NEWS:

Research conducted by the International Longevity Centre (ILC-UK) has suggested that only 11 constituencies would have had different results in the 2015 General Election, had turnout rates of those between 18-34 matched that of the population over 65.

ILC-UK will present the research at a debate on the topic of “if young people ruled the world”, on Monday 22nd May (Voter Registration Deadline day).

Young people between 18-24 report “lower levels of knowledge about politics” and are “less likely” to participate in political activities than other age groups [1]. In the 2015 General election 78% of those over 65 turned out to vote, while only 43% of those between 18-24 and 54% between 25-34 turned out to vote.

Using data from Ipsos MORI and the ONS, it was found that 9 Conservative and 2 Liberal Democrat constituencies (including the seat of Nick Clegg, former deputy Prime Minister) would have swung to Labour, had the voting turnout of those between 18-34 matched that of the over-65’s and if these new voters reflected the national trend.



Source: Ipsos MORI – How Britain Voted in 2015

There are several reasons why the youth vote has such little influence:

  • Voters over 55 outnumber younger voters in 445 of the 573 constituencies in England and Wales.
  • Of these, 118 constituencies have over twice as many voters over 55 than younger voters.
  • Older voters were more homogenous in their voting preference in the 2015 election, with 47% voting Conservative, a 24-point lead over labour.
  • In contrast, Labour had a 16-point lead over the Conservatives amongst 18-24 year olds, but only a 6-point lead amongst 25-34 year olds.

The 9 Conservative seats which would have swung to Labour are: Plymouth, Sutton and Devonport, Derby North, Croydon Central, Gower, Brighton, Kemptown, Thurrock, Vale of Clwyd, Morley and Outwood, and Bury North.

The 2 Liberal Democrat seats which would have swung to Labour are: Leeds North West and Sheffield, Hallam.

According to ONS population projections, the number of younger people in the UK, below 30 is expected to decrease by 2050. In contrast, the number of over-65’s is expected to rise by almost 70%. This will likely consolidate the political power of older people further.

Attempting to get young people to vote through the promise of more influence is likely to be unhelpful in terms of long-term engagement, which is the key issue.

While voting is incredibly important, it is important for young people to engage in politics, to make their case for policies among the wider and older electorate. ILC-UK is calling for automatic registration, so that all eligible UK citizens, regardless of age or any other factor can be guaranteed a vote.

Dean Hochlaf, Assistant Economist at the ILC-UK says:

“Democracy isn’t something that stops when you leave the voting booth, it has enormous influence over our everyday lives. While attempts to get young people to vote are encouraging, we need to do more to stimulate active engagement in politics. An ageing society is going to put more pressure on government resources and voters will be taking this into consideration when they cast their ballots.

The challenge for young people is how do they take their case to the rest of the electorate for policies that are going to benefit their generation and build a more inclusive society. This might not be the easiest task, but it will be impossible if young people continue to be left out of the political debate”.

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.

An ILC-UK Partners Programme Debate: If young people ruled the world?... Maximising the voice of younger people in an ageing society.

Wednesday, 22nd May 2017; 08:30 (for 09:00) - 11:00, Great Hall, Chartered Insurance Institute, 20 Aldermanbury, London EC2V 7HY, Chair by Baroness Sally Greengross OBE Register here: http://www.ilcuk.org.uk/index.php/events/an_ilc_uk_partners_programme_debate_if_young_people_ruled_the_world..._maxi
 
________________________________________
[1] Apostolova. V, Uberoi. E, and Johnston, N. (2017) “Political disengagement in the UK: who is disengaged?” House of Commons Library, Briefing Paper, Number CBP7501, 26 April
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Since our August update, we have launched four new reports, including an analysis of future care sector workforce shortages in the context of Brexit, and a review of financial capability interventions and older people in retirement.

We have also opened bookings for a December event on new approaches to means-testing and funding adult social care, and limited spaces are still available for the 2016 Future of Ageing Conference.

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's Future of Ageing Conference less than one month away

George Sinclair, age 9, explains the urgent need to address the challenges posed by our rapidly ageing society

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

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
  • Dwayne Johnson, Director of Social Care and Health at Sefton Metropolitan Borough Council
  • 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

For more information and to register to attend, click on the below link
ILC-UK 2016 Future of Ageing Conference

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

Further support has kindly been received from Action on Hearing Loss, lip reading practice and Drink Wise, Age Well.

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.

 

Support the work of the International Longevity Centre - UK

As an independent charity with no core funding, the ILC-UK relies upon the support of our Partners Programme and individual research commissions to operate.

If you would like to support our work producing research and policy analysis and hosting around 50 free-to-attend events a year, you can now donate to the ILC-UK via the secure BT My Donate portal below.

Any support you can provide would be greatly appreciated, and will allow us to continue to address the greatest challenges facing Government and society in the context of our rapidly ageing society and demographic change.

Please click here to donate to the ILC-UK

 

ILC-UK Publications

Brexit and the future of the migrant social care workforce
In this follow up to ILC-UK's 2015 report ‘Moved to Care’, ILC-UK and Independent Age update the analysis of the future workforce shortages in adult social care in England to take account of the EU referendum result of the 23rd June.

Still not ready for ageing
The Ready for Ageing Alliance assess the Government's response to our rapidly ageing society and finds the UK is still not ready.Far from seeing sustained progress over the past few years, society is seemingly going into “reverse gear” in some respects.

What works? A review of the evidence on financial capability interventions and older people in retirement
Commissioned by the Money Advice Service and the UK Financial Capability Strategy, this report carried out an extensive scoping review to establish which financial education programmes designed to improve financial capability amongst older people are effective.

Pension coverage and pension freedoms: Lessons from Hong Kong
This think-piece looks to Hong Kong,  whose pension infrastructure is similar to the one emerging in the UK to examine the potential impact of the UK's recent pension reforms.

 

ILC-UK Events

Costing care: New approaches to means-testing and funding adult social care

Wednesday 14th December; 16:00 (for a 16:30 start) - 18:30 (followed by a short drinks reception)
Staple Inn Hall, Institute and Faculty of Actuaries, High Holborn, London WC1V 7QJ

This ILC-UK, IFoA and Cass Business School joint event will launch a new paper which reviews the present and proposed formula for means-testing adult social care in England.

Chaired by Baroness Sally Greengross OBE, Chief Executive of the ILC-UK, the launch will include a keynote presentation from report author, Professor Les Mayhew, Professor of Statistics, Faculty of Actuarial Science and Insurance, Cass Business School, and a response from an expert panel of actuaries and related professionals.

Limited spaces are still available for this event.
Please click here to register for this event

 

ILC-UK Blogs

Since our August update, we have published analysis on how best to support tomorrow's workforce; addressing the persistence of poverty across Europe; the dilemma faced by central banks, and guest blogs from a variety of expert contributors.

Blogs written by ILC-UK researchers include 'Are immigrants driving down wages in the adult social care sector?', 'Coming soon to a welfare state near you? A universal basic income', and 'Creeping protectionism and population ageing: a lethal combination'. ILC-UK economists Ben Franklin and Dean Hochlaf have also published an ILC-UK Economic Insight report into the challenges facing central banks in the context of the economic 'new normal'.

Our guest blogs have included articles from Audley Chief Executive Nick Sanderson on 'Downsizing and the housing black hole', and from Claire Turner, Interim Director of Evidence at the Centre for Ageing Better on 'Ageing: the things we don't talk about'.

We have also published three guest blogs as part of our 'Future of Ageing' series: researchers from the Centre for Health Economics and Medicines Evaluation have published on 'Developing and evaluating sustainable services in an ageing society'; Clare Bambra, Professor of Public Health Geography at Durham University has written on how 'Where you live can kill you', and Dr Marianne Coleman, Emeritus Reader in Educational Leadership as written on 'The future challenges and opportunities of health and care in an ageing society'.

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 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.

 

The Centre for Ageing Better has commissioned International Longevity Centre – UK (ILC-UK), along with Newcastle University's Institute for Ageing to conduct a review into inequalities in how people experience later life. The findings will help Ageing Better to ensure its work supports those who are most at risk of missing out on a good later life.

Inequalities in life expectancy, health, psychosocial wellbeing, social connections, financial stability and living environment all vary between different groups and in general increase for the most vulnerable in society.

Ageing Better is dedicated to ensuring that its work has both broad impact but also focusses on those most at risk of missing out on a good later life. The ILC-UK and Newcastle University's Institute for Ageing will therefore scope the evidence on the scale, nature and influences of inequalities in later life. The vital piece of foundational research will help to underpin the design of Ageing Better’s work, enabling better insights into the areas where inequalities are greatest, and also an understanding of what is known about the most promising opportunities to intervene to narrow these disparities.

The causes of inequalities in later life are complex, inter-related, and challenging to eliminate. Current research into the scale, nature and influences of these inequalities is wide-ranging, but is of varied quality and quantity, with few areas studied to the same depth as health and income. ILC-UK will therefore provide a robust review of the available research and data and will draw conclusions about its quality and strength. The submission of the final review will be during February 2017.

ILC-UK and Newcastle University's Institute for Ageing were appointed after responding to the Invitation to Tender issued by Ageing Better in March.

Rachael Docking, Senior Evidence Manager, the Centre for Ageing Better said:

“All our work is rooted in evidence on what matters to people as they prepare for and experience later life. This major review will help us support those who are most at risk of missing out on a good later life. We would like to thank everyone who responded to the Invitation to Tender, and we look forward to working with Newcastle University and ILC-UK.”

Centre for Ageing Better’s Later Life in 2015 study highlighted that there is a wide variation in how people experience later life. Find out more about the different groups of people aged 50 and over here.

The social stigma which surrounds dementia is impeding early diagnosis, care and research into the disease, according to a new report by thr ILC-UK

The report, New perspectives and approaches to understanding dementia and stigma, published by the think tank International Longevity Centre UK (ILC-UK) in collaboration with the MRC, Alzheimer’s Research UK, Alzheimer’s Society and supported by the drug company Pfizer, shines a light on the impact the fear around dementia has on those living with the condition, their families and carers, which prevents the research community capturing a full picture of the disease.

According to data in the report, people over the age of 55 fear being diagnosed with dementia more than any other condition and at least 1 in 4 people hide their diagnosis, citing stigma as the reason.

Professor Hugh Perry, Chair of the MRC’s Neuroscience and Mental Health Board, said:

“This report provided a unique opportunity to focus on a little-researched area that has a major impact within society. We wanted to highlight what may not be widely realised - that stigma exists and that the evidence shows it is likely to worsen a person’s symptoms and quality of life through loneliness and rejection. If people are too frightened to address early signs of dementia, we can’t possibly get a full picture of the disease from a research perspective, to understand how the disease first develops and how it varies from person to person. It’s clear that more needs to be done to understand the roots and causes of dementia and stamp out social stigma– the same way that stigma surrounding Cancer and HIV has been all but eradicated.”

Sally-Marie Bamford, Director of Research and Strategy International Centre for Longevity UK (ILC-UK) said:

"The ILC-UK are delighted to be launching this Compendium with the Medical Research Council, Alzheimer's Society and Alzheimer's Research, supported by Pfizer. This piece of work sheds a valuable light on the causes and origins of stigma and dementia and we hope by working together we can start to move forward and help reduce the everyday discrimination and inequalities so many people with dementia and their carers face."

Dr Matthew Norton, Head of Policy at Alzheimer’s Research UK, said:

“We are pleased to have contributed to this report, which sheds light on the stigma that still surrounds dementia and the impact this can have on those affected. Despite the far-reaching effects of dementia on individuals and society as a whole, there is still a lack of public awareness and understanding of the condition. Greater awareness could help lift the stigma that is too often still attached to dementia, and research has a role to play in helping people understand the condition. Dementia is not inevitable, but is caused by diseases, and continued investment in research, such as that from the MRC’s Dementias Platform and Alzheimer’s Research UK’s defeat dementia campaign, is vital if we are to beat those diseases.”

George McNamara, Head of Policy and Public Affairs at Alzheimer’s Society said:

”Too often people with dementia tell us that since their diagnosis they’ve faced an unacceptable level of stigma and in some cases lost friends and social networks. This wouldn’t happen if you had a disease like cancer and is a totally unacceptable, yet avoidable situation that people with dementia have to face.

“We’ve come a long way in terms of raising awareness but we still need to do more as a society to banish the stigma surrounding dementia once and for all. Beating dementia won’t just happen in a lab. By next year 850,000 people in the UK will have dementia. If we’re going to tackle the condition we also need to make the society we live in more dementia friendly. We’re doing this by creating dementia friendly communities that have the know-how to help and recruiting a million Dementia Friends. Work such as this is a key part of the fight against dementia.”


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.

New research from the English Longitudinal Study of Ageing (ELSA) reveals 33% of all older people experience perceived age discrimination, with less wealthy older men being at highest risk.

‘Perceived age discrimination in older adults’ highlights the high levels of age discrimination faced by older people, a situation that worsens as they age. 26.6% of people aged between 52 and 59 reported age discrimination, a figure which rose to 37.2% for adults aged between 70 and 79.

The research reveals that the group at the highest risk of age discrimination are better educated, retired men with the low levels of wealth.

  • The poorest older people were 35% more likely to report age discrimination than the wealthiest.
  • Retired older people were 25% more likely to report age discrimination than those who were still employed.

The research also highlighted that older men faced higher levels of perceived age discrimination in many aspects of their lives in comparison with women.

  • 20.7% of men over the age of 52 felt that they were accorded less courtesy because of their age, in comparison to 15.2% of women.
  • 10% of men and 9% of women over the age of 52 felt that they had received poorer service or treatment from doctors or hospitals than younger people because of their age.

Professor Andrew Steptoe, Director, Institute of Epidemiology and Health Care at UCL said:

This research on a large representative sample of older people in England shows high levels of age discrimination. Around one in three men and women aged 52 and older report that they have been discriminated against because of their age, with higher levels in less well-off older people. It’s particularly concerning that around 10% felt that they had been discriminated against in health settings, while a similar number feel that they receive poorer service than younger people in shops and restaurants. Older people are an increasingly large proportion of the population, and we need to be more aware of the problem of ageism. Treating people of any age with respect and courtesy is good for society, and will help increase the wellbeing of senior citizens.

Jessica Watson, Research and Public Affairs Officer at ILC-UK, said:

This research reveals that millions of older people perceive themselves to be on the receiving end of age discrimination. We know from other research that the worries are not just perceived. For example, age discrimination in employment remains a significant barrier to working longer. We now have legislation in place to prevent discrimination on grounds of age, but this research highlights that we have a long way to go to change negative societal attitudes to age.

This research was produced as part of a joint PhD studentship between UCL and ILC-UK, supported by ESRC.
 

38 essays penned by high profile authors present a picture of our ageing society that is unprepared and in some instances unwilling to respond to the new female demographic dividend.  Many of the essays reveal that while women are living longer this does not necessarily imply a happier or healthier older life, with older women shown to be at greater risk of abuse, isolation and loneliness and poverty.

Baroness Greengross, Chief Executive of the ILC-UK said:

“International Women’s Day is a day for celebrating the achievements of women across the world and yet it also provides an opportunity for a ‘societal stocktake’. As our collection of essays clearly reveals, somewhere along the way we seem to have relegated older women to the second class seats in our fight for gender equality. Not only do we need to advance and empower dignity in older age, we also need to make sure we embrace and harness the significance and potential of our older female population.”

The essays show that while some women in their sixties, seventies and eighties may not think of themselves as old, many women of a certain age feel at best invisible and at worst considered a burden for the younger generation, with older woman’s contribution to society considered non-existent. Yet in fact older women are the social glue that binds our families and communities together, for example as carers, and yet none of this is seen as significant. Furthermore, older women can find themselves battling for the benefits that younger women take for granted.

As Jane Ashcroft, CEO of Anchor and Trustee of Silverline wrote in her essay:

“As a society and for ourselves, don’t we need to see every older woman as an individual and … improve visibility - instead of ‘Oh I didn’t see you there’ can we say ‘ah, I’ve been looking for you’?”

Sally-Marie Bamford, editor of the report and Assistant Director, Research and Strategy said:

“This collection of essays provides a marker for future change, it represents a united dissatisfaction with the status quo and as a result we will be launching an Older Women’s Policy and Research Action Alliance to drive this agenda forward.”

The compendium is available to download from http://www.ilcuk.org.uk/index.php/publications/publication_details/has_the_sisterhood_forgotten_older_women The hashtag is #olderwomen

Today the International Longevity Centre-UK (ILC-UK) launches a pioneering snapshot of the life of older women in the UK and highlights how older women are still suffering from the legacy of a pension system designed historically around men and largely by men.
An intimate and revealing collection of essays penned by high profile authors entitled ‘Has the sisterhood forgotten older women?’ reveals the secret struggles and financial challenges for older women as they age.

Included within the 38 essays are contributions from Ros Altmann (Independent pensions expert and former Government policy adviser) and Anthony Thompson (Head of Public Affairs for Scottish Widows), both of whom highlight a ‘forgotten generation’ of older women who have found themselves in a pensions ‘black hole’.

Baroness Greengross, Chief Executive of the ILC-UK said:
“We are witnessing a generation of women who will be living out their later years in poverty through no fault of their own as a result of historic discrimination in the state and private pension arena. We need to make sure the next generation of women do not fall into the same trap.

While we welcome the proposed flat- rate state pension which should herald significant improvements for future generations of women, we need to make sure we repay the contribution older women made both in the public and private sphere and ensure they have financial security and dignity in later life.”

Ros Altmann, in her essay entitled ‘How older women lose out in the pensions arena’, urges women now to take responsibility for their own financial future and sets out her top tips for women to help provide for themselves in later life:

  • “Don't rely on a partner's pension - save for yourself.
  • If your partner is buying an annuity, make sure he knows the importance of selecting a joint life product that will keep paying to you after he dies.
  • Take your own financial planning advice, to help you assess your later life income prospects.
  • More women than men will need expensive social care so you may want to plan how you might pay for that if needed.”

In response to the essays and evidence submitted, ILC-UK will also be launching an Older Women’s Policy and Research Action Alliance to create a roadmap for future research and policy priorities.

The compendium is available to download from http://www.ilcuk.org.uk/index.php/publications/publication_details/has_the_sisterhood_forgotten_older_women The hashtag is #olderwomen

Almost ten per cent of older people do not have a current account according to new research by the International Longevity Centre – UK (ILC-UK), and Age UK.

Furthermore, the report, ‘Is social exclusion still important for older people?’ found that among older people surveyed in 2002 and 2008, fifteen per cent of older people did not report having a current account at both points – the latest date for which figures are available. Six per cent of older people who reported a current account in 2002 no longer did so in 2008.

The report also found that older people were most likely to become excluded from financial products.  Between 2002 and 2008, 9.3 per cent of people aged 80 plus became excluded from financial products compared to only 2.1 per cent of those aged 50-59.

Older people from ethnic minorities were more likely to be excluded from financial products, such as private pensions and life insurance. In 2008, the odds of an older person from an ethnic minority being excluded from financial products were three times higher than the odds of a white older person.

Dr Dylan Kneale, Head of Research at ILC-UK, said: “While reporting errors may account for part of this effect, the results nevertheless show a surprising degree of instability in the use of financial products by older people. There is a need for more research to understand how and why exclusion from financial products is changing over time”.

To produce the new report, ILC-UK analysed the most recently available data from the English Longitudinal Study of Ageing (ELSA), which was collected in 2008, and examined how patterns of social exclusion changed since 2002. Social exclusion was measured across seven domains including exclusion from social relationships, local amenities, financial products, civic activities and access to information, decent housing and public transport, cultural activities, and common consumer goods.

The report also found almost a third of older people either no longer reporting any life insurance (23%) or reporting that they had taken up life insurance (7%) between 2002 and 2008. Overall, there was a 9% decline from 2002 among older consumers of life insurance to 42.7% in 2008.

David Sinclair, Assistant Director, Policy and Communications at ILC-UK, said: “This report shows that we should not be complacent about financial exclusion. Access to financial products is vital if broader social exclusion is to be tackled. The most disadvantaged are being hit hardest as a result of a lack of access to financial services and products”.

Michelle Mitchell, Charity Director General of Age UK, said, “This research suggests that older people have tried banking and perhaps sought access to other financial services and have found that they don’t work for them.  Many of these services are essential and so need to be designed with everyone in mind, including older people.

“Age UK hears from older people who want to use banking services, but can’t.  This can be because local banks have closed, call centres are inaccessible or simply because they find it very hard to get cash out.”

In the report, ILC-UK urges the development of initiatives and support programmes to encourage the development/uptake of financial products among disadvantaged older people.

NOTES

  1. 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.
  2. The report, ‘Is social exclusion still important for older people?’, will be available on 19th September on the ILC-UK website at http://www.ilcuk.org.uk/index.php/publications/publication_details/is_social_exclusion_still_important_for_older_people Advan.ced copies are available for journalists.
  3. The report ‘Is social exclusion still important for older people?’, will be launched at a breakfast seminar on 19th September.
  4. Age UK is funding a three year research fellowship at the ILC-UK. This fellowship allows us to undertake important research on ageing and longevity. Through the research fellowship, ILC-UK will undertake a number of pieces of policy and research work in agreement with Age UK. The ILC-UK is most appreciative of this opportunity given by Age UK.

Contact:
David Sinclair, Jessica Watson, or Dylan Kneale on 02073400440 or 07531 164 886.

 

The number of people aged 50 plus being socially excluded from decent housing, public transport and local amenities rose sharply over a six year period, according to new research carried out by the International Longevity Centre-UK (ILC-UK) and funded by Age UK.

Over one in six people in their fifties (18%) were socially excluded in two of more areas of their life in 2008 – up from 13 per cent in 2002.

But the research also found that almost 38% of those aged 85 or older faced some two or more kinds of social exclusion, an encouraging decline of 10% from the 2002 levels. For those aged 60-64 years old, the figure was 12.4% experiencing two or more kinds of exclusion in 2008.

These findings were among the disturbing results from the research 'Is Social Exclusion still important for Older People?'

To produce the new report, ILC-UK analysed the most recently available data from the English Longitudinal Study of Ageing (ELSA), which was collected in 2008, and examined how patterns of social exclusion changed since 2002. Social exclusion was measured across seven domains including exclusion from social relationships, local amenities, financial products, civic activities and access to information, decent housing and public transport, cultural activities, and common consumer goods.

The report also reveals:

  • Rates of exclusion from decent housing and public transport and exclusion from local amenities rose sharply between 2002 and 2008 among the population aged 50 and above as a whole – by over five per cent to approximately sixteen per cent.
  • As people age, they are more likely to become more socially excluded than less– 23.9 per cent of people became more excluded between 2002 and 2008.
  • Almost two-fifths (38%) of those aged 85 and older were excluded from two or more domains of exclusion in 2008 – this compared with one-in-eight (12.4%) of those aged 60-64 years and one-in-six of the total sample (16.9%).

The report highlights how an older person’s demographic, socioeconomic and health characteristics were associated with whether or not they were socially excluded. For example:

  • Older men were significantly more likely to be excluded from social relationships while older women were more likely to be excluded from cultural activities.
  • Being non-white was associated with a higher risk of experiencing some form of exclusion compared to being white (59.8% compared to 47.3%). Older people from ethnic minorities in particular were more likely to be excluded from financial products, such as private pensions and life insurance.
  • Wealthy older  people are much less likely to be socially excluded than their poorer counterparts - with almost two-thirds of older people in the highest quintile of income were not excluded in any form compared to less than two-fifths of people in the lowest quintile (64.3% versus 38.7%).
  • Becoming a care giver between 2002 and 2008 was associated with a two fold increase in the odds of becoming excluded from two or more domains of social exclusion between 2002 and 2008. Those who assumed care-giving duties between 2002 and 2008 were more likely to become excluded from civic activities and access to information, excluded from decent housing and public transport, and excluded from common consumer goods.
  • Those who moved from living alone to living as part of a couple (with no children) exhibited a 68 per cent reduction in the odds of becoming multiply excluded (excluded on two or more dimensions) between 2002 and 2008 compared to those who stayed living alone; conversely, those who moved from being resident in a couple household to living alone were over three times more likely to become multiply excluded over this period. For this age group (50+), becoming a widow is one of the most common reasons for starting to live alone.

Baroness Sally Greengross, Chief Executive of ILC-UK said: “Older people approaching retirement (50-54) appear to be worse off in 2008 compared to 2002. Whilst policy-makers have identified the squeezed middle classes as an at risk group, the squeezed middle age group is another at risk group. This report highlights the importance of taking a life-course approach to ageing. We need to intervene earlier to prevent social exclusion later in life.”

Michelle Mitchell, Charity Director of Age UK said: “While this report is welcome, it would be interesting to know more about why levels of social exclusion are rising for people in their fifties, something which the next wave of ELSA data might help us understand. For many being socially excluded can lead to feelings of loneliness which research shows has a significantly adverse effect on physical and mental well-being, equivalent in some studies to well established risk factors such as obesity and smoking.”

Dr Dylan Kneale, Head of Research at ILC-UK said “This report reveals the importance of helping older people access opportunities across a range of domains. We found that becoming excluded from social relationships, civic activities and access to information, cultural activities, and local amenities was associated with a lower quality of life, which in turn could have implications for older people’s health and other outcomes.”


In the report ILC-UK calls on the Government to:

  • Allocate the task of measuring and developing strategies to overcome material and non-material disadvantage a specific team within government.
  • Shift the focus of government policy on ageing towards prevention. ILC-UK argues that Government should focus on ‘ageing policies’ rather than ‘older people’s policies’ in order to tackle increasing exclusion among middle aged people
  • Develop a widowhood strategy. 
  • Better develop outreach provision to reach the hardest to reach before crises occur.
  • Improve planning of neighbourhoods for people of all ages to reduce levels of exclusion from local amenities and decent housing and public transport.
  • Provide additional support for carers and reduce gender inequalities in social exclusion through the expansion of existing intervention programmes.

NOTES

  1. 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.
  2. The report, ‘Is social exclusion still important for older people?’, will be available on 19th September on the ILC-UK website at http://www.ilcuk.org.uk/index.php/publications/publication_details/is_social_exclusion_still_important_for_older_people Advan.ced copies are available for journalists.
  3. Age UK is funding a three year research fellowship at the ILC-UK. This fellowship allows us to undertake important research on ageing and longevity. Through the research fellowship, ILC-UK will undertake a number of pieces of policy and research work in agreement with Age UK. The ILC-UK is most appreciative of this opportunity given by Age UK.
  4. The report ‘Is social exclusion still important for older people?’, will be launched at a breakfast seminar on 19th September. 

Contact:
David Sinclair, Jessica Watson, or Dylan Kneale on 02073400440 or 07531 164 886.

 

The ILC-UK launches publications considering intergenerational diversity among LGBT people

Between Autumn 2010 and Spring 2011, three intergenerational projects took place in different areas of England to promote solidarity and improve relations between different generations of the LGBT community. The ILC-UK in partnership with AGE UK have produced an evidence review examining some of the specific issues and challenges facing older and younger LGBT people and the potential for intergenerational work, a detailed evaluation report of the projects and a tool kit to highlight best practice and inspire future LGBT intergenerational reports.

The ILC-UK identified a series of outcomes and key learning opportunities arising from the projects:

  • Unifying a diverse community.
  • Reducing age stereotypes.
  • Development of social skills and confidence.
  • Development of practical skills.
  • Exposure of young LGBT people to older LGBT people role models.
  • Improved understanding of the needs of older and younger LGBT people.
  • Preservation and increased awareness of LGBT history.
  • Sharing life-course experiences.
  • Promoting the visibility of the LGBT community.

The ILC-UK also has made a number of recommendations for improving further the outcomes of future LGBT intergenerational work:

  • Further work is needed to understand the benefits of intergenerational work among the LGBT community.
  • The success of intergenerational projects is often dependent on involving existing youth and older people’s networks. Therefore they need to be preserved in a time of cuts.
  • The Localism Bill should include greater safeguards to ensure the rights of marginalised or minority populations are able to access amenities and services locally protected.
  • The ILC-UK call for a greater recognition of the value of soft outcomes that may result from projects such as LGBT intergenerational work.
  • The ILC-UK call for specific funding to be set aside for projects that aim to strengthen intergenerational relations.

The ILC-UK organised the launch of the reports on 19 October 2011. The event was hosted by Baroness Sally Greengross OBE and the speakers included:

  • Stephen Burke, Director of United for All Ages
  • David Roper, musician and also known as “Four Poofs and a Piano”
  • Dr Jack Watters, Vice President, External Medical Affairs, Pfizer
  • Antony Smith, Development Officer - Equalities and Human Rights, Age UK

An executive summary and copies of the reports are available to download below:


“The International Longevity Centre-UK welcomes this announcement. In the context of an ageing society, working longer is good news for the economy and older people.

However, the decision to end the Default Retirement Age will not automatically lead to longer working lives for all. Last month the ILC-UK published a report (1) which set out why people retire early. A combination of poor health, caring responsibilities and a lack of appropriate skills are amongst the reasons for leaving the workforce early.

So if Government is to make the most of the economic potential of older workers, it must do more to explore why people retire when they do. It must also consider how it can best incentivise and support us to work longer in sustainable ways. The introduction of policies to encourage flexible working and ‘gradual retirement’ have to form part of this picture”


(1)The Future of Retirement
ILC published “The future of retirement” last month.
The report found that

  • The meaning of retirement was originally bound up with the receipt of a pension, but most people do not retire at State Pension Age;
  • Good pensions coverage generally increases the likelihood of early retirement, and vice versa. Other things being equal, low-paid/low-skilled workers retire later due to financial compulsion;
  • Over the long-term, defined contribution pension schemes are likely to encourage later retirements, in part due to their inherent incentive structure, but also because they tend to be less generous that defined benefit schemes; and
  • Many older workers seem to favour a gradual transition from work to retirement. Such arrangements could help people to cope with care responsibilities.


ILC-UK recommends that, if working lives are to be extended, and the government needs to give more attention to:

  • Preventative healthcare throughout the life-course;
  • Job quality for older workers;
  • The potential of ‘gradual retirement’, including encouraging employers to offer downshifting options to staff approaching retirement at all levels;
  • Flexible working
  • Simplifying the pensions system and improving the provision of advice; and
  • The support offered to older people with caring responsibilities.


The report is available 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 International Longevity Centre - UK (ILC-UK) has today published “The Fictions, Facts and Future of Older People and Technology” a think piece by Simon Roberts, design anthropologist with Intel’s Digital Health Group. The first in a series, this think piece argues that the language used to talk about older people and technology is often ageist and underplays the diversity of the population’s usage, atittudes and experiences. People, of whatever age, are ‘multi-dimensional’ and technology needs to support multi-dimensional lives and experiences.

Author Simon Roberts says, “To put excitement and purpose into our technologies for ageing populations we need to talk differently about ourselves, the ageing and older people. We need to find ways of continuing to include older people in the process of design and delivery. By working with older people and understanding their specific needs we can ensure that end-user needs are the central design point of developing technology. This type of approach encourages us to look at older people as ourselves in a few years time and not as ‘different’ group of people.”

He continues, “Contrary to popular belief there is high willingness amongst older people to adopt and use technology of all varieties. Technology has great potential to connect, engage, educate and entertain us as we age, but there is a wider need to change the approach to older people and technology if we are to truly capitalise on that potential.”

The report suggests that there is a need for current thinking about technology for older people, and the understanding of older people’s experiences of ageing to catch up with each other. Understanding how older people engage with technology is key to shaping our attitude and approach. However, the report highlights that there is conflicting and mixed evidence about the usage of new technology by older people which leads to confusion:

Figures from the Office of National Statistics[1] shows increased use of the internet by over 65s in the last five years, but a recent Oxford Internet Survey[2] suggests that while use of the internet has continued to grow for those in the 25-54 age range, no such growth is evident in the over 55s.
2009 Ofcom research[3] suggests that only one in ten internet users aged 55 and over have a social networking site profile. Yet other usage figures[4] from a popular social networking site suggests a huge increase in users aged 64 and over. In UK alone, the number of people 64 years or older using this networking site increased by a staggering 390 per cent between November 2008 - October 2009.


Major challenges exist if new consumer and assistive technologies are to meet the needs of an ageing society, this think piece sets out a number of recommendations:

Mind our Language
The way we talk about age impacts how we conceive and design technology for older people. Politicians, policy makers and commentators should avoid using words like ‘old’ or ‘elderly’, which imply that age is a condition or a destination, and instead talk of ‘ageing’ and ‘older’.

Beyond Cohort Thinking
We need to recognise the pitfalls of ‘cohort thinking’ which assumes that older people are one homogenous group. One way to address this issue is to encourage organisations such as Ofcom and the Office of National Statistics to segment the over 55 population more finely, recognising the differences in attitude and outlook that exist in a cohort spanning forty or more years.

Us as we Age
An approach to designing consumer and assistive technologies that is focused on ‘us as we age’, not ‘them that are already old’ would lead to the design and development of technology better suited to a diverse population.

Standards and Guidelines
Cognitive and physical declines make inroads into our abilities to use technologies as we age. Adherence to accessibility standards such as the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) for websites is therefore important but widely disregarded. We should encourage age-friendly accreditation schemes such as Age UK’s new AgeOK kitemark scheme which recognises the excellence in design for all. The UK Design Council should be encouraged to develop initiatives which could help the UK lead the way in the design of technologies for the world’s ageing populations.

Designed and delivered with Soul
We need to strive to make technology that connects people to their own aspirations, their own projects of self development, self esteem, experience and identity, rather than devices that only focus on their ‘inabilities’ and ‘needs’.

Baroness Greengross, ILC-UK Chief Executive adds, “Technology offers significant potential not just to support the care needs of older people but also to tackle some of the major challenges of isolation and exclusion. We seem to be stuck in a situation whereby we can see the potential of technology but it is not yet reaching the majority. The major issues around the impact of ageism in research and the assumptions made in relation to the policy on older people are highlighted in this report. We must address this ageism if technology is to achieve its full potential.”

References:

1)Office of National Statistics
2) OxIS 2009 Report at http://www.oii.ox.ac.uk/microsites/oxis/
3) http://www.ofcom.org.uk/research/telecoms/reports/bbresearch/bbathome.pdf
4) Facebook advertising figures in Nov 2008 and Oct 2009

 

Responding to ‘Pension Trends - Inequalities and poverty in retirement’, and the ’An Anatomy of Economic Inequality in the UK: Report of the National Equality Panel’ David Sinclair, Head of Policy and Research at the International Longevity Centre - UK said:

On the one hand the National Statistics report reveals that the position of retired households has improved over the last 30 years and that there has been a downward trend in the number of pensioners living in poverty since the mid-1990s. However with two million people still with incomes below 60% of median income (after housing costs), this is not the time to start celebrating.

National statistics reveal that between 1977 and 2007/08, the wealthiest increased their share of total household income whilst the poorest saw their share fall. In other words, the gap between rich and poorer older pensioners has grown.

We can’t look at these statistics in isolation from today’s National Equality Panel report which found that whilst progress has been made in tackling poverty, deep-seated and systematic differences in economic outcomes remain between and particularly within social groups. The report highlights that many inequalities accumulate across the life cycle and are often passed on to the next generation.

What these two reports highlight is that if we are to solve these major challenges of poverty and inequality we can’t pitch one generation against the next. The poorest tend to live shorter lives and spend longer in ill health. We must therefore address income and health inequalities early if we are to have an impact on pensioner poverty later in life. Extra investment in prevention is vital, but so is ensuring that all have the opportunity to be economically active.

The recent economic downturn has challenged the job prospects of both young and old. We need greater support for young people to enter the job market and for older people to stay in active employment, if they choose to do so. For older people, flexible working and allowing people to continue to work past 65 years of age is critical if we are to achieve this goal.

At the same time, while the recent pension reforms will make a difference, we are still not making enough provision for our retirement. And we must ensure that those on the lowest incomes are claiming the benefits they are entitled to. Some of the poorest pensioners are missing out on £5 billion of unclaimed benefits.

Poverty and inequality is too important an issue to become a political football. The challenges are difficult and we have seen significant progress over recent years. However, we must work together to identify and implement policy solutions which will ensure people aren’t disadvantaged simply because of their age, gender, race, social class or birthplace.

ENDS

“Pension Trends - Inequalities and poverty in retirement” is available at http://www.statistics.gov.uk/pensiontrends/
National Equality Panel report is available at: http://www.equalities.gov.uk/national_equality_panel.aspx

 

Help the Aged has published a briefing paper from the ILC-UK analysing how effectively older people are able to make their voices heard, and concluding that perceptions can be misleading.

The paper can be downloaded by clicking on this link: VOICE - A Briefing Paper

Author: James Lloyd, Head of Policy & Research, ILC-UK

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