NEWS:


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.

 

  • 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."

ILC-UK backs use of technology to improve road safety and reduce the cost of motor insurance

Responding to announcements by Tom Tom (1) and the AA (2) about the use of smart technology for the pricing of car insurance, David Sinclair, Assistant Director, Policy and Communications at the International Longevity Centre UK said:

“The greater use of technology could be a helpful way of reducing the cost of motor insurance for younger people. But it could also help drivers of all ages become better drivers.
We need to look at how we can encourage and support people to make decisions which will improve road safety. But there is no evidence that a more draconian licensing regime would improve road safety among older adults.

ILC-UK recently published research which highlighted how we can best ‘nudge’ older drivers to be as safe as possible on the roads. One of our key findings was that insurance companies should offer discounted premiums for older drivers who can demonstrate they effectively self-regulate their driving habits.

The use of new technologies like this could play a major role in making our roads safer for all ages.”

Over the last year ILC-UK has published:

Driving In later life, Options for Reform:http://www.ilcuk.org.uk/index.php/publications/publication_details/driving_in_later_life_options_for_reform
http://www.ilcuk.org.uk/index.php/news/news_posts/press_release_driving_in_later_life_options_for_reform

Successfully giving up driving for older people by Dr Charles Musselwhite of UWE: 
http://www.ilcuk.org.uk/index.php/publications/publication_details/successfully_giving_up_driving_for_older_people

Older drivers and behavioural change http://www.ilcuk.org.uk/index.php/publications/publication_details/older_drivers_and_behavioural_change

Can Older Drivers be Nudged? http://www.ilcuk.org.uk/index.php/publications/publication_details/can_older_drivers_be_nudged

Reference:
1)    http://www.cio.co.uk/news/3336614/tomtom-report-back-insurers-on-driver-behaviour/
2)    http://www.guardian.co.uk/money/2012/feb/10/car-insurance-aa-black-box?newsfeed=true

Contact:
Lyndsey Mitchell at ILC-UK on 020 73400440
David Sinclair: davidsinclair@ilcuk.org.uk

 

Driving into the sunset years - one in four call for older drivers to hang up keys five years early

Almost one in four (24%) Brits – equivalent to 11.9 million consumers – think that drivers should hang up their keys at age 75, 70 or even younger than 70, despite there being no evidence to suggest older drivers up to the age of 80 years old, are less safe behind the wheel than younger drivers.

The ‘Driving in later life: options for reform’ report from the International Longevity Centre (ILC-UK) and over 50s motor insurance provider RIAS (1), launched at an round table event at the House of Lords, reveals that older drivers could face losing vital years of independence – potentially up to 10 years – before they may need to. Consumers seem to fear that older drivers may not be safe or confident on the roads after the age of 70.

According to the study, 63% of British people believe that drivers should be forced to give up their driving licence at some stage in later life.

Sarah Howe, Marketing Director at RIAS, comments: “The car is a vital lifeline for many older people and keeping mobile is essential for physical and mental wellbeing. We know from our experience and official statistics that older drivers have fewer accidents than younger drivers. This is partly because older drivers are more likely to self-regulate their driving behaviours, avoiding risky driving conditions for example. We need to encourage and support self-regulation so that older people can maintain the independence they need for as long as possible and recognise when it is appropriate to acknowledge when they are putting themselves and others at risk.”
The research, discussed on Wednesday at the House of Lords by a range of interested parties including Baroness Greengross OBE and Shadow Transport Minister John Woodcock, examines attitudes towards older drivers and the feasibility of self regulation versus enforced re-testing or surrendering of their licence.

Fit for purpose
Under UK regulation, drivers are not currently required to cease driving or re-take their driving test at any age. Drivers are, however, required to complete a medical questionnaire to confirm whether they are fit to drive, and when drivers reach 70 years old they must re-apply for their driving licence. The research revealed that 85% believe that re-testing should be compulsory, with 40% suggesting that this should take place at 65 or younger. It seems that younger age groups seem even keener on the idea of re-testing: two-thirds (66%) of 16 – 24 year olds support re-testing at 65, 60 or at an earlier age, versus only one quarter (23%) of those aged 65 or over.

Public transport not an alternative
The research also reveals that for many older drivers, public transport is not a viable alternative to their private vehicle – with just over half (53%) of drivers over 55 claiming that public transport is ‘never’ a realistic alternative for them. Reasons for this include the expense (63%), unreliable services (64%) and the services being physically inaccessible (57%).

In the ‘Driving in later life: options for reform’ report the ILC-UK calls for the DVLA to allow older drivers to voluntarily restrict their driving licenses, helping people to make earlier and better informed decisions around driving in later life. The ILC-UK also suggests that the government should offer a 10% discount on car tax for older drivers who self-select their individual licence restrictions, for example, not driving at night or in extreme weather conditions, to act as an incentive for self-regulation.

Support for self-regulation
Two thirds of people (66%) support the idea of self-selected licence restrictions, where drivers above a certain age would impose restrictions on themselves about where and when they drive – for example only driving during the day and not in adverse weather. Seven out of 10 (69%) are in favour of lower car tax and insurance payments for those older drivers who have demonstrated that they are safe and drive less frequently. And nine out of 10 (89%) of those surveyed agree that older drivers should obtain medical advice as part of the self-certification process.

Dr Craig Berry, Senior Researcher at ILC-UK and author of the report said: “In an ageing society, there is a need to support drivers as they get older. Older people today are driving further and more often than previous generations and are more reliant on their car than ever. Our report shows that there is strong support for punitive measures around driving in later life but there is little evidence that these will lead to safer roads.

“We strongly support self-regulation and suggest that at the point of licence renewal, older drivers should be required to declare that they have sought the advice of a medical professional before self-certifying their fitness to drive. The decision to surrender a driving licence should remain with the individual as far as possible.”

– ends –

For further information or a copy of the report, please contact:
Alex Kennedy at Seventy Seven PR on 020 7492 0977 or email rias@77pr.co.uk
Alternatively, contact Lucy Pope, Consumer Communications Manager, RIAS on 01202 254445 or email lucy.pope@ageas.co.uk.

(1) Research was conducted by GfK NOP between 14 and 16 October. Base: 1005 adults aged 16+

About RIAS

RIAS was established in 1992 and is a specialist award-winning provider of insurance products for the over 50s age group.

Part of Ageas (Insurance UK) Limited, RIAS has over a million motor, home and travel insurance customers and employs over 1,100 people across two UK sites. RIAS negotiates with a panel of insurers to secure competitive, value for money products.

Ageas UK is a leading provider of award-winning Personal, Commercial and Protection insurance solutions in the UK. Ageas UK distributes both its Non-Life and Life products through a range of channels including brokers, IFAs, intermediaries, affinity partners and the Internet, as well as through its retail strategy via its wholly or partially-owned companies (Ageas Insurance Solutions, Ageas Protect, Castle Cover, Kwik Fit Insurance Services, RIAS, Tesco Underwriting and Text2Insure).

Insuring around 8 million customers and working with a range of partners, Ageas is recognised for delivering consistent and high-quality customer experiences. It employs around 5,400 people with a head office based in Eastleigh and others based in Belfast, Birmingham, Bournemouth, Glasgow, Gloucester, London, Reigate and Stoke-on-Trent.

About the ILC-UK
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.

Allow older drivers to voluntarily restrict their driving licences, argues International Longevity Centre-UK.

There is a clear need for policy-makers to consider the implications of an ageing society on our road safety, according to a new policy brief published today by the International Longevity Centre-UK (ILC-UK). The think-tank argues, however, that reform should look to build upon the existing process of ‘self-regulation’.

The policy brief Older Drivers and Behavioural Change, produced with the support of the RAC Foundation, considers the policy implications of ILC-UK’s research on the driving decisions made by older people, published earlier this year.

Older drivers tend to be as safe as other age groups, up to around the age of 80 – by which time the majority of people have ceased driving. Furthermore, driving is vital to the mobility, independence and ultimately quality of life of many older people. Nevertheless, we know that driving is affected by age-related decline. The brief utilises insights from behavioural economics and psychology to suggest various ‘nudges’ that government could introduce to improve the regulatory system around driving in later life.

ILC-UK is therefore recommending:

1. DVLA should introduce self-selected licence restrictions. Older drivers should be able to voluntarily restrict their driving activity, thereby nudging older people towards self-regulation.

2. DVLA should mandate older drivers to declare, at the point of self-declaration, that they have discussed their driving capability and habits with a medical professional.

3. The government should introduce a 10 per cent discount on Vehicle Excise Duty for older drivers that can demonstrate self-regulation.

4. The Department for Transport should develop and distribute a self-assessment toolkit so that older drivers can monitor and evaluate their own driving capabilities.

Baroness Sally Greengross, Chief-Executive at ILC-UK said “We believe that policy-makers are right to consider the potential impact of an ageing society on road safety. But self-regulation is already evident among older drivers, and it is crucial that this is supported as far as possible. Our proposals would help to create an effective form of self-regulation while recognising that most older drivers are responsible road users.”

Stephen Glaister, Director of the RAC Foundation said. “We are an ageing population. The number of drivers over 75 may well double in the next twenty years and many will be dependent on their cars to live healthy and happy lives. The challenge is to keep our senior citizens mobile while preserving their safety and that of other road users. Voluntary changes in driving routines can enable safer driving by older people and the RAC Foundation is strongly supportive of the proposals in this policy brief.”

Contact:

Dr Craig Berry (report author) at ILC-UK on 02073400440. Or email craigberry@ilcuk.org.uk

END

Notes to Editor:

1. Older Drivers and Behavioural Change will be available on the ILC-UK website on 8th November 2011. Advanced copies are available for the media.

2. The production of Older Drivers and Behavioural Change has been supported by the RAC Foundation.

3. 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. The ILC-UK is a registered charity (no. 1080496) incorporated with limited liability in England and Wales (company no. 3798902).

4. Dr Craig Berry is a Senior Researcher at ILC-UK and the author of Can Older Drivers Be Nudged? (RAC Foundation, 2011). He also lectures on economic policy at the University of Warwick. He worked previously as a Policy Advisor on Older People and State Pensions at HM Treasury, and completed his PhD at the University of Sheffield in 2008.

A ‘whole of life’ approach is necessary to ensure people of all ages regularly self-assess their fitness to drive

Currently most people only seriously re-consider their abilities behind the wheel at age 70 when they are required by law to reapply for their licence and certify they are safe to have one.

Motorists need to be encouraged to face up to the limitations of physical and mental ageing at whatever stage of life it occurs. When ageing does become an issue, family members – young and old - must come together to talk about the impact it might have on mobility. In the United States a handbook called ‘We must talk’ is available to help overcome the often-taboo topic of getting old and its effect on daily life.

These are amongst the conclusions of a report published today authored by Dr Craig Berry of the International Longevity Centre – UK for the RAC Foundation. Craig draws on the theory of behavioural economics to explain the challenges we face in taking decisions about driving in older age.

Craig says older drives already self-regulate their behaviour but they need to be given more help – particularly from those in the medical profession – to ensure that decisions made about driving are timely and appropriate not just for their benefit but also for that of other road users.

Commenting on the report Professor Stephen Glaister, director of the RAC Foundation, said:

“The older population is set to grow considerably. Official figures estimate that ten million people who are alive today will reach their 100th birthday. And by 2023 a quarter of the population is expected to be over 65. Key to our mental and physical wellbeing throughout life is personal mobility and for many that involves car use.

“Older drivers are no less safe on the roads than the rest of the driving population, at least until the age of 80.

“Rather than discriminate against older drivers by setting arbitrary age limits beyond which motorists are seen as posing a hazard we should develop a system that encourages individual responsibility amongst all drivers.”

Currently drivers must self-certify at age 70 (and every three years after that), on the basis of a medical questionnaire, that they remain fit to drive.

One option would be to require all drivers to self-certify each time they renew their photo-id, which is necessary every ten years. A number of driving licence options restricted by time of day or location could also be introduced, which older drivers could voluntarily sign up to in return for a discount on road tax or other driving costs.

There are a number of potential ‘nudges’ that policy makers could use in this area, which are of benefit to both the individual and society – a bit of creative thinking is all that is required.

You can download a copy of the publication below:

Download a PDF | Get the free reader

 

Ahead of the commencement of the consultation exercises for the three rail franchises that will be let over the coming year, Baroness Greengross' Transport forum has published "Public Procurement – the lessons of Rail Privatisation"

The Transport Forum was convened by Baroness Greengross in response to the wide public interest in the way services, which in the past were provided publicly, are increasingly being sourced from the Private sector. Railway privatisation has been a prime example and it is important that the lessons from that experience are taken forward as a contribution to the wider debate about the future of procurement and as a blueprint for action at a national or local level.

The Forum is part of a series of initiatives, driven by issues like demographic, technological and economic change, looking at aspects of life in the future, and is concerned with how the public service ethos of both public and privately run organisations and agencies will adapt to the new realities they will face as public expectations change.

Documents:

Public Procurement - the lessons of rail privatisation (PDF)

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