focuses on the state on the nation's housing.

We also extended the early bird rate for the 2016 Future of Ageing Conference to Wednesday, 31st August, and held our second national retirement income summit at the Chartered Insurance Institute.

These updates are sent every couple of months. If you would like to keep on top of our latest news, please follow us on Twitter, Facebook or our LinkedIn Group.


ILC-UK hosts the first Ageing Society pub quiz to launch 'The state of the nation's housing: An ILC-UK Factpack'

On Monday, 18th July ILC-UK hosted the first Ageing Society Pub Quiz to launch 'The state of the nation's housing: An ILC-UK Factpack', supported by FirstPort. Attendees competing across 13 teams tested their knowledge of everything from the issues surrounding an ageing society, to whether the cumulative age of ILC-UK staff was higher or lower than that of the current members of the Rolling Stones.

Thank you to everyone who participated!

 

ILC-UK Publications

The state of the nation's housing: An ILC-UK Factpack
Despite significant increases in the numbers of older people living alone, half of all older people with care needs haven’t made adaptations to their homes to make them easier to live in. Whilst specialist retirement housing can offer more adaptations and play a part in supporting downsizing, the report also finds that the retirement housing supply gap is set to worsen.

Measuring state effectiveness: an ILC-UK index
This technical report presents a new index for measuring State Effectiveness, and comparative performance analysis of countries across Europe. The report warns that 'silver welfare', the strategy of focusing spending on social protection for old age is the only strategy consistently associated with bad outcomes.

Towards a new age: The future of the UK welfare state
This landmark publication features contributions from more than 20 leading public figures on the reforms necessary to ensure the future of the welfare state. 'Towards a new age' provocatively argues that if governments make policy based purely to get re-elected, the welfare state could become so distorted that it might sow the seeds of its own demise.
A future of the welfare state thinkpiece

Innovate to Alleviate: Exploring how the role of an enhanced care worker could address skills shortages in the social care sector
This report, commissioned by the Department for Health, is the first to examine a newly developed role in the adult social care sector. The first scoping review of its kind, the report is a qualitative investigation compiled from interviews with individuals from all levels of the care home sector.

Immigration: Encourage or deter?
This report demonstrates that migration could boost the UK economy by £625 billion (or 11.4%) by 2064-65. It also finds that migration is likely to support the sustainability of government finances, and that raising the State Pension Age alone will not stabilise the UK's declining dependency ratio.

 

ILC-UK Events

Housing in an Ageing Society
Wednesday 12th October; 10:00 (for a 10:30 start) - 12:30; Legal & General

On Tuesday, 19th July we launched 'The state of the nation's housing', with the support of FirstPort.

This special half day event on Wednesday, 12th October will feature discussion and debate amongst industry experts and Government on the topic of Housing in an Ageing Society.

Speakers include:

  • Lord Bourne of Aberystwyth, Newly appointed Parliamentary Under Secretary of State at the Department for Communities and Local Government;
  • Nigel Wilson, Group Chief Executive, Legal & General
  • Dr Brian Beach, Research Fellow, ILC-UK.

This event is fully subscribed, and is operating a waiting list.
Eventbrite - Housing in an Ageing Society


The Second Annual Future of Ageing Conference
Wednesday, 9th November 2016; Central Hall Westminster, Storey's Gate, London, SW1H 9NH

We are pleased to announce that since our June update a further two new keynote speakers have been confirmed for the Future of Ageing 2016. We have also extended our early bird rates until the end of August 2016.

Current confirmed speakers include:

  • Dr Islene Araujo de Carvalho, Senior Policy and Strategy Adviser, Department of Ageing and Life Course, WHO
  • John Cridland CBE, Head of the Independent State Pension Age Review
  • Jonathan Stevens, Senior Vice President, Thought Leadership, AARP
  • John Pullinger CB, National Statistician, UK Statistics Authority
  • The Rt Rev. and the Rt Hon. the Lord Carey of Clifton, Archbishop of Canterbury 1991-2002
  • Professor Sarah Harper, Director, Oxford Institute of Population Ageing
  • David Sinclair, Director, ILC-UK
  • Dr Maragaret McCartney, GP and regular contributor on Radio 4’s Inside Health, and
  • Linda Woodall, Director of Life Insurance and Financial Advice, and sponsor of the Ageing Population project, Financial Conduct Authority

Eventbrite - The Future of Ageing, an ILC-UK Conference

We are grateful to McCarthy & Stone for their sponsorship of this conference.

Further support has kindly been received from:

    

 

We have a number of promotional opportunities for organisations wishing to be involved in the 2016 Future of Ageing Conference. For full details, please click here.

We are also happy to work with organisations on bespoke packages. If you would like to discuss sponsorship and the various packages in more detail, please contact Lyndsey Mitchell on lyndseymitchell@ilcuk.org.uk.

 

ILC-UK Blogs

Since our June update, we have published ILC-UK analysis on the reform of nursing bursaries and the end of Osbornomics, and a variety of blogs from expert guest authors.

Blogs written by ILC-UK researchers include an assessment of reforms of nursing bursaries, lessons from Asia and the rest of the world on maximising the potential of an ageing population, a summary of the Drink Wise, Age Well Inquiry and the end of Osbornomics.

Our guest blogs have included articles on getting young people saving (Michelle McGagh, freelance journalist); on why declining dopamine may explain why older people take fewer risks (Dr Robb Rutledge, Senior Research Associate, Wellcome Trust Centre for Neuroimaging, UCL); and insights into the motivations of young and old voters in the EU referendum (Dr Stuart Fox, Quantitative Research Associate, Wales Institute of Social & Economic Research, Data & Methods).

We have also published guest blogs on combating ageism, fear and loathing in Brexit Britain (Jilly Forster, Founder, Forster Communications) and the difficult conversations people avoid as they get older (Claire Turner, Interim Director of Evidence, Centre for Ageing Better)

We also regularly publish our Friday Five: five key facts about issues related to ageing.

To read these and all our blogs, please click here.

 

Partners Programme

Membership of our Partners Programme is open to companies and not for profit organisations. Benefits of membership include: a discount on research, guaranteed spaces at events, your logo on 3 events and 3 reports per year, and advanced copies of ILC-UK research. We also provide information and advice consultancy services to our Partners and organise exclusive events.

Partners are exposed to the latest available research and data in the UK, EU and the rest of the world. Partners are helped to understand and plan for changing societal trends and given opportunities to participate in cutting-edge debates to help them remain ahead of policy curves.

The current ILC-UK Partners are: Anchor, Audley, Aviva, Centre for Ageing Better, Equiniti, EY, FirstPort, Hymans Robertson LLP, Legal & General, Newcastle University Institute for Ageing, Partnership and Prudential.

For more information, see the Partners Programme brochure or contact David Sinclair, davidsinclair@ilcuk.org.uk.

 

Working with ILC-UK

RESEARCH AND EVENTS
Research and events produced by ILC-UK are made possible by funding from various sources. If you are interested in commissioning ILC-UK research or supporting an ILC-UK event, please contact David Sinclair, davidsinclair@ilcuk.org.uk.

PRESS
If you would like to receive ILC-UK press releases, please email events@ilcuk.org.uk and we will add you to our press release list.

The Drink Wise Age Well partnership of leading national alcohol and ageing charities have launched an Inquiry, led by the International Longevity Centre – UK (ILC-UK) into alcohol-related harm amongst the over 50s.

Each year we will hold an Inquiry on a key theme pertaining to alcohol and the over 50s and for 2016, we aim to explore and consider employment. We have selected this theme for 2016 based on some of the early findings from the Drink Wise Age Well survey; of those surveyed whose alcohol use has increased, 40% cite retirement and 20% loss of purpose for their increased consumption.

The 2016 Inquiry will focus on three key areas: alcohol and over 50s seeking employment; the second will examine alcohol and over 50s currently in employment; and the third will focus on alcohol and over 50s transitioning to, or currently in, retirement. We are inviting submissions of written evidence for one, two or all of the three key areas.

Guidelines on making a submission

  • If you would like to make a submission of written evidence to the Inquiry, please state clearly who the submission is from, i.e. whether from yourself in a personal capacity or sent on behalf of an organisation.
  • Please be concise – we recommend no more than 1500 words in length.
  • Include a brief introduction about yourself/your organisation and your reason for submitting evidence.
  • Include any factual information you have to offer from which the Inquiry might be able to draw conclusions, or which could be put to other witnesses for their reactions.
  • Include any recommendations for action by the Government or others which you would like the Inquiry to consider.

Submissions of written evidence might consider:

1. To what extent does alcohol use either indirectly or directly impact employment prospects, job seeking activities and work performance in the over 50s? With around 1 million people aged 50-64 across the UK not currently in work but wanting to work, to what extent might alcohol-related harm be a cause, and/or symptom of prolonged unemployment? For those in work, what are the workplace consequences of alcohol-related harm?

2. What sort of interventions are required to encourage and support over 50s either seeking work, in work or in retirement with issues around alcohol? Evidence relating to successful interventions may focus on the role of service providers, the perspective of a service user, or a combination of these perspectives.

The final report is intended for a policy and public audience, so written submissions should be accessible but at the same time, informative, thought provoking and ideally challenging while offering solutions/recommendations. The written submissions will form a key part of the evidence base for the next annual State of the Nation report; our last State of the Nation report received wide media exposure and was covered by the BBC1 Breakfast Show, The Sunday Times and The Telegraph amongst other publications, and all submission will be acknowledged where referenced. To submit written evidence please email events@ilcuk.org.uk. Please note there is a final deadline of any submissions of Friday, 1st July 2016.

We are also holding three high level oral evidence sessions in the House of Lords:
• Monday 18th April – alcohol and over 50s seeking employment;
• Friday 6th May – alcohol and over 50s currently in employment;
• Monday 23rd May – alcohol and over 50s transitioning to, or currently in, retirement.

If you would like to attend any or all of these evidence sessions as an audience member please visit the ILC-UK website for further details:
http://www.ilcuk.org.uk/index.php/events/drink_wise_age_well_alcohol_inquiry

This is an independent Inquiry, with the ILC-UK providing the governance and secretariat while the Chair will drive the agenda and findings. Baroness Sally Greengross will chair the Inquiries evidence sessions, which are kindly supported by the Big Lottery Fund.


Please note:
Authors are requested to provide a very short biography of themselves/organisations of no more than four lines to sit alongside their submission. Due to time constraints, we will only be making minor amendments/proofing so all submissions need to be of a publishable standard, ILC-UK reserves the right not to publish if material is deemed inappropriate. All authors and their organisation will be credited in the final report and any associated publicity and promotional material linked to the response.


NEW STUDY: STIGMA AND SHAME STOPPING ‘HIDDEN’ OVER 50s DRINKERS SEEKING HELP

Biggest ever study of its kind reveals attitudes towards alcohol and ageing could be leaving over 50s at increased risk of harm from alcohol. 

A hidden population of over 50s at increasing risk from their drinking may well be hidden in plain sight according to the Drink Wise, Age Well report released today. Attitudes held and experienced by older drinkers may stop them for asking for help in reducing their alcohol use.

Respondents who drank more than they used to gave age-related reasons for doing so. Furthermore, over three-quarters (83%) of those surveyed who were at increasing risk from alcohol use had never been asked about their drinking by someone who might be able to help. Risks associated with alcohol include depression, poor sleep, memory problems, and trouble with relationships as well as more serious illnesses such as cancer or liver disease.

The biggest-ever study of its kind into drinking behaviours among the over 50s surveyed over 16,700 people from 10 areas across the UK. Categories of risk were defined using the international recognised AUDIT screening tool.

Preliminary findings are:

  • Over half of respondents aged over 65 believe that people with an alcohol problem have themselves to blame. Nearly a quarter think they should feel ashamed.  
  • The five most frequently reported reasons for those who drink more now than in the past are age-related. These include retirement, bereavement, loss of sense of purpose, fewer opportunities to socialise and finances.
  • Around 4 in 5 of those who are at increasing risk of harm from alcohol said that on no occasion had relatives, friends, doctors or other health workers been concerned about their drinking or suggested they cut down.
  • 1 in 4 said they would not tell anyone if they needed help.


Julie Breslin, Drink Wise, Age Well Programme Lead said:

“One positive from the Drink Wise, Age Well study is that 80% of those surveyed who drink, are drinking at lower risk levels. However, of those who are drinking at more risky levels the majority have never had anyone, including health professionals, talk to them about their alcohol use. Also a quarter of people would not know where to go for help nor would they ask if they needed it. Thanks to support from the Big Lottery Fund, Drink Wise, Age Well is working to tackle the stigma around alcohol use in the over 50s population and do this through raising awareness, training frontline staff to ‘ask the question’ and ensuring appropriate help is available to those when they do look for it.”

Baroness Sally Greengross from the International Longevity Centre - UK said:

“This report gives us an opportunity to start putting some wrongs to rights in relation to older adults and alcohol. We are all living longer lives; however, it is vital to ensure this is a life of quality and good health. If the number of people that are drinking at increasing risk levels continue this into later life there may be some serious impacts both on their own health and at a societal level. At a policy level we need to create a climate where sensible drinking is considered within the wider scope of healthy ageing and longevity.”

David McCullough, Royal Voluntary Service Chief Executive said:

“What this report gives rise to are some concerning characteristics in relation to higher risk drinkers. More often than not, they are not in a relationship and live alone, and have a longstanding illness or disability. 1 in 3 higher risk drinkers cite being down or depressed as a reason for drinking and 41% say they drink because they are lonely or bored. Tackling social isolation among older people is a key commitment of Royal Voluntary service and this report highlights that we need to be much more vigilant and aware of the potential for high risk drinking in a population that are more isolated. We are delighted to be partners of the Drink Wise, Age Well programme so we can tackle this together.”

Drink Wise, Age Well is supported by the Big Lottery Fund as part of Rethink Good Health, a £25 million UK-wide programme to inform policy and practice UK-wide in preventing alcohol misuse amongst older people, specifically those aged 50 and over. It works in five areas to help prevent harm caused by alcohol in the over 50s, promote alternatives to alcohol in communities, build skills in communities to help at risk over 50s and seeks to get the issue on the health agenda.

-ENDS-

Drink Wise Age Well media contact:
Steve Williams, Communications and Public Affairs:
Tel: 0141 221 8390 steven.williams@addaction.org.uk

Addaction press office: 020 7017 2747
Out of hours: 07818 587696


Notes to Editors:

  • The AUDIT Alcohol Use Disorders Identification Test identifies three categories of drinker:

o LOWER RISK: This group is defined as: AUDIT score of 0-7 Or: Men who regularly drink 3-4 units per day. Women who regularly drink 2-3 units per day. This group is defined as ‘lower risk’ rather than ‘no risk, as evidence is accumulating that no level of alcohol use is without risk entirely. This is particularly true for older adults.
o INCREASING RISK DRINKERS This group is defined as: AUDIT score of 8-15 or Men who regularly drink more than 3 to 4 units a day, but less than the higher risk levels. Women who regularly drink more than 2 to 3 units a day, but less than the higher risk levels.
o HIGHER RISK DRINKERS This group is defined as: AUDIT score of 16+ or Men who regularly drink more than 8 units a day or more than 50 units of alcohol per week. (5 bottles of wine or 20 pints)
Women who regularly drink more than 6 units a day or more than 35 units of alcohol per week. (14 pints lager or 3 ½ bottles of wine)

  • Drink Wise, Age Well will be delivered over a seven year period by a consortium led overall by Addaction and in Northern Ireland by Addiction Northern Ireland, and including Royal Voluntary Service, International Longevity Centre UK and Drug and Alcohol Charities Wales. The programme will be evaluated by an academic team led by the University of Bedfordshire’s Substance Misuse and Ageing Research Team (SMART).
     
  • Each partner will take the lead in a demonstration area:
    Western Health and Social Care Trust, Northern Ireland: Addiction Northern Ireland (contact Director Thelma Abernethy or Locality Manager Joanne Smith )
    Cwm Taf Wales: Drug Aid (Director, Caroline Phipps or Locality Manager Richard Broadway )
    Devon County, England:  Addaction (Contact Clare Pawley)
    Sheffield City, England : Royal Voluntary Service- (Contact Emma Wells )
    Glasgow City, Scotland: Addaction (Contact Graeme Callander )
    Research and Evaluation: Sarah Wadd, SMART who will lead a UK wide academic team
    Policy- Sally Bamford. ILC-UK

    • The Big Lottery Fund supports the aspirations of people who want to make life better for their communities across the UK. It is responsible for giving out 40% of the money raised by the National Lottery and invests over £650 million a year in projects big and small in health, education, environment and charitable purposes.
    Since June 2004 it has awarded over £8 billion to projects that change the lives of millions of people. Every year it funds 13,000 small local projects tackling big social problems like poor mental health and homelessness.

    Since the National Lottery began in 1994, £34 billion has been raised and more than 450,000 grants awarded.

Ends//

The International Longevity Centre – UK (ILC-UK) is organising its first major all day conference on The Future of Ageing, on Tuesday 24th November 2015 in London.

Confirmed speakers include:

  • Baroness Altmann (Minister or Pensions);
  • Professor Sir Mark Walport (Government Chief Scientific Adviser [GCSA] and Head of the Government Office for Science);
  • David Willetts (Executive Chair at Resolution Foundation, and former Minister of State [Department for Business, Innovation and Skills]);
  • Lord Filkin (Chair of the Centre for Ageing Better and Chair of the House of Lords Committee on Public Service and Demographic Change);
  • Paul Johnson (Director, Institute for Fiscal Studies);
  • Steve Groves (Chief Executive Officer at Partnership);
  • Professor Jane Elliott (Chief Executive, Economic and Social Research Council);
  • Steven Baxter (Partner, Hymans Robertson); and
  • Professor Ian Philp (Deputy Medical Director for Older People’s Care, Heart of England NHS Foundation Trust) will be speaking at the conference.

The conference will be chaired by Baroness Sally Greengross (Chief Executive, ILC-UK) and Lawrence Churchill (Trustee, ILC-UK).

ILC-UK are grateful to McCarthy & Stone and Partnership for their sponsorship of this conference.

Bookings can be made through the ILC-UK website.

  • The UK is home to some of the world’s leading innovation in healthcare but we can learn from successes in USA, India, Australia, Africa and Europe
  • ILC-UK urge health leaders to work to ensure that the £22bn savings being asked of the NHS act to stimulate not prevent innovation

The NHS should be supported to continue to invest in innovation in order to save more money in the long-term argues a major new report ‘Creating a sustainable 21st century healthcare system’ by the International Longevity Centre – UK (ILC-UK).

‘Creating a sustainable 21st century healthcare system’, sponsored by EY, is the first report in ILC-UK’s SOS 2020 Health series. It highlights how a ‘perfect storm’ of demographic and wider economic and social trends are converging to push up the cost of healthcare across the globe. The report showcases examples of innovation from across the world which could save lives and money if introduced more widely.

The UK’s healthcare system provides a third of the exemplary case studies showcased in the report, but the report suggests that more work needs to be done to share and spread innovation in the UK, and that there’s much to learn from other leading markets such as India, Australia, Europe and the US.

The report points out that the 15 million people who have a long term health condition account for 70% of the total health and care spend in England. Yet across Europe, on average only 3% of healthcare expenditure is allocated to prevention and public health programmes.

The NHS is committed to achieving £22bn efficiency savings through productivity gains of 2% or 3% a year between now and 2020. The ILC-UK research has shown this target will be very challenging without real innovation. The OBR highlight productivity in the health sector only rose by around 1% per annum on average between 1979 and 2010.
The report suggests that a concerted focus on innovation and prevention - developing more empowered health consumers, whilst also maximising the potential of big data - would help to deliver significant savings in the long-term.
Phase two of the report, due out in 2016, will model the impact of applying the leading global innovations showcased in the first report to new markets to highlight the potential global savings of sharing innovation.


Baroness Sally Greengross, ILC-UK Chief Executive said “Whilst innovation can save money in the long term, it requires up-front investment. And the nature of introducing new or dual systems can mean that for the first few years costs go up and services don’t improve.
The picture is not as bleak as it may sound however. Advances in health technology have the potential to significantly influence patient’s access to health care and the way that health care is delivered. Big data can revolutionise the way services are focussed on the individual.

But for us to maximise the potential we have to create a climate for innovation in the health service. We might also accept that if we are to innovate to reduce costs and improve services over the long term, public and private investment is vital. Government must ensure that the £22bn savings being asked of the NHS act to stimulate not prevent innovation.”

Shaun Crawford, EY Global Insurance Sector Leader said  “‘The report  has sourced a bank of robust innovative global case studies that demonstrate the potential to deliver better health outcomes and reduce costs across the world at a time of growing pressure on our health care systems. Empowering consumers and harnessing big data will be crucial to delivering long-term savings for the sector.”

Global health innovations

  • The ‘Stay on Your Feet’ programme in Australia is preventing falls among older people by targeting their knowledge, attitudes and behaviours, resulting in a 22% lower incidence of self-reported falls and a 20% decrease in fall-related hospitalisations.
  • Canterbury District in New Zealand has developed a vision of ‘one system, one budget’, bringing in experts to support clinicians to redesign care pathways and workflow. The result has been reduced admissions across acute care, as well as a 20% drop in nursing homes admissions.
  • Healthcare providers in South Central Pennsylvania  used ‘big data’ to identify ‘superutilisers’, then developed a coordinated care service for these people, resulting in inpatient admissions dropping by 34% after enrolment in the programme, equating to savings of $1,242,000 for 138 patients in 12 months.

Rethinking Cancer, a new report by the International Longevity Centre- UK (ILC-UK) quantifies the cost of cancer to the UK economy, its families and its communities. The independent report, supported by Bristol-Myers Squibb*, presents research on the economic and societal impact of cancer.

The report considers the wider cost of cancer alongside the 160,000 deaths it causes each year in the UK.

Key findings:

  • In a single year over 50,000 people of working age lose their lives to the disease and in 2014 these people could have contributed £585 million to the UK economy.
  • The 1.8 million people living with and beyond cancer in the UK contribute approximately £6.9 billion to the UK economy each year through paid employment.
  • The wider societal contributions of cancer survivors are significant and have been valued at £15.2 billion per year. This includes providing hours of informal care to others, along with voluntary and domestic work.

‘Rethinking Cancer’ outlines the changes required to increase survivorship and better support those living with and beyond cancer, their employers, families, friends and relatives.

Increase survival rates
The report reveals that the gap in cancer survival rates between England and the European average has remained at around 10% for the last two decades. ILC-UK calculate that closing the gap would contribute £117 million to the UK economy.

Support Cancer Survivors
Rethinking Cancer finds that if employment rates for cancer survivors were the same as for the rest of the population cancer survivors would contribute an additional £4 billion to the UK economy each year.

Baroness Sally Greengross, Chief Executive of ILC-UK said: “Government and health professionals have a moral obligation to continue to improve cancer survival rates and better support cancer survivors. ‘Rethinking Cancer’ also highlights the economic imperative for action. It is vital that the Government’s vision to improve cancer outcomes through better prevention; swifter diagnosis; and better treatment, care and aftercare, is delivered. It is also important that we ensure that cancer patients receive support which can help them gain confidence in returning to employment.”


*Bristol-Myers Squibb provided financial sponsorship to cover the costs of producing the report. The company had no input to the report and ILC-UK retained full editorial control.

Ready for Ageing Alliance challenge the “myth of the baby boomer”

A new report by the Ready for Ageing Alliance seeks to bust the widely touted myth that there is a uniform group of older people in the UK – so called baby boomers – who have benefitted at the expense of younger age groups.

The report by the Ready For Ageing Alliance - a group of major national charities interested in our ageing society - presents compelling evidence that baby boomers (in this report defined as between the ages of 55-70) are in fact a diverse group of people in virtually every aspect of their lives. The report argues that in reality, one of the few things this group shares is chronological age. The Ready for Ageing Alliance argue that the term “baby boomer” has become an overused and potentially dangerous shorthand to inaccurately describe everybody in a single age group.

Evidence revealed in the report includes:

  • Whilst many boomers have benefitted from house price inflation, just under half of those aged 55-64 in England fully own their property and 24% are still renting.
  • Whilst some boomers can expect to live a long time in good health, men in the most deprived parts of the England can expect to live to 52.2 year in good health compared with 70.5 in the least deprived areas. 6.7 million people aged 45-64 have a long standing illness or a disability.
  • Whilst some boomers benefitted from free education, under one in five of those aged 55-64 in the UK have a degree.
  • Whilst some boomers will retire with good pension provision, almost three in ten of 55-64 year olds in Great Britain do not have any pension savings (nearly 2 million people).

David Sinclair, spokesperson for the Ready for Ageing Alliance said:

“The term baby boomer seems to be increasingly used to inflame divisions and resentment between younger and older generations.

The report highlights that whilst some boomers are ageing successfully, there is huge diversity in income, wealth and experiences of those aged 55-70.

Our ageing society will impact on both young and older people. Today’s younger people are tomorrows older.

If we are to ensure our increasingly ageing society is prosperous for all future generations, we must find ways of bring older and younger together rather than pitch them against each other.”

On the 24th November 2015, ILC-UK will be holding a day conference on ‘The Future of Ageing’. We will paint a picture of the future of ageing and explore the challenges and opportunities ahead.Through our unique lifecourse focus we will explore the potential impact of ageing not just on today’s older population, but also on tomorrow’s.

Register to attend the conference here.

We invite organisations to be involved in this event through various promotional opportunities, from exhibition space on the day and advertising space in the event programme to publicity and free delegate spaces.

During the conference, we will focus on five key areas: The future challenges and opportunities of health and care in an ageing society; The future of retirement income: Wealthy pensioners or persistent poverty?; The future of our economy in an ageing society: Adapting our economy to ageing?; The future of our built environment in an ageing society; and The future of ageing research.

We are delighted to confirm that Professor Sir Mark Walport (Government Chief Scientific Adviser [GCSA] and Head of the Government Office for Science), David Willetts (Executive Chair at Resolution Foundation, and former Minister of State [Department for Business, Innovation and Skills]), Lord Filkin (Chair of the Centre for Ageing Better and Chair of the House of Lords Committee on Public Service and Demographic Change) and Paul Johnson (Director, Institute for Fiscal Studies) will be speaking at the conference.

Promotional Packages are included the below table. However, we would be very happy to speak with organisations to put together a package that suits your requirements and budget.

To receive a full Promotional Opportunities brochure, or to discuss these opportunities in more detail, please contact Lyndsey Mitchell, Office and Events Manager at ILC-UK, on events@ilcuk.org.uk or 0207 340 0440.

  • Think tank urges continued focus on preventing ill health as research highlights that ill health and inactivity is not inevitable.
  • Age UK announce plans for annual “Greengross Lecture”

A new factpack published today by the International Longevity Centre – UK (ILC-UK) (1) illustrates the realities of living to 80 for the 367,000 people reaching the milestone age this year.

Inspired by ILC-UK Chief Executive and founder, Baroness Sally Greengross, who turned 80 on the 29th of June this year, 80 at Eighty (2) gives 80 facts about life in your 9th decade.

Across the world, the number of people aged 80 plus has increased from 15 million (1950) to 110 million (2011). By 2050 the number aged over 80 is estimated to reach 400 million.

This factpack incorporates new analysis by ILC-UK of the English Longitudinal Study of Ageing by ILC-UK. 80 at Eighty reveals:

Many English 80 year olds remain very active…

  • In England over 16,000 people aged 80+ are still in paid employment.
  • People aged 80+ may be more satisfied with their sex lives, as 67.9% report the frequency to be about right, in contrast to 54.5% of those aged 50-64.
  • More than half (55%) of men aged 80+ are married (or in a civil partnership) vs. 21% of women.

But health problems are common…

  • Around 16% of those aged 80-84 have already survived a heart attack.
  • 49% of women and 38% of men aged 80+ are often troubled with physical pain.
  • 50.8% of men and 56.7% of women aged 80 and over report having a limiting long standing illness.
  • Over one in ten of those aged 80-84 have some kind of dementia

Alongside Baroness Greengross, Julie Andrews, the Dalai Lama, Woody Allen and Norman Foster turn 80 this year. Elvis would have been 80 this year.

80 at Eighty was launched at a reception hosted by Age UK this week. During the reception, Age UK announced plans for the introduction of an annual “Greengross” lecture.

Baroness Altmann CBE, Minister of State for Pensions said
“I welcome this year’s edition of the Factpack, building as it does on the high quality research that has been the hallmark of ILC UK’s work over a number of years. In common with much of ILC UK’s research, this usefully highlights the importance of addressing the challenges and opportunities of our ageing society. Improving quality of later life is an important goal which can benefit increasing numbers of people.”

Baroness Greengross, ILC-UK Chief Executive said
“It is brilliant to see how many 80 year olds remain active. There were 17 runners in this year’s London Marathon aged over 80.  But 80 at Eighty also highlights the day to day challenges faced by too many people into their 80s and beyond.
The priority for me, as I pass my own 80th birthday, is to focus policy effort on ensuring more and more 80 year olds are healthier longer. Growing numbers of people aged into their 80s and 90s is great news, particularly if we can better prevent the multiple illnesses that can destroy wellbeing in later life.

Caroline Abrahams, Charity Director for Age UK said:
“It is fantastic that there are more over-80s in our society than ever before and that this age group is increasing more quickly than any other.

"Growing numbers of these people are making significant contributions to their families and communities - indeed to our country - and in the process they are dismantling ageist stereotypes about what it is to be 'old'.

"No one epitomises this better than Baroness Sally Greengross, who has had a long and distinguished career supporting older people that she shows no sign of giving up, and who herself is joining the over-80s club this year.

"Age UK is therefore delighted to announce that from 2016 we will host an annual Greengross Lecture in Sally's honour. Our intention is that the Lecture will champion later life and the person or people who have made a really big difference to it that year - a fitting tribute we hope to all that Sally has done and continues to do."

The Future of Transport in an Ageing Society, a new report by thinktank The International Longevity Centre – UK (ILC-UK) and charity Age-UK, highlights the travel problems faced by millions of older people.

 

  • Despite free bus travel, one third of over 65s in England never use public transport. And over half either never use public transport or use it less than once a month.
  • Approximately 35,000 people aged 65-84 in England have difficulty walking even a short distance, but are restricted to using public transport making any journey difficult.
  • 1.45 million over 65s find it quite difficult or very difficult to travel to a hospital, whilst 630,000 over 65s find it difficult or very difficult to travel to their GP.

Furthermore the report shows that it is the oldest old, those who are in poor health and those living in rural areas who are let down the most by the current public transport system:

 

  • Among the over 80s less than 55% report finding it easy to travel to a hospital, a supermarket or a post office.
  • Among the over 65s who report that it is ‘Very Difficult’ for them to travel to see their GP, less than 30% are in good health.
  • Just 20% of those aged 70-74 living in rural areas use public transport weekly, compared to 38% of those who live in an urban setting.

The report argues that with the start of the new Parliament it is time to embrace the opportunities for improvement. In particular, devolution of central Government powers to local communities could mean more flexible transport services which better reflect the needs of older people, while advances in technology, including driverless cars, could further expand older people’s transport options.

Helen Creighton of ILC-UK said:

“Travel is essential for independent living and has been shown to benefit physical health and mental wellbeing in later life. Furthermore there is evidence that maintaining older people’s mobility has substantial economic benefits, with analysis by ILC-UK estimating that concessionary fares will provide a net benefit to the wider community of £19.4 billion in the years up to 2037. This report, which highlights the travel difficulties facing older people, emphasises the need to adapt our transport system to meet the demands of our ageing society.”

Caroline Abrahams, Charity Director at Age UK said:

"It is crucial that older people are able to get out and about, especially as the evidence shows this helps them retain their health and independence for longer. Against this context it is worrying that so many older people are struggling to reach hospital, or sometimes even their local GP.

“This report should be a wakeup call because it shows our transport system is not currently meeting the needs of our growing ageing population. The bus pass is an absolute lifeline for many who would otherwise be stranded at home and is utterly essential, but the truth is it's not enough on its own to enable older people to stay mobile.

For example, better transport planning and more imaginative use of volunteers could make a big difference today; and in the medium term 'driverless cars' and other technological innovations could be real game changers."

A Commission composed of health and hearing loss experts have welcomed the long awaited publication of the Action Plan on Hearing Loss

Baroness Greengross, Chief Executive of the ILC-UK and Chair of the Commission, said

“The Commission and many others have been campaigning for quite some time for the publication of the Action Plan and I am heartened to see some of our previous recommendations have been taken forward and a real commitment to improve the access and delivery of hearing care services for patients.

However, we must continue to push forward opening up hearing services so that people can self-refer as this will increase accessibility and reduce the likelihood of people falling through the net.

We also feel that we need to detect hearing loss earlier and that is why the Commission in our last report called for a national screening programme for adults and for hearing loss to be built into health check –ups for those likely to be at risk of hearing loss.

Unlike sight loss, many people do not ever, or wait far too long, to get their hearing checked. On average, people wait 10 years – that is 10 years of potentially not hearing your loved ones and friends properly, or being able to enjoy your favourite TV programme.”

A previous report published by the Commission last year highlighted the perils of ignoring the individual, economic and social cost of hearing loss. The report presented new data to show not only the predicted growth in the number of people with hearing loss, which is set to account for almost 20% of the total population by 2031 [1], but also highlighted a £25 billion loss to the UK economy in potential economic output [2].

Notes to Editors
1. By 2031, it is expected that there will be 14.1 million people in the UK with hearing loss – accounting for nearly 20% of the total population.

2. We calculate that in 2013, due to lower employment rates for those with hearing loss than across the rest of the population, the UK economy lost £24.8bn in potential economic output. Using the ILC-UK’s economic growth model, we project that, if nothing is done to address lower employment rates for those with hearing loss, in 2031 the UK economy will lose £38.6bn in potential economic output.
 

New research by the ILC-UK reveals a continuing generational divide in access to and trust of health information. The research finds that older people are more likely to use and trust doctors and nurses whilst younger people are more likely than older to look towards pharmacists and online and telephone services.

  • One in seven UK survey respondents aged over 65 report it difficult to find health information.
  • Study paints worrying picture of health literacy across all ages with only around 7 in 10 people in the UK saying they would ‘definitely’ go to the doctor if they found a lump on their neck.
  • Whilst older people in the UK are more likely to report excellent or very good health than those in Germany, France and Portugal, 12% of people aged under 24 in the UK reported fair or poor health, a figure much higher than found in Germany, France and Portugal

“Next Generation Health Consumers”, supported by an unrestricted educational grant from Pfizer, explores where consumers go to seek out health information and who they trust.  Launching the report, ILC-UK argue that the diverse demands for health information across the generations strengthen the case not to cut traditional health information services and simply replace them with online and telephone services.

Whilst older people in the UK are more likely to report excellent or very good health than those in Germany, France and Portugal, 12% of people aged under 24 in the UK reported fair or poor health, a figure much higher than found in Germany, France and Portugal

One in seven of our UK survey respondents aged over 65 report it difficult to find health information.

The research also finds that:

Healthcare professionals such as doctors and nurses are the most frequently used and trusted sources of health information but they are still sometimes underused. Older people in the UK are more likely than younger people to go to their GP to seek advice on healthy ageing. Older people also tend to have higher levels of confidence in GPs than younger people. Only around 7 in 10 people in the UK said they would ‘definitely’ go to the doctor if they found a lump on their neck, or if they wanted information about a long-term illness, while only just over half (51.4%) would go to the doctor for information about staying healthy. 

Younger people are more likely than older to trust pharmacists: Four out of five people aged 24 or below consider pharmacists to be ‘always/ mostly’ trustworthy compared with over half (56.7%) of people aged 65 or above. While levels of trust may have been lower for those aged 65 and over, pharmacists represent the most helpful source for receiving more health information among this group.

Around a quarter of younger respondents in the UK would like to receive more information from pharmacists, and around half would like to get more health information over the internet. Whilst trust in pharmacists is particularly high among those aged 24 or under, they would still prefer to receive more health information online than from pharmacists in person.

Younger people are more likely than older to search out and trust health advice from friends, friends or colleagues. 6 in 10 under 24 year olds are ‘definitely’ or ‘very likely’ to go to family members and social networks in the event of discovering a lump on their neck. This compares with just over one in four people (27%) aged 65+. Older people are less likely than younger people to trust this source of advice.

Trust and use of in web-based health sources is stronger among younger people than older.

Young people aged 24 or under are more likely than other age groups to say that they are ‘definitely’ or ‘very likely’ to go to a medical helpline for further information on any particular health issue. Younger people in UK are twice as likely as older people to “definitely” contact a medical helpline in the event of finding a lump on their neck. Levels of trust in medical helplines declines with age in the UK. And just 5.4% of people aged 34 or under and 7.2% of those over 55 would find it helpful to get more health information from this source.

Sally-Marie Bamford, Research Director at ILC-UK said “Whilst the majority of us do not find it difficult to access health information, this research highlights that there are millions who struggle. This research highlights that there isn’t a one size fits all solution. Older and younger people trust and use different sources of health information. If we are to have an empowered and healthy older population, improving access to health information is vital. As new ways of communicating become more commonplace we must not forget the diversity of our population. We must work to raise the health literacy of all ages.”

Launching the report, ILC-UK urge health information providers to recognise the need for significantly different tools to communicate health messages to older and younger people. The report urges service providers to continue to invest in tackling digital exclusion and encourages Governments and Health and Social Care professionals to do more to develop health literacy as part of strategy to help raise awareness among population of how to look after themselves.

A new report, published today, by the ILC-UK and supported by an unrestricted grant from Pfizer, explores where consumers go to seek out health information and who they trust. “Next Generation Health Consumers” incorporates a survey of 4,182 individuals across the UK, Germany, France and Portugal.

  • One third of older people in France and Germany report finding health information very or fairly difficult.
  • One in seven over 65s in the UK report it difficult to find health information.
  • Almost one in four of our survey respondents aged under 24 in France reported it to be very or fairly difficult to find health information (compared with 12.6% in Germany, 4.35 in the UK and 9% in Germany)

The research finds unsurprisingly, that as we get older we report poorer health. But whilst older people in the UK report better health than older people in other countries, younger people in the UK report poorer health than those of the same age in Germany, France and Portugal.

  • Our sample of Portuguese older people were much more likely to report poor health than those in the other countries studied. Three quarters of Portuguese aged over 65 reported fair or poor health compared to just under four in ten people in the UK.
  • Older people in the UK were more likely to report excellent or very good health than those in Germany, France and Portugal
  • 12% of people aged under 24 in the UK reported fair or poor health, a figure much higher than found in Germany, France and Portugal

Across Europe the majority of citizen report that they find it very or fairly easy to access health information but there are significant numbers who struggle. Older people are more likely than younger people to report difficulties in finding health information. But many younger people also struggle.

  • More than one third of older people in France and Germany reported finding health information very or fairly difficult. One in seven over 65s in the UK report it difficult to find health information.
  • Significant numbers of younger people find it very or fairly difficult to find health information. Almost one in four of our survey respondents aged under 24 in France reported it to be very or fairly difficult (compared with 12.6% in Germany, 4.35 in the UK and 9% in Portugal)

The report highlights where individuals go for information about their health across the four countries studied and finds:

  • Across all age ranges and countries, doctors and nurses are a very important source of health information.
  • Individuals were less likely however to go to doctors and nurses for information about staying healthy. The severity of the health condition that determines the extent to which individuals prefer to consult their GP or nurse for advice.

The report finds a strong relationship between trust and usage of health information.  Across all countries and sample members, the usage of and trust in doctors and nurses dominates over all other health service providers.

Across the four countries studied, the report finds however that different age groups look to different sources of health information with younger people for example, more likely than older to trust and use the internet in general and therefore to use it also for this purpose.

  • Among our Portuguese sample, just 6.8% of people aged 65 or older use the internet compared with 91.0%  of those aged 24 or younger. Our UK sample found around 44.5% of people aged 65 or more use the web while 99.1% of those aged 24 or less do. The same pattern was observed in Germany and France

The report finds that there could be an increasingly important health role for pharmacists across Europe:

  • For those aged 65 or more, pharmacists represent the most helpful source for receiving more information from in three of the four countries we feature. In the UK, 33.5% of those aged 65+ (88 out of 263 persons in this age range) want more health-related content from this source; while in Germany and Portugal 30.6% (67 out of 219 people) and 36.7% (76 out of 207 people) do respectively.

Sally-Marie Bamford, Research Director at ILC-UK said “Whilst the majority of us do not find it difficult to access health information, this research highlights that there are millions who struggle. This research highlights that there isn’t a one size fits all solution. Older and younger people trust and use different sources of health information. If we are to have an empowered and healthy older population, improving access to health information is vital. As new ways of communicating become more commonplace we must not forget the diversity of our population. We must work to raise the health literacy of all ages.”

New research reveals:

  • The number of  people over 50 with a serious illness is set to increase
  • The 60-64 age group has the highest percentage of people who are first diagnosed with a serious illness
  • There is a growing proportion of people aged 80+ suffering a serious illness but a declining prevalence among those in their 60s and 70s
  • Evidence of a large increase in the proportion of people aged 80+ having survived a heart attack
  • While the number of people with a serious illness will increase, the proportion may actually fall.
  • 2002 to 2013 saw falls in the proportion of people aged 50+ having heart attacks and strokes. But the decade has also witnessed increases in the proportion of older people with cancer.
  • 6 in 10 over 90s have none of the five major serious illnesses studied.

With demand for NHS services already under pressure, new analysis by the International Longevity Centre – UK (ILC-UK) and supported by Engage Mutual, the over-50s life cover specialists, predicts the NHS may have to support up to one million more older people with serious illnesses within the next ten years.

A new report, “Serious Illness in the Over 50s”, finds an estimated 2.6 million older people or one in eight of those aged 50+ (13.9%) were living with serious illness in England according to the analysis of the latest wave of the English Longitudinal Study on Ageing. ILC-UK predict this will increase to between 2.9 million and 3.4 million by 2025. The researchers forecast that across the UK nearly 3.1 million people were living with serious illness according to the data and that is set to potentially rise to between 3.4 million and 4 million by 2025.

Serious Illness in the Over 50s” has been published today by the International Longevity Centre – UK (ILC-UK), with the support of Engage Mutual – the only over 50s life cover provider to offer serious illness benefit as part of its over 50s life cover plan. The report uses data from the English Longitudinal Study of Ageing (ELSA) and provides the first estimate for the overall prevalence of serious illness among older people in England and the UK.

The research also reveals that whilst the number of older people with a serious illness will increase, improvements in health may actually result in a fall in the proportion of older people suffering one of the five conditions explored. ELSA data suggests that the prevalence of serious illness among those aged 50+ has been slightly decreasing over time, from 15.8% in 2002 to 13.6% in 2012.

ILC-UK explains the trends by:

  • the overall proportion of older people reporting a cardiovascular event (heart attack or stroke) falling between 2002-2012
  • lower proportions of people in each age group from 50-79 experiencing heart attacks in 2012 compared to 2002

However, the report also highlights that the overall prevalence of older people living with cancer shows a notable upward trend from 2002 to 2012.

The research also points to growing numbers and proportions of older people living with a serious illness later in life. The prevalence of serious illness between 2002 to 2012 increased among those aged 80+, while declining dramatically for those in their 60s and 70s. The research also highlights a large increases in the proportion of people aged 80+ having survived a heart attack.

David Sinclair, Director of ILC-UK said “The research shows that even over a short period of time we have successfully reduced serious illness among older people.  But we must not be complacent. Our ageing society is going to put increasing pressure on the NHS over the next ten years. On the one hand, the research paints a picture of a potentially healthier older population aged under 70. A success story perhaps party attributed to effective preventative treatments such as statins. But it also paints a bleak picture of more people in their 90s suffering from serious illness. This research suggests that health interventions have helped us live healthier for longer. And it strengthens the case for continued investment in the prevention of ill health in old age.”

Engage Mutual’s Sales Director, Stuart Tragheim, added “As a customer owned mutual business and the only over 50s life cover provider to include a no charge serious illness option to customers, we wanted to work with ILC-UK to examine the extent of the issue, both now and in the years ahead. These findings underline just how important it is to have protection in place.”

The research, if anything, underestimates the extent of serious illness as individuals living in care homes are not available in the ELSA dataset and some serious illnesses may not be recorded. The research incorporates data on Alzheimer’s disease and other dementia, Parkinson’s disease, cancer, heart attack, and stroke.

A nationwide end-of-life rights outreach service, My Life, My Decision, launches today (Thursday 27th November) in London with Care Minister the Rt Hon Norman Lamb MP, Baroness Greengross OBE and Justice Minister the Rt Hon Simon Hughes MP.

My Life, My Decision will empower older people across the country to make informed decisions about their treatment and care at the end of life by giving them information on their choices and the opportunity to discuss their wishes. Volunteers and healthcare professionals will be trained to support people in how they can plan ahead for the end of life, including by making an Advance Decision setting out their medical treatment wishes, or by appointing a trusted person to make health and welfare decisions for them using Lasting Powers of Attorney. My Life, My Decision is run by Compassion in Dying in partnership with local branches of Age UK.

Minister for Care and Support Norman Lamb said:
“Decisions about end-of-life care can be heart-wrenching for patients and families so I welcome the commitment of Compassion in Dying to support people with these difficult decisions. We want to make sure people nearing the end of their lives get good quality care tailored to their individual needs - earlier this year we launched our priorities for the care of the dying which made clear people should get care that is focused on their needs and preferences.”

Justice and Civil Liberties Minister Simon Hughes said:
"Lasting Powers of Attorney are as important as having a will and everybody should consider making one. Lasting Powers of Attorney give people the peace of mind of knowing that if they ever lose capacity, the important decisions about their life can be taken by someone they have chosen and can trust. Projects like this are crucial in making people aware of the important choices they can make to prepare for the end of life."

Davina Hehir, Director of Legal Strategy, Policy and Services at Compassion in Dying, said:
People want to be in control of their own end-of-life decision making, but this cannot happen without the right information and support. We know that 82% of people have strong preferences on what treatment they would or would not want to receive at the end of life, but only 4% of people have made an Advance Decision or Lasting Power of Attorney to ensure their wishes will be known about and respected. My Life, My Decision will empower people to plan ahead for the end of life to ensure that, as far as possible, they can expect to die well.”

After a successful pilot in East London, the Big Lottery Fund committed a further £1 million so that the outreach service can be rolled out across England. My Life, My Decision has already demonstrated a need for a service which combines information for the public as well as training for professionals on how to support individuals in their end-of-life decision making. It will continue in East London as well as start work in Hillingdon, Lancashire, South Tyneside, South Lakeland, Oxfordshire and Trafford, in partnership with local Age UKs. 

The launch event will be held in partnership with the International Longevity Centre (ILC-UK) and chaired by Baroness Sally Greengross OBE.
Baroness Greengross said:
“Given that death is going to happen to all of us, it is astonishing that it remains such a taboo subject. Now is the time for this to change.  We must talk about dying and better plan for our end of life. Access to advice is vital.”

The launch event will review findings from the East London pilot of My Life, My Decision and the recommendations of the House of Lords Mental Capacity Act 2005 Select Committee, to develop conversations amongst end-of-life care stakeholders, including emphasising the importance of healthcare professionals actively informing individuals about Advance Decisions and supporting their decisions.

Councils must ensure that spending cuts and short term targets do not undermine long-term investment in the prevention of ill health in old age.

‘Public health responses to an ageing society’, published by the International Longevity Centre – UK (ILC-UK), with the support of Sanofi Pasteur MSD, explores the extent to which England’s public health structures are able to respond to our ageing population after the radical reforms introduced by the Health and Social Care Act in 2012.

The think piece argues that some localities are embracing the opportunities provided by their new public health responsibilities, by taking a life-course approach to health and by commissioning services that both encourage healthy ageing and improve the health of the current old.

But the think piece argues that some local authorities still need support to deliver effective policies in an area as complex and fast-changing as public health. It also contends that transferring responsibility to local authorities risks politicising the sector.

ILC-UK expresses fears that localism might deliver a ‘postcode lottery’, where the health services available depend on the agenda of the local government. The think piece also argues that the introduction of a system that pays on results may encourage a culture of short-termism and target-hitting at the expense of our society’s future health.

‘Public health responses to an ageing society’ finds that local authorities may face barriers which prevent them from taking advantage of any benefits created by the Act. The new system encourages greater collaboration between departments; however, some councils report that they are unable to exchange data due to data protection and organisational ‘security’.

Jonathan Scrutton, Senior Policy and Research Officer at ILC-UK, said “There is a huge invest-to-save argument. Early investment in preventing ill health in old age can reduce long-term care costs. Localism has the potential to transform public health and deliver better and more targeted services. But if local authorities are to maximise the long-term benefit of investing in preventative health, they must not get drawn into simply achieving short-term targets.”

The think-piece argues that local authorities know their residents best. They are also well placed to develop innovative health strategies as they can utilise resources from a wide range of different actors, both within local government and beyond it.

ILC-UK argues that to reduce costs and improve the public health of older people today and in the future, they should prioritise 8 areas as part of their local health and wellbeing strategies: smoking cessation, physical activity, nutrition, road safety, housing, loneliness, falls and immunisation.

In the report, ILC-UK argues that:

• Local health strategies should prioritise long-term health initiatives over short-term target hitting. For example, Ageing Well strategies could usefully focus on increasing physical activity earlier in life to ensure people have an active, healthy old age.
• Health and Wellbeing Boards should make use of local authority’s links into communities to maximise the potential of public health impact and to ensure that the voices of older residents are heard, and incorporated into health strategies. 
• The NHS Commissioning Board should monitor healthcare commissioning to support consistency of quality across the country and help reduce differences in healthy life expectancies. 
• Government should ensure that local authorities’ public health budgets continue to meet the needs of local citizens after the 2 year ring fenced period.
• Government should ensure that data protection and organisational security do not discourage information sharing between departments and stunt integrated working.

A growing generation of older men is facing a future of increased isolation. Meanwhile, the number of older men aged 65+ living alone is projected to rise by 65% between now and 2030. That’s according to new research conducted by Independent Age and the International Longevity Centre - UK (ILC-UK), which shows that:

• The number of older men living alone is expected to rise from 911,000 to 1.5 million by 2030.

• Older men are more socially isolated than older women.

• Older men have significantly less contact with their children, family and friends than older women.

• The number of older men outliving their partners is expected to grow.

One year on from Jeremy Hunt’s speech  where he called loneliness among older people “a national shame” – Isolation: The Emerging Crisis for Older Men is a comprehensive new report exploring the experiences of older men who are socially isolated or lonely in England.

The research is based on the latest data from the English Longitudinal Study on Ageing (ELSA), interviews with older men, focus groups and existing research.

In England, in 2012/2013, over 1.2 million men aged over 50 reported a moderate to high degree of social isolation. 710,000 men aged over 50 reported a high degree of loneliness.

In the report, loneliness is defined as a subjective perception in which a person feels lonely. Social isolation broadly refers to the absence of contact with other people.

The new research reveals that older men report significantly less social contact with children, family members and friends than older women. Almost 1 in 4 older men, 23%, have less than monthly contact with their children, and nearly 1 in 3, 31%, have less than monthly contact with other family members. For women the figures are 15% and 20% respectively. Also 1 in 3 older men without a partner are the most isolated, compared to over 1 in 5 women (37% v 23%).

The report looks at the importance of partnerships and examines how older men’s social networks tend to decline after the death of a partner. It calls on men to take steps to prevent isolation and loneliness and recommends action that government, charities and service providers can take to better address the needs of older men.

Janet Morrison, Chief Executive of Independent Age, said:
“It’s alarming to think there are growing numbers of lonely older men who may be facing a future alone and without proper support. This new evidence suggests men and women experience social isolation and loneliness in different ways.

“In general, men rely more heavily on their partner to remain socially connected. When their partner dies, often a man’s social life shrinks.

“Our new research highlights the importance of social contact to older men. Poor physical and mental health is much more likely for the most socially isolated and lonely men. In terms of medical services, the evidence shows that older men are less likely to seek help or ask for support. And it’s already known that men are 30% more likely to die after being recently widowed.

“We would welcome more research into the kinds of services that would attract older men to remain more connected to those around them in later life. Sometimes services such as lunch clubs and coffee mornings while providing a very valuable function, may be designed with the social preferences of women in mind rather than the purposeful activity that men may prefer.  We also want the government to follow up on their promise and develop a new measure to capture the extent of loneliness across the population as a whole.”

Baroness Sally Greengross, Chief Executive of ILC-UK, said:
“Too many older men continue to experience social isolation and loneliness in later life. While we should encourage men to plan better for retirement, we must also accept that many of our services simply don’t work for men.

“Health services and GPs can play an important role in outreach by identifying patients most at risk and providing support in partnership with the voluntary sector. Other statutory bodies should also work with the voluntary sector to develop low-cost innovations to encourage older men to support each other through the creation of clubs and other social programmes.

“Professional bodies should also consider creating post-retirement clubs for their workforce, particularly in male-dominated industries. These could have the potential to keep older men socially connected in post-work life, as well as offering support at certain later life events, such as widowhood, that can impact older men’s exposure to isolation and loneliness.”

ENDS

 

SOS 2020 is a major new programme of work led by ILC-UK which will raise awareness of the need to adapt our economy and society to the big strategic challenges posed by an ageing population.

SOS 2020 will outline the specific policy measures needed to achieve this goal. It will illuminate the issues that face us and develop fully considered and costed solutions that will act as a “call to action” to policy-makers and politicians. Above all SOS 2020 aims to raise national and international awareness of problems and possible solutions in which we all have a vested interest.

In an increasingly interdependent world, there is a need to look beyond national shores for collective consensus and joint solutions. SOS 2020 will give us the opportunity to do this.

ILC-UK launched SOS 2020 in July 2014, with the support of Aviva and EY, where we began two projects:

  • Financial Sustainability - which will focus on how we can deliver sustainable yet adequate retirement incomes
  • Health Sustainability – which will focus on fostering innovation in health and social care systems


Financial Sustainability
The aim of this project is to draw out some credible scenarios about resilience in retirement over the next twenty years in response to the new freedoms at the point of retirement. We envisage creating three credible scenarios, each with clear driving forces which combine to shape the future in different ways. These scenarios will be qualitative and quantitative – utilising compelling stories and narratives alongside robust modelling work in order to demonstrate the impact of the different scenarios on financial resilience. This will enable us to make important recommendations to policy makers and to show the various impacts of making different policy choices.  


Health Sustainability
The aim of this project is to create a bank of robust innovative case studies of sustainable health systems, fully costed, and then apply these to different countries from which we can assess their suitability to drive innovation at the global level. We will identify innovations across four agreed thematic areas, these will include: the prevention agenda, dementia, technology, information analysis, health literacy, integrated care, research and drug development and incorporate the wider financing of health and social care (for example which systems incentivise a sustainable approach, insurance systems and self-care systems). 
By identifying sustainable innovations in health and care from across the world and then trying to apply these in different country settings, we ultimately hope to offer robust and verifiable models that will improve performance (better health outcomes and reduced costs) at a time of growing pressure.

While undertaking these projects ILC-UK will continue to seek support for other strands of work as part of SOS 2020. This programme of work has the potential to be a leading catalyst with an evidence led, solution orientated approach, not only in the fields of health and retirement featured today, but also in Communities, the built environment and transport systems which, collectively, will shape the quality of life for us and our children.

If you would like more information on any aspect of the project please do get in touch:

 

  • Ben Franklin (benfranklin@ilcuk.org.uk) will be leading on Sustainable Retirement Income.
  • Sally-Marie Bamford (sallymariebamford@ilcuk.org.uk) will be leading on Sustainable Healthcare.
  • Jonathan Scrutton (jonathanscrutton@ilcuk.org.uk) will be the overall coordinator for the project.

A Provocation launched today explores potential savings to the state if we were able to intervene successfully on the risk factors that cause dementia- these include physical activity, smoking, obesity and depression.

The International Longevity Centre–UK – the leading think tank on ageing and longevity – with Improving Care have modelled the impact of matching best practice interventions from global case studies on reducing six risk factors for dementia.

We estimate that over a 27 year period (2013-2040) this could prevent nearly 3 million people developing dementia in the UK – and would reduce the costs to the state in the UK by £42.9 billion between now and 2040 (minus any associated costs of intervention).

For example, if we managed to successfully reduce depression by 22.5% by 2040 (best practice intervention) this could prevent 22,000 people developing dementia and save the state £308million. Similarly if we managed to reduce type 2 diabetes by 58% through intensive lifestyle interventions, through weight reduction and exercise, we could potentially prevent 40,000 people developing dementia by 2040 and save the state £560million.

This Provocation links to the key messages of a study published in the Lancet Neurology today that argues one in three cases of dementia could be avoided by changes in lifestyle.

Baroness Greengross, Chief Executive of the ILC-UK and Chair of the Commission, said

“As Chair of the All Party Parliamentary Group on Dementia, and Chief Executive of ILC-UK, I am pleased that we are finally developing a credible evidence base to make the case for prevention and risk reduction for dementia. So few people are aware that there are actually lifestyle decisions you can make which could reduce your risk of dementia, such as stopping smoking, physical activity and a healthy diet.

With no cure for dementia, we need to do everything we can to reduce our lifetime risk of dementia and we need to make sure that people understand that dementia need not be an inevitable part of ageing, we can all help ourselves by looking after our heart health and in turn this should improve our brain health.”

This provocation aims to demonstrate what could be possible if we do try to tackle our lifestyle factors and when it comes to dementia arguably every number of cases which can be prevented must count.

Kieran Brett, one of the authors of the report, said:

“The priority that the Government has given to finding a cure for dementia is to be welcomed. This report today shows that alongside finding a cure, we can also develop a strong, evidence-based prevention strategy which will alleviate suffering and save £42.9 billion pounds by 2040.”

Dr Matt Norton, Head of Policy for Alzheimer’s Research UK, the UK’s leading dementia research charity, said:

“The research evidence on reducing the risk of developing some forms of dementia is growing. The recent Blackfriars Consensus Statement, signed by experts in the field including Alzheimer’s Research UK, has paved the way for dementia risk reduction to form part of our approach to public health. Now is the time to start championing the message that ‘what is good for the heart is good for the brain’ and this analysis from Improving Care and the ILC hints at what could be achieved. The potential impact is great, but we need further research to understand just how far we can go in preventing dementia and to help people take control of their own risk.”

A report launched today presents new data to show not only the predicted growth in the number of people with hearing loss, which is set to account for almost 20% of the total population by 2031 [1], but also highlights a £25 billion loss to the UK economy in potential economic output [2].

The International Longevity Centre–UK – the leading think tank on ageing and longevity – set up an independent Commission [3] to examine why, with the widespread acceptance of an ageing time bomb, hearing loss remains on the sidelines for both the general public and politicians and what the cost will be to our society, if we fail to take action.

Baroness Greengross, Chief Executive of the ILC-UK and Chair of the Commission, said
“Since the 1990s there has been a steady rise in the number of people with hearing loss and this is only set to get worse – if we look into the future, there will be more older people and unfortunately many of them will experience hearing loss.

‘If we consider that while loud rock music and festivals may have contributed to hearing loss among the baby boomers, iPod and other such devices may well pose an even greater danger to the next generation.”

This report builds on the evidence that highlights the profound individual, family and societal consequences of hearing loss. We know hearing loss compounds social isolation and loneliness, particularly for older people and can act as a barrier for socialising with family and friends, employment and other recreational activities.

We also know that unlike sight loss, many people do not ever, or wait far too long, to get their hearing checked. On average, people wait 10 years – that is 10 years of potentially not hearing your loved ones and friends properly, or being able to enjoy your favourite TV programme.

Paul Breckell, Chief Executive of charity Action for Hearing Loss and a Commissioner said:
“For far too long, hearing loss has lost out in the hierarchy of other health conditions, but we can no longer ‘afford’ to ignore the individual, economic and societal cost of hearing loss. One lady who gave evidence at the Commission said “We need to add life to years, not simply years to life”.

‘We also know, with ever increasing financial pressures, some Clinical Commissioning Groups may be tempted to cut back on non–acute NHS services – North Staffordshire CCG is currently consulting on whether to remove free NHS hearing aids to those who have mild to moderate hearing loss. This is completely unacceptable”

The Commission has made a series of recommendations including calling on the Government to publish and deliver on a long awaited Action Plan on Hearing Loss [4].

Notes
1. By 2031, it is expected that there will be 14.1 million people in the UK with hearing loss – accounting for nearly 20% of the total population.
2. We calculate that in 2013, due to lower employment rates for those with hearing loss than across the rest of the population, the UK economy lost £24.8bn in potential economic output. Using the ILC-UK’s economic growth model, we project that, if nothing is done to address lower employment rates for those with hearing loss, in 2031 the UK economy will lose £38.6bn in potential economic output.
3. This is an independent commission, with the ILC-UK providing the governance and secretariat while the Commissioners, drawn from a wide range of different sectors, will drive the agenda and findings.
The Commissioners include: Chair: Baroness Sally Greengross, Paul Breckell: Chief Executive, Action on Hearing Loss, Rosie Cooper MP: Member of Parliament for West Lancashire, William Brassington: President of the British Academy of Audiology, Peter Ormerod: Boots Hearingcare, Elspeth Howe: Baroness Howe of Idlicote.
The Commission has been supported by Boots HearingCare
The International Longevity Centre-UK is the leading think tank on longevity and demographic change. It is an independent, non-partisan think tank dedicated to addressing issues of longevity, ageing and population change. We develop ideas, undertake research and create a forum for debate. http://www.ilcuk.org.uk/
4. Other recommendations include:

  • For the attention of Public Health England: We must focus efforts on earlier detection of hearing loss through the delivery of a nation-wide screening programme.
  • For the attention of Department of Health: We must consider opening up hearing services so that people can self-refer. This will increase accessibility and reduce the likelihood of people falling through the net.
  • For the attention of NHS England, the Department of Health and providers: Timely follow-up and accessible aftercare must become routine in all instances across the UK to ensure appropriate outcomes are met.

Local and national policy-makers are failing to ensure that our communities meet the needs of all ages according to a new report, Community Matters. Making our Communities Ready for Ageing.

Community Matters, published by the International Longevity Centre - UK (ILC-UK), with the support of Age UK, incorporates a 10 point call to action for local authorities to become ready for ageing.

The report argues that policy makers must work to ensure that communities do more than cater for our basic needs. It argues that communities should be places of fun for all. The report highlights the importance of supporting walking and cycling in old age as well as need to ensure housing is adaptable to an ageing society.

New analysis published as part of the report reveals that simply to keep up with anticipated population growth between now and 2037, we will need to build houses at the fastest rate since the 1970s.

The report explores the Government's plan for a new Garden City in Ebbsfleet and highlights ideas to make the new community "age friendly". Ideas include the creation of shared facilities for fun and play, and the introduction of Electric 'pods' to transport people around.

Baroness Sally Greengross, Chief Executive of ILC-UK said "Our homes are not just places to live and our towns and cities should not just provide for our basic needs. We must have a bold and aspirational vision for communities in an ageing society.  Cities and towns must of course, meet our basic needs. Yet they are failing to do so. We are even failing to provide public toilets. But our aspiration for age friendly cities must be much greater than providing toilets.

Communities can reduce loneliness and isolation but we must make sure that services exist and well intentioned "safeguarding" does not prevent all ages from living, working and playing together. And we need community centres rather than "places to hire".

Good communities start with good housing. As well as building more, we need to build better.

Our society is ageing. Our communities could help us age well but they are simply not ready for ageing. We must build a new ambition vision of the community of the future. An older community, but also hopefully a more fun one.”

Caroline Abrahams, Charity Director at Age UK says "Our population is ageing and it is essential that communities start to think now about how best to enable older people to get out and about and access essential services.  The alternative is that as we age we are increasingly stuck at home and cut off from the rest of society limiting our ability to enjoy life, to socialise and stay independent for longer. More toilets and seats will be essential for all of us but we should be more ambitious for later life and start building communities that do more than just work for older people but provide greater opportunities for participation”.

Malcolm Dean, who chaired the expert discussions added: "The last century saw major breakthroughs in dealing with the injuries of biological ageing. This new century needs to apply the same energy and commitment to resolving the injuries of social ageing - isolation, loneliness, and exclusion from too many community activities. The report is packed with simple and inexpensive new approaches to making neighbourhoods more 'age friendly'".

The report incorporates an ideas bank of recommendations in order to ensure that our Communities are "Ready for Ageing including:

  • Making our communities fun (swings at bus stops): Local authorities should support provision of desegregated apparatus for fun in outdoor spaces that includes people of all ages
  • Build more homes and ensure they are accessible and adaptable: The Lifetime Homes Standard should be made mandatory and Government should introduce a tax incentivised voucher scheme for housing adaptations.
  • Let us know about our housing options (a "last time movers" guide): Estate agents should be trained to better understand the potential needs of the older consumer and could better promote the Lifetime Homes Standard.
  • Get us walking: Replace the older people crossing road sign with a sign with more positive imagery promoting walking as part of later life. Develop budding services to encourage people to walk to town and services. Maintain pavements.
  • Get us on our bikes: Increasing numbers of cyclists across the life-course should be prioritised as a public health, environmental and social goal by Health and Wellbeing Boards and Local Authorities.
  • Ensure access to green space: Recognise the health benefits of access to green space, and placing some spending on green space under the umbrella of health.
  • Tackle loneliness and isolation: Community centres should protect time for local group activities to maintain the space as community resource (as opposed to a hall for hire). Safeguarding systems should not unnecessarily 'kill kindness' by stopping young and old working, living and playing together.


ILC-UK are currently planning our activities at the 2014 Political Party Conferences. We hope to run a series of events on topics as diverse as pensions, health, employment, care and communities as part of the main party conference fringe programme. If you are interested in talking to us about sponsoring a fringe event, please do get in touch with David Sinclair or Jessica Watson (jessicawatson@ilcuk.org.uk / davidsinclair@ilcuk.org.uk / 0207 340 0440).

We are also planning our 2014-2015 events programme. We organise 30+ events a year, from small discussion events, through to larger conferences. Our events always “sell out”, and often, very quickly. If you are interested in talking to us about sponsoring an event, please get in touch with David Sinclair or Lyndsey Mitchell at ILC-UK (events@ilcuk.org.uk / 0207 340 0440).

The International Longevity Centre-UK is the leading think tank on longevity and demographic change. It is an independent, non-partisan think tank dedicated to addressing issues of longevity, ageing and population change.


The ILC-UK has launched a Commission seeking to address the significant and growing problem of hearing loss in the UK. Six million people in the UK experience hearing loss at a level where they would benefit from wearing a hearing aid and this is set to increase to 10 million by 2037.

This is an independent commission, with the ILC-UK providing the governance and secretariat while the Commissioners, drawn from a wide range of different sectors, will drive the agenda and findings.

As part of this high level Commission, we are seeking written evidence from a range of experts on two key aspects of the debate:


How can we ensure that hearing loss is detected early? Many individuals live for years without either realising that they have hearing loss or because they do not seek support. We welcome submissions around the following questions:

  • How can we de-stigmatise hearing loss?
  • Whether and to what extent it is possible to improve the referral process?
  • Are there alternative models to support early detection?
  • How can technology improve early detection?


How can we deliver better solutions to reduce the adverse impacts of hearing loss? Early detection is only one part of the jigsaw, we must also propose solutions to reduce the wide-ranging effects of hearing loss. We welcome submissions on the following questions:

  • How do we ensure wider take-up of hearing aids?
  • What forms of service delivery models are needed to meet the needs of a growing hearing impaired population?
  • How do we remove barriers to employment for the hearing impaired?
  • How do we improve health and social care for those suffering with hearing loss?
  • How do we raise public awareness about, and sensitivity to, hearing loss?


The final report is intended for a policy and public audience, so written submissions should be accessible but at the same time, informative, thought provoking, ideally challenging while offering solutions/recommendations. The written submissions will form a key part of the evidence base for a final report to be published in July. To submit written evidence please email: benfranklin@ilcuk.org.uk. Please note there is a final deadline of any submissions of 13th June.

We are also holding two high level evidence sessions in the House of Lords on the above subjects on the afternoon of Thursday 5th June, House of Lords (early detection) and the afternoon of Tuesday 17th June, 15:30 – 17:30, House of Lords (solutions). If you would like to attend please contact Ben Franklin for further details. Please note that places are restricted.


Please note:
Authors are requested to provide a very short biography of themselves/organisations of no more than four lines to sit alongside their submission. Due to time constraints, we will only be making minor amendments/proofing so all submissions need to be of a publishable standard, ILC-UK reserves the right not to publish if material is deemed inappropriate. All authors and their organisation will be credited in the final report and any associated publicity and promotional material linked to the response. This project has been kindly made possible by Boots Hearingcare.

The Commission on Hearing Loss: Background Briefing Note

Report urges greater role for pharmacy in adult immunisation; the introduction of adult vaccination record card; and a review of whether the approach to vaccination of social care workers is adequate.

A new report, Immune Response, by the leading think tank on longevity and demographic change, the International Longevity Centre – UK (ILC-UK), sets out proposals for the UK to become a world leader in terms of the vaccination of older people.

Immune Response argues that whilst prevention is better than a cure, vaccination remains an underused public health strategy for adults in the UK and across Europe. According to the WHO, immunisation prevents between 2-3 million deaths a year across all age groups.

ILC-UK argue that the growth of antibiotic resistance, the challenges of immunosenescence and the context of migration mean that we need to put greater focus on improving adult vaccination in the UK.

The report highlights new evidence, published by SAATI last week in Brussels, which found cost effectiveness evidence for vaccination of older people in relation to herpes zoster, influenza, Invasive pneumococcal disease and pneumonia. The SAATI report presented a framework to evaluate investments in health from a government perspective that revealed that every €1 invested in adult vaccination commencing at the age of 50 years would yield €4.02 of future economic revenue for government over the lifetime of the cohort (Netherlands case study).

The SAATI report also highlighted the ongoing impact of vaccine preventable diseases on health in the UK.

  • Seasonal influenza: The UK reported a 2010-11 winter period more severe in terms of pressure on hospitals than during the 2009-10 pandemic winter. In 2012-13, excess death rates were the highest since 2008-09, with peaks coinciding with influenza circulation (Public Health England).
  • Pneumonia: UK and Slovakia have the highest reported mortality rates in Europe (25 per 100 000 population cases in 2005 and 2009).
  • Invasive pneumococcal disease: In 2005, the UK, as well as Belgium, Ireland and Sweden, reported rates of confirmed cases which approach or are greater than 10 per 100 000.

Among the thirty plus recommendations set out in Immune Response, ILC-UK call for:

  • The piloting of a voucher scheme for those eligible for the seasonal flu vaccine. These vouchers could be used not just in GP surgeries but also in registered high street pharmacies.
  • Public Health England and the Department of Health should review whether the current approach to the vaccination of social care workforce in England is appropriate.
  • The QOF to include an annual check on the immunisation status of all GP registered patients.
  • Healthcare professionals undertaking health check-ups of older people to check whether their patients are up to date with their vaccines.

ILC-UK set out a number of proposals to support the creation of a better informed and engaged health consumer. They propose:

  • The introduction of an adult vaccination record card which could be carried throughout a lifetime.
  • A simplified adult vaccination checklist for the over 18s.
  • Encouraging people to incorporate a record of their immunisation history to be carried with their passport.
  • GPs to be permitted to privately prescribe approved vaccinations (in addition to travel vaccines) to adults on their books.

ILC-UK also call upon the Prime Minister’s Behavioural insight Unit (“Nudge Unit”) to explore the potential to use behavioural economics to improve take-up of vaccinations amongst adults. ILC-UK propose the team consider: 

  • The use of ‘declination forms’ by health services and employers could encourage employees to think twice about turning down vaccination.
  • How to play on the strong sense of civic duty which might encourage vaccination to protect others, particularly if advised to do so by their physicians.
  • Creating a social norm of adult vaccination (beyond flu) through an investment in communications.
  • How to make vaccination an “easy” default choice?

Baroness Sally Greengross, Chief Executive of ILC-UK said:
"Innovations in public health over the past two hundred years have transformed life expectancy in the UK and we are living longer than ever before. Over recent decades, policymakers have begun to use vaccination to support good health later in life.

"So we start from a very positive place. But now is not the time to get complacent.  The growth of antibiotic resistance, the challenges of immunosenescence and the context of migration mean that we need to put greater focus on improving uptake of adult vaccinations in the UK."

David Sinclair, Assistant Director, Policy and Communications at ILC-UK added:
“The UK takes a world leading approach to childhood immunisation. With an ageing society we must focus more on prevention of ill health and the vaccination of older people has to play an important role. We must improve the levels of vaccination amongst NHS staff whilst also ensuring that employees from the independent social care sector access the vaccinations they need. We must also make vaccination more accessible. An enhanced role for pharmacies could help achieve this. We need an informed consumer who knows what vaccinations they need across their life. An adult vaccination record card for all is vital."

Dr Peter Carter, Chief Executive & General Secretary of the RCN said:
“Nurses are ideally placed to lead the move towards improved adult vaccination in the UK, and checking that patients are up to date with their vaccinations should be part of all routine health check ups.

“Nursing staff are often the first or only point of contact people have with the health service, which means they have the opportunity to talk with patients about all aspects of their health, and encourage a healthier lifestyle. This should also include checking patients are up to date with routine immunisations, which is fundamental to public health.”

Professor David Taylor, Professor of Pharmaceutical and Public Health Policy, The UCL School of Pharmacy:
"Extending access to vaccination amongst older people has a significant potential for improving public health in the UK and Europe more broadly. The International Longevity Centre’s new report highlights the fact that although the UK’s record is already relatively good we could do more to optimise immunisation rates throughout our life courses. Greater community pharmacy involvement in the delivery of seasonal influenza vaccination for older people could generate increased health gains. So could enhanced protection against shingles in older people and better use of vaccines to guard against the long term consequences of conditions such as hepatitis, meningitis and HPV infection in younger men and women."


Notes
The new ILC-UK Report, Immune Response, will be available at www.ilcuk.org.uk  on Tuesday 19th November.

Immune Response has been funded through an unrestricted educational grant from Pfizer International Operations.

Immune Response is being launched at an event hosted by the 19th November 2013, 10:00 (10.30) - 12.30 (followed by a light lunch), Royal College of Nursing, 20 Cavendish Square, London, W1G 0RN

The SAATI report, Adult vaccination: a key component of healthy ageing, was published on 13th November at http://www.saati-partners.eu/

ILC-UK are a founding and leading member of SAATI SAATI (Supporting Active Ageing Through Immunisation) is a voluntary pan-European partnership of individuals who have an interest in improving the health of citizens as they grow older, and reducing the incidence of illness through effective immunisation. The partners include representatives from different perspectives, including clinicians, health promotion experts, advocacy groups, nurses, industry, think tanks and healthy ageing specialists. The group has come together with a commitment to tackle low public awareness of the risk and burden of vaccine-preventable diseases.

SAATI aims to: Increase public and policy maker awareness of the need for adult vaccinations to combat vaccine-preventable diseases, such as flu, pneumonia, herpes zoster, invasive pneumococcal disease, pertussis, diphtheria and tetanus

The SAATI partnership produced a consensus statement as a result of a European stakeholder meeting on the “Value of and Barriers to Adult Vaccination” organised and funded by Pfizer. The SAATI Consensus Statement is available at:
http://www.ilcuk.org.uk/images/uploads/SAATI_Consensus_Statement_1.pdf

In November 2013, SAATI published Adult vaccination: a key component of healthy ageing. Benefits of life-course immunisation in Europe. The report is available on the ILC-UK website at www.ilcuk.org.uk

SAATI Partnership report shows gaps in current prevention policies for adults and highlights the importance of vaccination throughout life

Members of the European Parliament (MEPs) along with the Supporting Active Ageing Through Immunisation (SAATI) Partnership today issued a call to establish a European Health and Vaccination Platform to encourage a life-course approach to immunisation to reduce the burden of infectious diseases. The announcement was made during an event at the European Parliament, hosted by MEPs Rebecca Taylor (Group of the
Alliance of Liberals and Democrats for Europe, United Kingdom) and Petru Luhan (Group of the European People’s Party, Romania). The report presented at this event is based on research commissioned by the SAATI partners, including a fiscal case study from the
Netherlands which suggests that every €1 invested in adult vaccination (from age 50) would yield €4.02.

The call is supported by a new report commissioned by the SAATI Partnership, a coalition of healthcare professionals, academics and patient advocates, which highlights the health and economic benefits, of including adult immunisation in healthy and active ageing and other public health policies. In the context of immunisation across the life-course, the report shows that current policies in EU Member States are patchy, and that adult vaccination remains an underused yet cost-effective measure in the promotion of healthy ageing.

“With an ageing society, healthcare systems must do better at preventing and promoting good health. The role of adult immunisation in this respect is not currently sufficiently recognised.” Luhan said.

“As policymakers, we must develop and implement policies that benefit as many people as possible. The findings from the SAATI study demonstrate the need to re-think our approach to immunisation and implement more comprehensive strategies than is the case at present.” Taylor said.

The SAATI report looks at the state of adult immunisation in 27 European countries, consolidating existing research on seven vaccine-preventable diseases – seasonal influenza, pneumonia, invasive pneumococcal disease, pertussis, diphtheria, herpes zoster, and tetanus – and providing a unique snapshot of the adult vaccination policy landscape for each country.

“Both policymakers and the public must be made aware that investing in life-course immunisation is a smart option on both a personal and a societal level,” said Professor Javier Garau, Chair of the SAATI partnership. “Used as a prevention strategy, immunisation can tackle the high burden of infectious diseases facing society and healthcare systems globally, and enable people to stay healthy longer. Preventing infectious diseases can not only save lives, but will also have a significant economic impact, including reducing healthcare costs and related disability.”

More information on the SAATI EU Report Card is available here.

For more information:
Vaccines Europe is a specialised industry group within the European Federation of Industries and Associations (EFPIA). Formed in 1991, Vaccines Europe represents innovative research-based vaccine companies operating in Europe. More information on Vaccines Europe is available here.

The SAATI Partnership was set up by stakeholders committed to tackling low public awareness of the risk and burden of vaccine-preventable diseases in older adults in Europe and comprises patients’ and professionals’ associations, clinicians, think tanks, healthy ageing specialists and experts. More information on the partnership is available here.

The report commissioned by SAATI was supported by Pfizer, The launch of the report was done in partnership with Vaccines Europe.

If you wish to receive the full study or if you have any questions, please contact:

Bruno Fierens
Consultant to Vaccines Europe
bruno.fierens@bm.com or +32 494 615 789.

Extend the ‘flu jab to the over 50s to support healthy ageing, argues leading think tank

The International Longevity Centre- UK (ILC-UK) has today urged the Government to take a new life course approach to adult immunisation in the UK starting with extending the ‘flu jab to all over 50s.

In a new report, ILC-UK argues that whilst our approach to childhood immunisation is world leading, we are undermining the potential for healthy ageing by paying insufficient attention to adults in our immunisation strategies.

ILC-UK argues a life course approach to immunisation, which adequately considers the need and potential benefit of adult immunisation, could contribute to better health outcomes for older people.

The report, which was prompted by the vaccine supply and demand issues during the 2010/11 ‘flu season, argues that the Government should make an explicit commitment to a life course vaccination including the introduction of age-group recommendations alongside traditional “risk group” recommendations. ILC-UK argues that the wider public sees immunisation primarily as a childhood phenomenon, which may partially explain less than optimal take-up for some adult vaccinations.

ILC-UK state that media coverage of the mismatch between supply and demand created a wider, and often inaccurate, sense of a problem – for example by creating a disproportionate level of concern about risk to children under 5 years old. The ILC-UK report notes that contrary to the impression given by the media, deaths were three times higher in the 45-64 age group than in the under 5 age group, and those with a risk factor for ‘flu were 20 times more likely to die than the general population.

The report urges the Westminster Government to learn from the best; take-up of the ‘flu jab is consistently higher in Scotland than in England, for example 66% of pregnant women were vaccinated against ‘flu as compared to only 37% in England.

ILC-UK argues that the Westminster Government should:

  • Explicitly promote the concept of life course vaccination;
  • Use age group as well as risk group based recommendations, starting with extending access to NHS funded influenza vaccination to all over 50s.
  • Introduce a vaccination record card (paper and/or electronic) which could be carried throughout a lifetime, and which could be linked to employer schemes encouraging vaccination.
  • Widen access to vaccination through increasing the range of vaccination settings – in particular the potential of a greater role for community pharmacies,
  • Trial workplace vaccination schemes for the over 50s.

Rebecca Taylor, Senior Researcher at ILC-UK said:

“There is plenty of scope to improve adult immunisation and doing so has the potential to contribute to healthy ageing including helping older workers to stay fit for longer”

David Sinclair, Head of Policy and Research added:

“While policy makers and immunisation experts consider that immunisation is life course, the general public does not; seeing vaccination as ‘for children’. An improved and invigorated strategy for adult immunisation with an explicit commitment to life course vaccination could help change attitudes and behaviours. Efforts must also be made to learn from the best. Rates of flu vaccination are better in some parts of the country than others, and some GP practices achieve vaccination rates at close to 100%.”

Notes for the Editor:

1. For a copy of the report on adult immunisation or any questions, please contact Rebecca Taylor on rebeccataylor@ilcuk.org.uk or 020 7340 0440/07791 361 960.

2. The International Longevity Centre – UK is an independent, non-partisan think-tank dedicated to addressing issues of longevity, ageing and demographic change. We develop ideas, undertake research and create a forum for action and debate.

ILC-UK's Rebecca Taylor has written a background paper for the OECD on policy reforms to support active and healthy ageing.

All OECD countries are experiencing unprecedented demographic change characterised by increasing longevity, a growing older population and falling birth rates. While significant differences remain between different OECD countries, the long term trends are similar and convergence looks likely to occur in the coming decadees. These demographic changes are leading to a lower old age dependency ratio (the ratio of working age to non-working age people), which presents challenges for the social solidarity and long-term sustainability of health, social care and pensions systems.

The paper outlines two philosophically different ways of approaching the challenge of demographic change. The first, which the paper calls the "zero sum approach" is to see it as a problem that requires today's working people to pay more and those drawing on social security systems to receive reduced benefits and to rely more on themselves. This approach risk intergenerational conflict as "productive" working people are asked to pay more to support the healthcare, social care and pensions of non-working people who may be perceived as having had an easier life.

The second way of looking at the problem is to take a life course approach. The life course approach sees demographic change as a challenge and an opportunity. Different generations do not compete for resources and all can play constructive albeit different roles in society. The life course approach believes that policy reform should be innovative and seek to support active and healthy ageing rather than simply increase contributions and cut benefits.

The paper looks at a number of innovative policy reforms in different OECD countries including health checks for the over 40s in the UK, Japan's long term care insurance system and the use of mobile phone technology to support older people or people with chronic diseases.

The report can be downloaded by following the link below:

http://www.oecd.org/dataoecd/42/29/48148890.pdf

Follow our event in London live online today

Go to http://ilc-uk.coverpage.coveritlive.com for live text and audio updates from the ILC-UK and Actuarial Profession Joint Debate: 'Future Economic, Health & Social Care Costs of Dementia' at the The Actuarial Profession as it unfolds.

Follow the debate in real time, hear key information and insights from the speakers, and add your thoughts and comments to the event through the comment box or using twitter and the hashtag #DementiaCosts.

This page will be covering live from 4pm on Tuesday 1 March, and will be available both during and after the event to read and engage with.

 

The ILC-UK has today published a discussion paper, 'The Future of Health', which argues that the Government must begin to explore the long term options for paying for health.

The Future of Health argues that we will see greater demands on health in the context of an ageing society, greater expectations, a better informed health consumer, and new drugs and health technologies. The discussion paper warns that even real increases in health spending may not meet growing levels of demand.

Ahead of the presentation of The Future of Health at the 6th World Ageing & Generations Congress, Baroness Greengross, Chief Executive of ILC-UK said

“While the Health Service struggles to meet our needs today, it certainly won't do so in the future unless we fundamentally question how we pay for it. Whilst politicians have been wary of debating the sacred cow of a centralised funded NHS, they have a responsibility to think to the long term. We must start a debate how the Health Service should be funded in the long run. If taxation won't bring in enough to spend on health, we have to look seriously at other sources of funding including, for example co-payments for those who can afford it.

Download a copy of 'Future of Health' here

 

A report by Professor Les Mayhew, of the Cass Business School, and presented to a joint meeting of the Actuarial Profession and the International Longevity Centre UK, argues that despite an acceptance that increasing life expectancy will mean people working longer, inequality and poor health will have a serious and detrimental effect on people’s ability to work.

The report, Increasing longevity and the economic value of healthy ageing and working longer, finds that those with the longest working life expectancy at age 50 have a higher standard of education, are home owners, married or co-habiting and in reasonable health. By contrast, reasons for economic inactivity in the same age range included poor health and caring responsibilities, eg staying at home to look after older relatives or sick partners.

Professor Mayhew said: “It is all very well to argue that increasing longevity means people will have to work longer, but if a significant proportion of those people are unable to work for reasons of ill health, it will do little to alleviate the problems we face. If healthy life expectancy does not increase concomitantly with life expectancy then there is a very real danger that healthy people of working age could become a scarce commodity.”

He continued: “We need, therefore, to ensure that people stay healthy longer and it is important to investigate strategies to achieve this. Tackling societal inequality, long associated with poor health, is certainly an option as are campaigns to improve public health. But this does not necessarily mean increased NHS spending. A complete cessation of smoking, for example, would yield a considerably increase in healthy life expectancy and economic benefits than a 50% increase in health care spending.”

He concluded: “One of the UK’s great achievements is that people are increasingly living longer. The downside of this that the total support ratio of workers to the numbers of young and old people is in decline. If ill-health presents a barrier to the extension of working life, it will also prevent a barrier to the economic benefits this extension would provide.”

The event on 17th February took place at the Royal College of Physicians in Edinburgh and was sponsored by Prudential.

 

The article: "Obesity in the UK: A review and comparative analysis of policies within the devolved administrations" is by Primrose Musingarimi, Senior Researcher at the ILC-UK.

The research for this article was made possible by the support of Pfizer. The article can be downloaded: http://www.elsevier.com/wps/find/journaldescription.cws_home/505962/description#description.
 

 

ImpleMENTIS has been developed by Bristol-Myers Squibb, Otsuka Pharmaceutical Co. Ltd. and the International Longevity Centre-UK working together with EUFAMI, the European Federation of Associations of Families of Persons with Mental Illness. It is designed to be an accessible online resource designed to help service users, carers, and advocacy groups review existing mental health policies and services and lobby for change.

Mental ill-health accounts for nearly one-quarter of the total burden of ill health in Europe, and is second only to cardiovascular diseases in its toll on morbidity. Yet despite this staggering economic and societal cost, services often remain under funded, outdated, and stigmatized, particularly for people with severe mental illness.

"Traditionally, governments have placed very little priority in investing for better mental health services" commented John Bowis, UK Member of the European Parliament. "Better policies and provision of services are urgently needed to ensure that people with severe mental illness are adequately provided and cared for. For example, countries in the European Region spend around 6% of health budgets on mental health on average, while mental ill-health represents 20% of the burden of disease. This discrimination is wholly unjustified."

www.ImpleMENTIS.eu contains useful data to support the development of materials to be used with the media and elected representatives, and provides suggestions as to how to target your mental health advocacy campaign and who to involve.

”Very often, advocacy groups for better mental health services and services users are isolated, stigmatized and ignored,” commented Ed Harding, joint website author. “ImpleMENTIS is designed to provide them with the solid facts: that modern treatments for mental illnesses are available and effective. There can be no excuse for inadequate mental health services in 21st Century Europe.”

ImpleMENTIS is coordinated by the International Longevity Centre UK, together with the European Federation of Associations of Families of Persons with Mental Illness, (EUFAMI), which works for the improvement in care and welfare for all people affected by mental illness. Currently the membership of EUFAMI is made up of 48 national and regional family organisations form 28 countries. For more information, visit www.eufami.org

The website will be translated into 11 different languages, with Hungarian, Polish, Italian and Portuguese available by early 2008.

Published to coincide with World Hepatitis Day, the report - "European orientation towards the better management of hepatitis B in Europe" - was launched in Brussels at the European Parliament. This document was coordinated by Dr. Thomas Ulmer MEP with the support of the Hepatitis expert group, which consists of leading scientists and other stakeholders in the field of Hepatitis B from across Europe and beyond. Suzanne Wait, former Director of Research at the ILC-UK acted as rapporteur for the expert report.

The Orientation policy document provides a set of recommendations to tackle the spread of the disease which leads to over 1 million Europeans becoming newly infected every year and 14 million people infected with the chronic form of the disease within the wider Europe Region. The Orientation policy document calls on the EU and Member States to adopt a holistic European Strategy to improve the prevention and management of hepatitis B and the "quality of life" of those infected with this virus.

Dr. Thomas Ulmer, a medical doctor himself who has been instrumental in profiling hepatitis B among EU policy makers, commented: "I am very proud to have worked with the greatest experts on hepatitis B to develop these European policy recommendations. Furthermore, I am grateful for the support highlighted by the German Federal Minister for Health, Mrs. Ulla Schmidt."

The Department of Health's "Change Agent Team" has published a report by the ILC-UK on how key data on the household characteristics of older people can inform and underpin local planning strategies and documents such as Housing Strategies for Older People.

The report, which was authored by Ed Harding, Senior Researcher at the ILC-UK, follows a collaboration with Essex County Council.

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Two complementary research reports published today by ILC-UK have both found that physical and mental illness at younger ages can have a significant impact on employment trajectories in later life.

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