PUBLICATIONS:

Illuminating the employment challenges of the over 50s.

Working with The Prince’s Initiative for Mature Enterprise (PRIME) and Business In The Community, The Internation al Longevity Centre have published a major new report about the challenges facing older workers, The missing million: illuminating the employment challenges of the over 50s. This is the first in a series of three reports being published on this topic over the next year.

The research demonstrates that of the 3.3 million economically inactive people aged 50-64, approximately 1 million people have been made ‘involuntarily workless’ - pushed out of their previous job as a result of ‘shocks’, a combination of redundancy, ill health or early retirement. This has created a silent majority’, where millions of over 50s are not working but would like to and are not receiving the help they need.

The research also shows that if people aged over 50 are helped back into employment, it does not mean that younger people are ‘crowded out ‘of the labour market. Helping older people back into the labour market could also lead to a potential £88 billion boost to the UK GDP. Most importantly securing employment for older people will transform their lives and offer them the opportunity of a brighter, more secure future.

Two further reports will be published following this paper on employment solutions and benefits of maintaining an older workforce.

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A Partnership Population Patterns Series brief.

ILC-UK, supported by the specialist insurance company, Partnership Assurance Group plc, has begun to undertake a series of events to explore the relationship between our changing demography and public policy. As part of the Population Patterns series, this brief explores the challenges posed by recent pension reforms.


The Government has instigated a once in a lifetime shake-up of pensions that has introduced flexibility in the defined contribution (DC) arena and opened up income options for retirees by allowing access to more of their savings through changes to flexible drawdown and trivial commutation rules. The state pension has also been overhauled with the introduction of a flat rate state pension of £144-a-week from April 2016 (to those who are eligible).

While the reforms have been broadly welcomed they are not a panacea to the problems created by the UK’s ageing population and in fact present new challenges. This brief addresses a number of issues including:

• People’s underestimation of their longevity
• Under saving
• The possibility that people may leave their pension funds as cash savings
• The need for people to work longer
 

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This report highlights the growing generation of older men that are facing a future of increased isolation.

The number of older men living alone is projected to rise by 65% between now and 2030. ILC-UK and Independent Age have conducted research 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.

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.

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This report asks whether it is time to rethink our concept of retirement, and includes an 8-point action plan to support companies who want to respond to the challenges and opportunities of ageing.

The Age Audit has been published by ICL-UK and The Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales (ICAEW), and states that unless businesses respond to ageing UK plc faces significant fiscal and economic challenges. If the over 65s are unable to find employment, those who are in work will account for a diminishing proportion of the population. Tax revenue from those in work may fail to keep up with demand for social security from an increasingly large proportion of people aged over 65 and out of work.  Demographic change may mean that future economic growth may be dependent on either substantially increasing the productivity of those in work or the numbers of people over 65 in work rises.

The Age Audit reveals that:

  • The over 65s in the UK currently spend around £2.2 billion per week (£114 billion per annum) on goods and services. Assuming their weekly spending rises in line with annual inflation of 2%, they are likely to be spending over £6 billion per week (£312 billion per annum) by 2037
  • From now until 2037, the 15-64 age group in the UK will, on average, grow by just 29,000 per annum. By contrast, the number of people aged 65 and over will rise by 278,000 on average each year.
  • Across more economically developed countries, the proportion aged 65 and over will rise from 16% to 26% and the proportion over 80 will rise from 4.3% to 10%.

ILC-UK argue that if businesses make the right decisions to support increasing flexibility in the workplace, to raise the health and wellbeing of the workforce, to counteract ageism and to embrace continuous learning, the concept of retirement as we think of it today will no longer have any use.

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The Ready for Ageing Alliance has launched its manifesto for action, ‘Getting Ready for Ageing’.

After previously releasing an eleven point prescription to help individuals prepare for ageing, the Ready for Ageing Alliance now calls on policymakers to wake up to both the challenges and opportunities that are arising from our ageing society.

The Ready for Ageing Alliance was formed in 2013 following publication of the ‘Filkin report’  and its conclusion that we as a country were nowhere near ready for an ageing population. The aim of members Age UK, Alzheimer’s Society, Anchor, Carers UK; Centre for Policy on Ageing, the International Longevity Centre - UK (ILC-UK), Independent Age and Joseph Rowntree Foundation is to make the case for action to ensure that our society makes the most of our ageing population.

The manifesto sets out detailed recommendations for public policy covering housing; health & social care; the economy and communities and calls for Government to take the lead, with a single point of contact, at Cabinet level, responsible for age and ageing policy.

‘Getting Ready for Ageing’ also calls on the Government to:

- Stop seeing ageing as being just about older people - if we wait until we are 60 or 70 to prepare we'll have left it too late. That's why the Alliance wants everyone to be sent a pack at 50 giving information and advice.

- End age discrimination – Legislation has gone some way to preventing discrimination on grounds of age but bizarrely financial services are exempt and hidden discrimination remains in many walks of life

- Stop operating hospitals on a model designed for the past – Staff/patient ratios on hospital wards for older patients are often lower than on general wards, yet older people often need more help - e.g. to eat and drink

- Stop undervaluing the over 65s, who currently spend a massive £2.2 billion a week and contribute £61billion to the economy through employment, icaring and volunteering.

- Stop ignoring the fact that many older workers are forced to leave the labour market early.  Start building more flexible work opportunities to make it possible for family members of all ages juggle work and care for older relatives.


A copy of the report is available to download below.


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In an eleven point prescription, the Ready for Ageing Alliance has urged individuals to prepare for ageing by keeping fit, eating healthy, planning ahead and listening to a little One Direction.

The Alliance has published the prescription ahead of the launch of its Manifesto on 8th September 2014. The Manifesto will set out ideas for how policymakers can better respond to the challenges of ageing. 

The Ready for Ageing Alliance points out that our responsibility to age well needs to be supported by a series of rights. Policymakers must ensure that we are all well equipped to ensure we are ready for ageing. It argues that individuals need access to advice, services and opportunities for learning.

The Ready for Ageing Alliance calls for the creation of a “Ready for Later Life” pack, which would signpost people at the age of 50, to additional information and advice on preparing for ageing.

The Alliance, a coalition of 8 organisations, came together in 2013 to make the case for action to ensure that our society is ready for ageing.

Download the eleven point prescription below.

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This report examines the effect our ageing society may have on the future of volunteering, and the potential consequences for UK charities.

The Independent Commission on Voluntary Sector and Ageing, established by the think tanks NPC and ILC-UK, have produced the report A Better Offer: The future of volunteering in an ageing society. The report sends a warning to the charity sector, stating that action needs to be taken in order to harness the potential benefits of the ‘super boomer’ generation, or otherwise risk losing invaluable volunteering capital.

Older people in the UK currently contribute greatly to the voluntary sector, and as our population ages their contribution to charities could continue to grow; the value of volunteering by people over 50 is estimated by the Royal Voluntary Service to grow from £10bn to £15bn by 2020. However, the report warns that the UK’s demographic shift presents itself as both an opportunity and a challenge for the voluntary sector; whilst an ageing population results in a larger pool of retirees, charities must adapt in order to stop their voluntary workforce deserting them.

A Better Offer warns:

• UK charities urgently need to step-up preparations for the future – ‘without adapting, charities may find a large part of their voluntary workforce deserting them’.
• ‘Super boomers’ could be the next generation of charity volunteers, but face unprecedented pressure to work longer and care for their families, with childcare a major burden reducing the time available to help charities.
• With volunteering by older people currently valued at £10bn a year, charities face an uncertain future unless they make a more compelling offer to potential volunteers.
• New survey data shows that larger charities seem to be weathering the storm – for now.

A copy of the report is available to download below.

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Why lifetime annuities should still be part of good financial advice in the post-pension-liberalisation world.

Many lifetime annuities offer fair value for money according to new research by Jonquil Lowe of the True Potential Centre for the Public Understanding of Finance at The Open University Business School.

The report (Whither UK Annuities?), published by the International Longevity Centre UK (ILC-UK) also argues that the protection against longevity risk may be poorly understood by consumers.

Falls in annuity rates over the past 25 years mean that an individual who wanted to start retirement with a nominal income of £10,000 would have needed a pension pot of £65,000 in 1990 but over £175,000 by 2013. This has led to a commonly held view that annuities are a bad investment, which overlooks the insurance value of annuities, particularly in the face of increasing longevity.

The research confirms that the major determinants of annuity rates are life expectancy and long-term interest rates. A simple linear regression of UK level annuity rates for a 65-year-old man against a benchmark 15-year gilt rate and cohort life expectancy using monthly data over the period 1991 to 2013 explains 97 per cent of the variation in the annuity rate.

The research considers whether annuity rates can be considered actuarially fair (i.e. if the expected discounted present value (EDPV) of the income equals the price paid).

Lowe finds that some annuity consumers are getting more than value for money (Money Worth Ratio (MWR) of more than 1). For most people buying the best value annuities (average of the top three rates), the MWR at all ages for women and at ages 55 to 70 for men is greater than 0.85. This is within the usual range for MWR therefore does not suggest an excessive mark-up by providers.

Even the worst annuity rates generally deliver value for money to women, with the exception of those with standard life expectancy aged 75. The worst annuity rates offer poor value for money to men however; the exceptions being men with higher-than-average life expectancy aged 55 or 60.

The results suggest consumer detriment to those male annuity purchasers who end up on the worst rates, but otherwise a product that is generally delivering value for money.

The research argues that annuities should be viewed through a consumption frame, focusing on what can be spent throughout the remaining life course, suggesting that if advisers and individuals are using an investment frame, the focus will be on rate of return and investment risk, but not longevity risk.

“Whither UK Annuities?” sets out the implications of this research for pre-retirement guidance and advice

  • Guidance or advice must help consumers understand the nature of longevity risk and how to protect against it
  • Guidance may be needed more than once given increasingly flexible retirements, and the fact that individuals will be free to draw their pension savings in as many tranches as they choose
  • Should government go further and mandate advice for DC members who are contemplating giving up aspects of their retirement security? Is there an inconsistency given those on DB schemes who wish to transfer to DC schemes from April 2015 will need to take advice?
  • Will guidance be sufficient? Guidance is non-specific; does not advocate a particular course of action; and does not recommend the purchase, sale or alteration of particular regulated products from particular providers. It seems likely that many, if not most, individuals approaching retirement would need to be directed to an authorised financial adviser for regulated advice, which begs the question whether guidance has a role at all beyond signposting to sources of authorised advice?

The report points out that annuities may not be the right option for everyone. Other strategies and products may be more suitable for those with higher risk tolerance, greater resources and/or a desire to leave bequests. Those with low resources who can expect a high proportion of their income to come from their state pension and those with debts may still prefer to forego a pension income for a lump sum.

Download a PDF of the report below.

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The second annual Factpack on ageing and demographic change from the ILC-UK.

Future generations of pensioners face a bleak future unless Government addresses the long term challenges of working age poverty, argues the International Longevity Centre – UK (ILC-UK).

In 2012/13, pensioner households were less likely to be on a low income than households with working age adults or households with children. This marks a stark contrast to 15 years ago when low incomes were far more prevalent across pension households than working age ones.

The figures are set out in this Factpack on ageing and demographic change. The Factpack has been developed as part of the #populationpatterns series supported by the specialist insurer Partnership. ILC-UK highlight that whilst pensioner poverty has fallen substantially, the future may not be so rosy:

  • Whilst 1.6 million pensioners are experiencing relatively low incomes, pensioner poverty has fallen drastically over the last 15 years.  In contrast, the proportion of households with working age adults and households with children living on low incomes has remained relatively stagnant. Relative poverty among working age adults without children has increased.
  • The number saving into a pension has dwindled over the past decade from over 5.5 million in 2000 to 2.5 million in 2012.
  • For the first time in two decades, a higher proportion of 18-24 year olds are economically inactive than 50-64 year olds.
  • The average age of a first time buyer without family assistance is now 33 compared with 30 in 2008. The number of households renting privately has increased by 63% since 2001.

Last week, the Office for Budget Responsibility (Fiscal Sustainability Report) predicted that by 2063, age related spending will equal 25.1% of GDP compared to 20.4% in 2018.

Speaking at the launch of the Factpack, Ben Franklin of ILC-UK said:
“We have made fantastic strides with tackling pensioner poverty over the last 15 years. But future generations may not be so fortunate. A combination of high house prices, low levels of saving and working age poverty presents significant challenges for tomorrow’s pensioners. These are long term problems which require action now. Last week’s Fiscal Sustainability Report highlighted the future potential cost of ageing. Taking action now to reduce working age poverty could contribute to long term savings by future Governments”.

Richard Willets, Director of Longevity at Partnership added:
“Alleviating pensioner poverty is something that we all agree should be a priority. However, rather than simply concentrating on those who are in retirement at the moment, we also need to think about the longer-term future. Those who are experiencing working age poverty at the minute are less likely to be in a position to save, buy their first home and start a pension– all steps which can put them on the road to a more comfortable retirement.  Even with positive moves such as auto-enrolment, we seriously need to consider how we can do more to solve this problem and avoid storing up issues for the future.”

'Mapping Demoraphic Change - A Factpack of statistics from the International Longevity Centre-UK' is available to download below.

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This report highlights how we can do more to prevent dementia, save lives and reduce avoidable costs.

A new Provocation launched today from the ILC-UK and Improving Care 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 authors of the report 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 dementia cases 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.

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The final report of the independent Commission on Hearing Loss, established by ILC-UK.

For too long, hearing loss has been ignored, overlooked and disregarded despite the millions of people experiencing hearing loss and the devastating consequences that it can have on individuals, their families and society as a whole.This report 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, but also highlights a £25 billion loss to the UK economy in potential economic output.

The terms of reference for the Commission on Hearing Loss were to consider the extent of the challenges posed by age-related hearing loss in the UK and how it can be tackled. Commissioners, drawn from a wide-range of different background and sectors, were asked to consider a number of critical questions as part of a series of oral evidence sessions:

  • How and to what extent can hearing loss impact on a person’s quality of life?
  • What are the wider implications of hearing loss with regard to social isolation, loneliness and exclusion, employment and extending working life, equal access to health and social care?
  • What are the current barriers which prevent early detection and support of hearing loss?
  • How can we support people to recognise their hearing loss earlier and come forward for help?
  • How can we de-stigmatise hearing loss and the use of hearing aids?
  • How can public and private health and social care providers improve early detection and hearing services?

The Commissioners:
Chair: Baroness Sally Greengross
Paul Breckell, Chief Executive, Action on Hearing Loss
William Brassington, President of the British Academy of Audiology
Peter Ormerod, Boots Hearingcare
Baroness Howe of Idlicote
Rosie Cooper MP, Member of Parliament for West Lancashire

The Commission has made a series of recommendations, including:

  • For attention of NHS England and Department of Health: Government should publish the long awaited Action Plan on hearing loss. But this must be allied to a national commissioning framework and an appropriate NICE quality standard to ensure high quality services are consistently provided, developed in consultation with patient groups, individuals and professionals – representing the public, private and third sector.
  • 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 Clinical Commissioning Groups: There must be enough flexibility in the hearing assessment, follow-up and aftercare to ensure that it matches peoples’ preferences. This may include an expansion of community-based hearing care as well as home visits.
  • 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.

A copy of the report is available to download below.

For a full report of evidence submitted to the Commission, please click here (opens pdf).

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A Partnership Population Patterns Series brief

ILC-UK, supported by the specialist insurance company, Partnership Assurance Group plc, has begun to undertake a series of events to explore the relationship between our changing demography and public policy.

The third event in the series explored the demographic implications of Scottish independence.

This brief, which was developed out of the discussion held at the Population Patterns event, looks at the demographic change in Scotland and how it can be managed by government; independent or otherwise. It examines the difference between the demographics of England and Scotland, showing them to be closely aligned, and highlights the four key factors which an independent Scotland will need to focus on if is going to cope with the challenges and demands of its ageing population - fertility, migration, ageing and healthy life expectancy.

The brief goes on to highlight key points to consider around this important topic, including:

  • Demographic problems are not unique to Scotland, it is a challenge to all developed countries in developing policy.
  • Scottish politicians, irrespective of a referendum, cannot ignore the impact an ageing population with have on public finances and demographic make-up.
  • Migration could be key to solving the problem of an ageing population and this will have to be taken into account in the development of immigration policy.
  • Scottish politicians will have to tackle the health inequalities, and therefore longevity inequalities, that exist across Scotland.

The presentation slides from this event can be viewed here.

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A report from ILC-UK and Age UK, taking a futures perspective on how communities need to adapt to an ageing society.

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 the need to ensure housing is adaptable to an ageing society.

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.

The report incorporates an ideas bank of suggestions to help ensure 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.
  • 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.

The report sets out a 10 point action plan for local authorities, which includes:

  • Places to meet not places to hire - Offer free space to allow people to come together to talk and enjoy life.
  • Ensure people aren't caught on a bladder leash - Maintain and keep open or incentivise businesses to open up their toilet facilities as a public resource.
  • Build neighbourliness - Find ways of breaking down "safeguarding" barriers that currently prevent generations working together.

The Community matters report was produced following three expert workshops and a conference attended by 100 people. Around 150 expert researchers, policy experts and older people contributed views during a 6 month process.
 

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ILC-UK analysis of the removal of the effective requirement to annuitise in the 2014 Budget.

The most sweeping pension reform of the end of the Coalition, is the end of the effective requirement to annuitise for a large number of people.

Following a detailed exploration of many of the factors likely to determine the choices that people could make at the point of retirement, we argue that there is an urgent need to address a number of issues in order to minimise the risks associated with the new freedoms:
 

  • Effective innovation in products and services

The financial services industry has been set a significant challenge to develop new products and services that will meet the retirement income needs of individuals throughout the duration of retirement, while continuing to demonstrate the value of more traditional product offerings.

In developing new products - including income drawdown for the mass market - the industry will need to carefully consider the extent to which moderate savers are willing and able to bear financial market risk and subsequently whether or not these particular products match specific, individual needs. In order to achieve this aim, providers must prioritise the needs of the end consumer over the needs of the intermediaries who sell and distribute the products.
 

  • The advice gap

The Guidance Guarantee must be part of a process of continuing engagement which starts well in advance of retirement and continues afterwards. As trusted third parties, employers will have a critical role to play in providing guidance before retirement and flagging sources of good financial advice where necessary. The pensions industry also has a vital role in this regard and must deliver clear and easily understandable communications with consumers to inform them of their choices.

Questions remain about the financial viability of providing advice to those with moderate sized pension pots and the capability of the advice industry to be able to do this on a large scale. In order to serve the mass market, cheaper, online or over-the-phone solutions may well be the way forward – particularly for those consumers whose financial circumstances may be relatively simple and can therefore follow a carefully designed decision-tree type process. The financial services industry, the Government and regulators must quickly decide how this can be delivered if we are to close the advice gap which threatens to exacerbate many of the risks associated with the new pension freedoms.
 

  • Behavioural biases

Any mass market guidance and advice processes must build-in an understanding of how the macroeconomic environment combined with the behaviours and characteristics of individuals can induce poor decisions at the point of retirement and beyond. And there must be regulatory safeguards in place to ensure that rogue organisations and practitioners do not take advantage of these behavioural biases in ways that compromise the needs and preferences of the consumer.

As a minimum, the Guidance Guarantee must directly address some of the behavioural traits discussed below, including the systematic underestimation of life expectancy, the tendency to prioritise short term smaller gains over longer term larger gains and the tax and benefit consequences of taking all the pension pot out as a lump sum. In addition, it should also provide generic and understandable information about the possible options facing individuals and their relative pros and cons. Finally, it should provide links to sources of good financial advice – whether that be face to face advisers or specific online tools.
 

Author - Ben Franklin

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A brief for ILC-UK on the role for an equity bank in providing secure income for retirement.

With shrinking pension pots and longer life expectancy, retirement incomes look set to come under increasing pressure unless alternative sources of income become available.

The UK Equity Bank would allow people to exchange a fixed proportion of the equity in their home for a lifetime income linked to inflation.  Providing people with a secure income by unlocking the equity in housing assets could improve standards of living for the benefit of the people themselves, the local community and society as a whole.

This paper was launched at a breakfast meeting in the House of Lords on Thursday 12th June. Speakers included Professor Les Mayhew, co-author of the paper, Nick Kirwan of the ILC-UK and Paul Burstow MP, former Social Care Minister.

Report authors – Professor Les Mayhew and David Smith

Download the report below.

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Our analysis of the most recent wave of the Wealth and Assets Survey, exploring national wealth.

The Wealth and Assets survey is the most comprehensive assessment of household wealth in Great Britain. The latest wave of the survey has just been released which gives us the opportunity to explore the state of the Nations’ wealth and how it has changed since previous waves.

Our analysis has revealed:

Median pension wealth is worryingly low but the story is complicated     

  • During the period 2010-12, median total pension wealth for all those who have saved something into a pension was £46,900.
  • According to the Legal and General annuity calculator, this could provide an annual income of £2,659 over the course of retirement[1]. In effect then, this would only provide enough income to top up that gained through the state pension.
  • If median pension wealth is calculated by including those who have no pension wealth it falls just £7,200! This is driven by the 42% of adults who have no private pension savings.

…pension wealth is higher for older groups but remains inadequate

  • Amongst the 55-64 age cohort, total median pension wealth is £135,900 after excluding all individuals who have saved nothing.
  • Using the same annuity calculator that could deliver an annual income of £7,638 – a significant improvement on the overall median, though still woefully short of what is needed to secure an adequate income in retirement.
  • And even amongst this older age cohort, 28% of individuals have no pension savings whatsoever which is very worrying.

...Gender divides remain stark

  • 37% of women amongst the 55-64 age group have no private pension wealth compared to 19% of men.
  • Median pension wealth for those who have some pension savings, is far lower for women of this age group at just £99,100 compared with £173,100 for men.

…don’t forget younger age cohorts

  • The younger age groups (16-44) were the only age groups to experience a fall in total pension wealth since the last wave of the survey.

Property wealth remains king for many households

  • Property wealth remains the largest component of total household wealth across deciles and the most evenly distributed.

…but property accounts for a lower proportion of total wealth that it did

  • Despite property accounting for such a high proportion of peoples’ total wealth, it has declined since the first wave in 2006/08, while pension wealth has increased.

Savings account…get me out of here

  • The proportion of people with a savings account has fallen from 68% to 58% since the last wave.

Beware of regional differences

  • Total wealth in London has risen by over 30% since the 2006/08 wave by comparison to a fall of 10% in the North East.


Author: Ben Franklin

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An evidence briefing from the 'Community Matters' series

‘Ensuring communities offer what older people want’ is one of a series of three briefings from an ILC-UK and Age UK seminar series exploring how communities need to adapt to an ageing society. This briefings summarise some of the evidence on the topics discussed during the seminars and support a final report, to be launched late May 2014.

This briefing examines what communities provide for older people, how these needs may change (or stay the same) as they age. We know from research on isolation and loneliness that social connections remain an important part of quality of life for many people as they get older, yet as the ‘loneliness epidemic’ continues to hit headlines it is clear that this
 is not being fully addressed in communities. Exploring how activities and services can maintain and building on social networks is key to maintaining wellbeing within the community.

This paper provides background for a discussion seminar which explored how to ensure the future communities deliver the sort of services and activities which an ageing society demands.

This briefing was prepared by Jessica Watson

The other briefings in this series are available to download:

At Home 

Getting out and about

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An evidence briefing from the 'Community Matters' series

‘At home’ is one of a series of three briefings from an ILC-UK and Age UK seminar series exploring how communities need to adapt to an ageing society. This briefings summarise some of the evidence on the topics discussed during the seminars and support a final report, to be launched late May 2014.


The home environment is an important factor in the wellbeing of
people of all ages. For older people who are likely to be spending a substantial proportion of their time at home, the significance of a home environment that supports their wellbeing and an active lifestyle within their communities is of amplified importance. Housing issues impact on independence, personal choice, prevention, and joined-up cross-sector services impact substantially on health and wellbeing - with subsequent repercussions on community engagement.


This briefing examines how people ageing in the community can be supported through good design, planning and adaptation of their homes to support their health and happiness.


This briefing was prepared by Trinley Walker


The other briefings in this series are available to download:
Getting out and about
Ensuring communities offer what older people want

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An evidence briefing from the 'Community Matters' series

‘Getting out and about’ is one of a series of three briefings from an ILC-UK and Age UK seminar series exploring how communities need to adapt to an ageing society. This briefings summarise some of the evidence on the topics discussed during the seminars and support a final report, to be launched late May 2014.


Getting out and about is of vital importance if older people are to remain healthy, happy and active members of the communities they live in. Getting outdoors benefits older people socially, by allowing them to visit friends and interact with members of the community, and practically, by allowing them to access local amenities and services. These activities also help older people to become more integrated into their local community. Despite these benefits, research has shown that as older people age they make fewer trips outside of their home.


This briefing explores the different physical and emotional barriers affecting older people’s ability to leave their house and engage with the community, with a focus on three key areas- transport, the local environment and fear of crime.


This briefing was prepared by Jonathan Scrutton


The other briefings in this series are available to download:
At home
Ensuring communities offer what older people want

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With the independence vote on the horizon, Scotland’s policymakers must face up to the challenges of a falling working age population while also tackling significant public health challenges argues a new ILC-UK report.

The report highlights the demographic changes facing Scotland over the next 20 years - revealing that:

  • By 2037, Scotland’s working age population is expected to be 3.5% smaller than it was in 2013 – the largest percentage fall of any UK nation (England +5%);
  • Assuming employment rates by age remain the same, this would imply a fall of 45,000 (-2%) in total employment compared with a 1.7 million (+6%) rise across the UK as a whole; 
  • In the year 2014, it is anticipated that there will be 19 more babies for every 1,000 women aged 30-34 in England than in Scotland;
  • Since 1981, at birth male life expectancy in Scotland has been around 2 years shorter than across the UK as a whole.  However, to help ensure continued economic growth, Scotland will need to support longer working lives;
  • At birth disability-free life expectancy for males in Scotland is below State Pension Age and four years shorter than for the UK as a whole. It will therefore be particularly critical that Scotland addresses problems associated with health and disability in order to support longer working lives;
  • Over the next two decades the dependency ratio (the ratio of non-working age people to working age) will rise by 40% in Scotland by comparison to a 30% rise in the UK;

The report is being launched at an ILC-UK ‘Population Patterns’ event in Edinburgh – which is part of a broader series of events - supported by the specialist insurance company, Partnership Assurance.

Report author - Ben Franklin

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A Partnership Population Patterns Series brief.

ILC-UK, supported by the specialist insurance company, Partnership Assurance Group plc, has begun to undertake a series of events to explore the relationship between our changing demography and public policy.

The second event in the series explored how much we really know about life expectancy at the highest ages.

The twentieth century saw life expectancy in the UK rise dramatically due to improvements in public health, nutrition and medicine. As a result more people are living into their 90’s than ever before. However, a recent analysis of the 2011 census for England & Wales revealed that the growth of this age group has actually been slower than predicted, with around 30,000 fewer people aged 90 and above than previously thought.

The discovery of ‘missing’ members of the oldest generations is not just a UK phenomenon. Similar patterns have been observed elsewhere, most notably in the United States where the 2010 census counted less than half the number of predicted centenarians.

This brief, which was developed out of the discussions held at the Population Patterns event, suggests that the ‘missing’ 90 year olds could have resulted from the relatively small size of the 90+ cohort leading to a magnification of errors in the Census data. The brief highlights how this uncertainty about the data has an impact on not just our understanding of older people, but on state expenditure and spending by private companies, particularly those operating in the financial services sector.

The brief goes on to provide possible solutions, developed from the event discussions, which would help to ensure the accurate collection and verification of data, including:

  • The use of multiple external and private data sources alongside the Census could help to verify the ages of the oldest old and reduce errors.
  • The government must continue trends of open access to data to ensure accuracy of the oldest old data.
  • The government should consider validating a proportion of data collected on those aged 90+ in the Census to ensure accuracy and account for marginal errors.

The report of the second #populationpatterns seminar is available below.

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A report on the current and projected trends in population ageing.

This report was conducted by ILC-UK and NPC for the Commission on the Voluntary Sector & Ageing. It presents detailed background information on the current and projected trends in various aspects of both the sector and in society with respect to population ageing.

The document's primary purpose is to inform members of the Commission, along with other parties interested in the interplay between the voluntary sector and population ageing, on the essential sectorial and demographic data in England. Where possible, it also provides estimates and projections on what changes may occur in the next ten and twenty years.

This document also served as the background to 'Age of opportunity. Putting the ageing society of tomorrow on the agenda of the voluntary sector today', which develops hypothetical future scenarios for the sector in various areas of interest and issues a challenge for the sector to engage with this debate.

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Summary of a new study exploring the risks and opportunities facing the voluntary sector as a result of the UK’s ageing population.

This report was conducted by ILC-UK and NPC for the Commission on the Voluntary Sector & Ageing.

Tens of thousands more baby boomers are reaching retirement age every year, and by 2020 volunteering by people over 65 will reach a value of more than £15bn a year to UK charities. The most skilled, experienced and demanding cohort of older people are retiring in droves, and Age of Opportunity argues that charities urgently need to adapt to our ageing population to exploit this opportunity if they are to thrive in the future.

Age of Opportunity maps a set of future scenarios across a number of key themes, describing how charities might thrive or struggle in the future, depending on the choices they make now. The paper highlights key statistics on the voluntary sector and the ageing population, including:

  • In 2010, the working hours given by older volunteers to UK charities was equivalent to £10bn. This will grow to over £15bn by 2020, adding a further £5bn to the value of volunteers over 65s.
  • This is equivalent to a century of Red Nose Days–an event which takes two years to plan and thousands of people to make happen.
  • In 2012, the number of people in the UK aged over 100 would only have filled 1/7 of Wembley Stadium. By 2033, they will fill Wembley Stadium almost to capacity.
  • By 2035, life expectancy for men will reach nearly 84, and 87 for women

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A new study exploring the risks and opportunities facing the voluntary sector as a result of the UK’s ageing population.

This report was conducted by ILC-UK and NPC for the Commission on the Voluntary Sector & Ageing.

Tens of thousands more baby boomers are reaching retirement age every year, and by 2020 volunteering by people over 65 will reach a value of more than £15bn a year to UK charities. The most skilled, experienced and demanding cohort of older people are retiring in droves, and Age of Opportunity argues that charities urgently need to adapt to our ageing population to exploit this opportunity if they are to thrive in the future.

Age of Opportunity maps a set of future scenarios across a number of key themes, describing how charities might thrive or struggle in the future, depending on the choices they make now. The paper highlights key statistics on the voluntary sector and the ageing population, including:

  • In 2010, the working hours given by older volunteers to UK charities was equivalent to £10bn. This will grow to over £15bn by 2020, adding a further £5bn to the value of volunteers over 65s.
  • This is equivalent to a century of Red Nose Days–an event which takes two years to plan and thousands of people to make happen.
  • In 2012, the number of people in the UK aged over 100 would only have filled 1/7 of Wembley Stadium. By 2033, they will fill Wembley Stadium almost to capacity.
  • By 2035, life expectancy for men will reach nearly 84, and 87 for women.

 

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A PFRC/ILC-UK report : 'What is the relationship between financial satisfaction and happiness among older people?'

A working paper by David Hayes of the Personal Finance Research Centre under the financial wellbeing in older age programme of work being carried out in collaboration with the International Longevity Centre-UK and funded by the ESRC Secondary Data Analysis Initiative.

Summary findings from this report:

  • Countries where those aged 50 and above report high levels of financial satisfaction are also likely to report high levels of happiness - of the ten countries reporting the highest levels of financial satisfaction, eight also feature among the ten ‘happiest’.
  • There is a continuous relationship between increasing age and both increasing financial satisfaction and decreasing happiness (without controlling for other factors).
  • Significant proportions of the variation in both self-reported financial dissatisfaction and unhappiness among the over 50s can be attributed to the country that an individual lives in (both before and after controlling for individual-level predictor variables).
  • New Zealand and Sweden were the ‘happiest’ nations (97%), while the Swiss were the most satisfied with their finances (87%).
  • The multilevel models show that being divorced or separated; being unemployed; having low levels of education; self-categorising yourself as lower class and having no savings are strong predictors of both being dissatisfied with your household’s financial situation and reporting being unhappy.
  • Over-50s who see themselves as lower-class have almost three times the odds of being unhappy, and are five times more likely to be dissatisfied with their financial situation.
  • After taking account of individual-level predictor variables, both GDP per capita and geographical grouping are significant country-level predictors of both self-reported happiness and self-reported financial satisfaction.
  • European countries that have previously had communist regimes are likely to report low levels of both self-reported financial satisfaction and happiness, with older Georgians feeling the least financially satisfied (12%), and Moldova ranking as the unhappiest nation for older people (33%).

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An ILC-UK report for the Commissioner for Older People in Northern Ireland

This report, entitled “Valuing an Ageing Workforce,” was produced by the International Longevity Centre-UK for the Commissioner for Older People for Northern Ireland, and highlights the need for government and employers to introduce ways to enable older people to remain in the workforce for as long as they wish to.


Northern Ireland is an ageing society, with life expectancy growing at an unprecedented rate – and this is something worth celebrating. More older people are staying in work, and more employers are seeing the value that older workers can bring to the workforce. Since the financial crisis in 2008, employment rates for people aged 50-64, and those over 65, have, for the most part, increased year on year.
What is less apparent is the economic case for supporting more older people to remain in employment for longer. The research report has found that economic output for Northern Ireland could increase by a staggering £2.3 billion by 2037, which equates to an additional 4.4%, if employment rates for the over 65s continue to increase.


This shows that older workers can be more effective than their younger colleagues and make a positive contribution in the workplace, despite widely held misconceptions that somehow productivity and output diminish with age.  Many people will want to stay in work, for a variety of reasons, such as the removal of the previous Default Retirement Age, increase in life expectancy, and for personal fulfillment; and some will stay in work because they need to for financial reasons.


It is essential that appropriate supports are put in place so as to enable older workers to continue to be able to play a positive role in the workforce. This means introducing support for informal carers, flexible working practices, improved public health and promoting a positive view of ageing within human resource departments so as to ensure that older workers can be supported, whatever their circumstances. By working with older people to facilitate their needs, we can enjoy the benefits of a more experienced workforce.

Author: Ben Franklin


This report is available to download below and from the Commissioner for Older People for Northern Ireland website.

 

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An ILC-UK policy briefing looking at the 2014 Budget and OBR forecasts

This note analyses today’s Budget and OBR forecasts from an ILC-UK perspective. This means that we focus primarily on measures that are likely to impact on, or address the challenges of, an ageing population. This note is not therefore just concerned with how policy will impact older people but also the extent to which policy is equitable across generations and whether the chosen measures are likely to be effective in addressing the economic and social challenges of demographic change.

The Budget statement

  • According to the Chancellor, Budget 2014 was a Budget for “makers” “doers” and “savers”.
  • Of particular interest from an ILC-UK perspective were the announcements impacting those at the point of retirement – including abolishing the requirement to annuitise altogether. People with small and large pots will be able to take-up drawdown products, annuitise or take their pension as a lump sum. 
  • We think that while removing ‘the effective requirement’ to take out an annuity will help some by providing additional flexibility, for many others, annuities help to reduce the risk of living in poverty towards the end of life. It is therefore critical that those at retirement are able to access advice in order to make an informed decision.
  • The Budget also included measures to help older savers through a new savings bond for the over 65s, by increasing the limits on ISAs to £15,000 and by abolishing tax on small savings income.
  • These measures – and particularly the older peoples’ savings bond were suggestive of the fact that this was a budget for the Grey Vote. We think it would be fairer if the bond was available to all age groups and not just those over 65.
  • Nevertheless, many of the reforms to savings are positive steps in the right direction, which should help to increase the number of people putting something away at the end of the month. Yet these measures will only go so far given continuing economic pressures. 

The OBR’s Economic Forecasts

  • Despite economic growth for 2014 and 2015 being revised upwards, the UK’s level of economic output will remain far below that implied by the long-term trend rate of growth.
  • Future growth is forecast to be primarily driven by increasing private consumption with question marks remaining about prospects for investment-led growth and with net trade (exports-imports) still negative.
  • Consumption is likely to be driven by rising household liabilities with the OBR revising upwards the pace at which liabilities will rise over the coming years. But incomes will not rise as fast which is likely to mean an erosion of savings.
  • The OBR has also revised up its forecast for the pace at which house prices will grow to 2016. Part of this growth is the consequence of Help to Buy. Strong house price growth is likely to cause problems with affordability – both for those looking to buy as well as those renting.
  • The combination of consumption led growth fueled by rising household liabilities and continued house price growth putting pressure on affordability will continue to put pressure on the Bank of England to maintain loose monetary policy.

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A futures perspective on how we make the UK the best country to grow old in.

The speed at which the world is changing is both inspiring and alarming. We know more; we do more; there’s simply more in the world as we accumulate more ‘stuff’. We’ve even invented a whole other world we can retreat to, just in case the business of life gets too boring: the digital world - literally a new dimension to modern life.

So how do we even begin to contemplate the future? This is the task that Independent Age, together with the International Longevity Centre-UK (ILC-UK), has set itself in putting together this report. Futurology conjures up madcap ideas; visions of unimaginable technological creativity and mind-warping innovation. Yet if we really want to look to the future and take the necessary steps as a society to create better conditions for future generations of older people, we should look at the trends we can predict, the “known knowns”, as former US Defence Secretary, Donald Rumsfeld, would have it.

We know, for example, that we are living longer: one piece of evidence presented to Parliament suggests that 50% of people born in 2007 will live to 103. And the number of people aged 60 or over is expected to pass the 20 million mark by 2031- from nearly 20% of the total population at present to 28% in 2030.

So will the UK become a better or worse country for older people?

This report was launched at a breakfast debate in the House of Lords: 'One year on: Are we ready to make the UK the best country to grow old in?'.

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A report from the PFRC/ILC-UK joint project.

In 2012, the University of Bristol’s Personal Finance Research Centre (PFRC) and the International Longevity Centre UK (ILC-UK) were awarded funding by the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) through its Secondary Data Analysis Initiative to explore financial dimensions of wellbeing in older age. Over 15 months, we worked together to generate and disseminate knowledge on this important issue. This report brings together that knowledge and considers its relevance for policy and practice.

The financial realities of an ageing population are the focus of intense policy concern, in the UK and across the globe. One in six of us in England and Wales are now aged 65 and over; and the over-85s are the fastest growing sector of the population. In 2010, there were 12,640 centenarians in the UK, and this is projected to rise to 160,000 by 2040 and over 0.5 million by 2066.1 As a growing population, older people are increasingly important to the UK economy. At the same time, their finances are coming under increasing pressure, not least from high inflation, high care costs, the global recession and public spending cuts.

The research highlights three main themes that are relevant for policy and practice:

  1. Understanding the older consumer;
  2. Understanding older households’ balance sheets; and
  3. Understanding the financial aspects of wellbeing in later life.

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This report is a representation of an event hosted at the International Longevity Centre-UK in January 2014 on ‘The cost of dying in an ageing society’.

The meeting was intended to discuss and debate funeral costs and how people could be supported to prepare for these in advance, manage them at the time of need, and deal with the ongoing financial impact of bereavement. It also aimed to investigate the role the public, private and third sectors could play in preparing individuals and families for costs associated with death.

Co-organised with the ILC-UK, it was funded by the University of Bath’s Institute of Policy Research (IPR) and Centre for Death and Society (CDAS), with a view to raising these issues in the public domain. Participants included end of life care practitioners, bereavement support providers, insurance companies, cremation and burial providers, and academics.

The presentations from the meeting are briefly outlined, followed by a report of the discussions held. It ends with a review of where to go next, making six recommendations:

  • Building up a body of evidence

Evidence of the problems people face when it comes to affording a funeral is growing,
but there is still considerable scope to bring this together to provide a coherent source of
information that can lead to greater public awareness and policy change.

  • Education for preparedness

Many people are under-prepared for how much a funeral can cost. Greater education,
preferably before the point of need, could help individuals and their families make
decisions about how much to spend on a funeral, and which aspects of it they would like
to prioritise.

  • Reviewing state support

While the death rate has been low over the last few years and in light of the predicted
rise in the death rate, there are signs that the systems for state support require review.

  • A new way of thinking about funerals

There is mileage in promoting a new way of thinking about funerals, which could involve
separating the management of remains from the ritual aspects. This would enable
individuals and families more time to make emotional and financial decisions about the
ritual elements of the funeral.

  • A culture of talking about death

We live in a country where death is not a common part of everyday life, especially when
compared to some of our European counterparts. Yet as the death rate begins to rise,
more and more people will be impacted on by the loss of an individual. Promoting a
more open discussion about death and its financial consequences may assist those
affected.

  • Working together

The public, private and third sectors could benefit greatly from a more cohesive
approach to addressing funeral costs. For example, while Government could develop
policies that aim to better educate the public on preparing for the cost of funerals, the
third and private sector could play a vital role in ensuring that the messages get down to
the grass roots level. Responsibility for all of the above suggestions does not lie with any
one sector.

For more details on the event held in January 2014, click here.

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A brief examining the demands that will be placed on the care workforce over the coming decades

This report reviews the state of the adult social care workforce and how it may have to evolve to meet the challenges it is likely to face over the coming decade. This report was supported by Anchor.

The Future Care Workforce finds that the adult social care sector in England will need to add approximately 1 million workers by 2025 in response to population ageing and the implied increase in the numbers of people with disabilities. The workforce will also have to be increasingly diverse in order to deliver a more personalised service to those in need of care and support. 

While there is evidence of good practice across the care workforce, there are a number of persistent challenges which could prevent the sector from evolving as required over the next decade. Many of these challenges are likely to be exacerbated by continued fiscal consolidation, which has resulted in local authorities reducing their expenditure on care services. These challenges include:  

  • Workers are typically low paid and there is evidence of some providers curtailing minimum wage laws.
  • While working in the care sector can be rewarding it can also be emotionally challenging. The vast majority of care workers have faced verbal abuse (93%) and a significant proportion physical abuse (53%).
  • Staff turnover is generally high, with higher staff turnover linked to an increased chance of death for those in care.
  • The prevalence of training and qualifications across the sector is low adding to the perception that there are few learning and development opportunities.
  • Women make up the vast proportion of the care workforce (80%) and there is also a high proportion of non-British workers (18.2%). It will be difficult to meet expected demand for care if recruitment focuses solely on these demographic groups.  

In order to meet these challenges, this report makes a numbers of recommendations including:

  • While the funding of adult social care is beyond the scope of this report, it is clear that government funding must rise in line with the needs of the population to ensure that more individuals do not slip through the net and receive the care and support they deserve.
  • The abuse of national minimum wage regulations is clearly unacceptable. But rather than just penalising the guilty providers ex post, we must identify and address the underlying causes of this at an industry-wide level to prevent it from occurring in the first place. 
  • Reducing staff turnover is not just about pay and terms of employment, but also about ensuring that employees have the right support structures in place to drive career development as well as supporting them through times of stress or abuse in the workplace.
  • As recommended by the Cavendish Review, a central quality assurance mechanism is required to verify the qualifications of care workers who undertake learning and development with different providers. Being able to take your qualifications with you from one employer to the next is a crucial part of building a social care profession.
  • Men, older workers, the unemployed and the underemployed can all play a big role in filling the potential supply gap. In order to entice these individuals into the care sector, providers will need to use innovative promotional campaigns to address persisting stereotypes and target underrepresented groups.
  • The care sector must learn from examples of best practice both from within the sector as well as from other low pay sectors to identify how it can improve staff morale and retention through relatively low cost measures.

Author: Ben Franklin

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A Partnership Population Patterns Series brief.

ILC-UK, supported by the specialist insurance company, Partnership Assurance Group plc, has begun to undertake a series of events to explore the relationship between our changing demography and public policy.

We started the series by exploring how proposals to change the way we undertake our Census may impact on our ability to understand our future society.

The Census was first carried out in 1801 - when the official population of Great Britain was revealed for the first time at 9 million.  But current plans may mean significant changes to the future collection of data. In September 2013, the ONS initiated a three month consultation on the future of the national Census.

The ONS has proposed two options for reform. Either continuing with a Census each decade, but conducted primarily online; or using annual but smaller surveys in conjunction with existing government administrative data. The motivation is partly cost. However, the ONS has also stressed that any decision needs to be based not on cost, but on how to get the best and most timely information given technological advances.
Census findings are a tool to help governments allocate spending and plan ahead. The smaller annual survey would identify demographic and social trends more quickly but would be less detailed and comprehensive.

The Census has uncovered social phenomena that would otherwise have remained hidden – slum housing, fertility rates and transport among them. For example, the 1971 Census revealed how many people were living without hot running water. These findings can have a marked impact on policy. Danny Dorling, Professor of Human Geography at Oxford University, said “If you want to highlight the inequalities in a society there is no better way than to ask everybody how many bedrooms they have and how many people live in their house.”

The case for replacing the traditional Census with an annual alternative is based on a number of tenets, one of which is cost. The 2011 Census cost £480m; in 2021, the cost is expected to be £800m if the same, paper-based system were used. Replacing the Census would also allow for more timely data for planners and decision makers and could potentially avoid statistical surprises such as the unexpectedly big population growth uncovered by the 2011 Census.

Responding to the ONS Beyond 2011 consultation on the future of the Census, ILC-UK has urged the Government not to scrap the decennial census. But alongside support for a predominantly online Census, ILC-UK’s response supports a greater use of administrative data. It also calls for a debate on how other “big data” can help us better understand our society. The ILC-UK response to the ONS Beyond 2011 consultation is available here.

The report of the first #populationpatterns seminar is available below.

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An investigation into linking state pension age to longevity and healthy life expectancy

This discussion paper, “Linking state pension age to longevity: Tackling the fairness challenge”, aims to summarise the key issues regarding the use of life expectancy measures in UK policy, and has been published as part of the Age UK Research Fellowship.


The substantial increase in life expectancy is one of the great human achievements of the past century. However, increased life expectancy and the ageing of the population, has often been considered a threat to the economy due to the increased size of the retirement population in relation to the working population. From 2007 to 2032, public expenditure on pensions and related benefits is projected to rise from 4.7% of Gross Domestic Product (GDP) to 6.2% (Malley et al., 2011). Linking life expectancy to policy appears a useful strategy for helping to address this imbalance, but will this approach be effective and equitable?


This report investigates these questions by exploring the drivers behind worldwide demographic shifts and the ageing of the population as well as discussing how life expectancy is calculated. This is followed by an analysis of how life expectancy has been linked to various policies in the UK, focussing on pension age, but also considering other benefits that have eligibility tied to age or pension status. It also explores alternative measures that take account of health and disability, their relationship to socio-economic status and how other countries have addressed this issue.


The paper highlights how increasing the state pension age raises a number of equality issues, and may not provide the perceived financial benefits, including:

  • While increasing state pension age appears a natural extension of improved life expectancy the extent to which workforce participation can be pushed into later years is worthy of consideration. Life expectancy is a measure of quantity of life and is significantly longer than measures of quality of life such as healthy life expectancy and disability-free life expectancy.
  • Measures such as healthy life expectancy and disability-free life expectancy vary significantly by region and social class, and in consequence particular groups are more likely to be disadvantaged by a rise in the state pension age than others, particularly those from disadvantaged areas and lower social classes.
  • Increasing state pension age into ages where disability rates are higher, raises concerns about transferring spending from the State Pension to disability and unemployment benefits.

Authors: David Sinclair, Kirsten Moore and Ben Franklin

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Linking state pension age to longevity - key points and recommendations

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An analysis using the third wave of Understanding Society

Using data from the UK’s largest social survey, Understanding Society, new research reveals that people who are struggling to manage their finances in old age have eight times the odds of having reduced levels of mental wellbeing.
The new evidence is published today in a working paper published by the Personal Finance Research Centre (PFRC) at the University of Bristol and the International Longevity Centre UK (ILC-UK). The research has been produced as part of the ILC-UK and PFRC project on “financial wellbeing in older age” funded by the ESRC’s Secondary Data Analysis Initiative.


The new research reveals:

  • Compared to those who are living comfortably, those who say they are just getting by have double the odds of reporting lower levels of mental wellbeing, after controlling for all other factors.
  • However, this pales compared to those who are finding it very difficult to get by financially, who have almost eight times the odds of reporting reduced mental wellbeing compared to those who are living comfortably.

The research highlights a strong association between age and mental wellbeing:

  • While more than one-in-five of those aged 50-54 show worryingly low levels of mental wellbeing, this drops to 15 per cent of those aged 80 and above. However, the age group displaying the highest levels of positive mental wellbeing are those aged 70-74.
  • While just a quarter (26 per cent) of those aged between 50 and 54 feel that they are living comfortably, 40 per cent of those aged 80 and above report the same.
  • Only one per cent of those aged 80 and above feel that they are finding things very difficult financially, compared to five per cent of those aged 50-54, and three per cent of all respondents.

After controlling for the other factors, the research finds:

  • Older women are more likely to show signs of reduced mental wellbeing than men (odds of 1.5).
  • Older people who are divorced or separated have 1.2 times the odds of displaying poor levels of mental wellbeing, compared to those who are married or in a civil partnership.
  • Those who live in a property with a mortgage have 1.2 times the odds of reporting lower levels of mental wellbeing
  • Older people who are unemployed have double the odds of reduced mental wellbeing, compared to those in full or part-time employment.
  • Retired people have 1.4 times the odds of having reduced levels of mental wellbeing, while the long-term sick or disabled have almost five times the odds of poor mental wellbeing (odds of 4.7).
  • People in rural areas have slightly lower odds of having reduced mental wellbeing than those in urban areas (odds of 0.9).

Other reports from the PFRC and ILC-UK partnership include: Demystifying non-mortgage borrowing in older age: a longitudinal approach, The mortgage debt of older households and the effect of age, Understanding the oldest old or you can read more information on the PFRC website.

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Analysis of the Wealth and Assets survey as part of the ILC-UK and PFRC collaboration programme on financial wellbeing in older age.

This new research by Andrea Finney of PFRC at the University of Bristol reveals the persistence of debt in old age as the “squeezed middle age” struggle with the both costs of essentials and childcare costs.

‘Demystifying non-mortgage borrowing in older age: a longitudinal approach’, is published by PFRC and the International Longevity Centre–UK (ILC-UK) as part of the Secondary Data Analysis Initiative funded by the Economic and Social Research Council.

The research analyses the Wealth and Assets Survey, finding that:

Ageing effects overpower cohort effects in explaining patterns of borrowing

  • One in four people aged 50 and over have outstanding non-mortgage borrowing, each owing an average of £4,500.
  • The oldest-old are much less likely to have outstanding borrowing than their younger counterparts. The research finds that this is principally the effect of ageing, rather than the cohort someone was born into, although cohort effects may play a greater role as people approach their 50s.

Double-edged pressures on the ‘squeezed middle age’

  • Having high fixed household costs, for example from rent or mortgage payments or having dependent children in the household, is a key factor in driving older people’s credit use. Low incomes and drops in income compound this further.
  • This underlines the particular pressures on in-work older people – who may also have children to provide for – not least with pay rises continuing to be outstripped by inflation and the continued decline in traditional (defined benefit) pensions.

‘Too much month at the end of the money’ contributes to older people’s credit use

  • Older people who struggle to make their incomes last until the end of the week or month are consistently more likely to have outstanding borrowing, and to owe more, than their counterparts who routinely have money left over.

Borrowing begets borrowing, even in older age

  • With fewer than one in five older people transitioning into or out of borrowing over a two-year period, the dominant picture is one of persistence in credit use.
  • Existing credit users – including those in their late 60s and early 70s – were more likely to become bigger borrowers (owing more after two years) than non-credit users were to become borrowers.

The effects of the financial crisis yet to impact older borrowers

  • There is no evidence that the constriction in credit supply which followed the financial crash of 2008 significantly impacted older people’s actual levels of borrowing.

Other reports from the PFRC and ILC-UK partnership include: The mortgage debt of older households and the effect of age, Understanding the oldest old or you can read more information on the PFRC website.

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2013 Defra Rural Ageing Research by ILC-UK in conjunction with TNS-BMRB.

ILC-UK in conjunction with TNS-BRMB were commissioned by DEFRA to conduct a study on how local service design and delivery needs to respond to an ageing rural population.

Rural areas face disproportionate challenges arising from an aging population, compared with urban areas, not least as nearly a quarter of all older people live in rural areas, and as they age their requirements for access to services such as Health, Transport, and Social Services are likely to increase. For service commissioners and deliverers, it is important to understand how ageing impacts upon service delivery so that services can be tailored to address those needs and ensure equitable service delivery to an increasingly important sector of the population.

This research project aimed to:

  • Understand the impact of an older and ageing population in rural areas on service demand and delivery;
  • Demonstrate where and how the design and delivery of key services need to be tailored to meet the present and future needs of an ageing rural population; and
  • To identify any underlying principles of good practice in designing and delivering key services to an older population.

The initial research questions this project sought to answer include:

  • What effects do an older population have on the demand for key services in rural areas?
  • What are the implications of an older and ageing rural population for service design and delivery?
  • How are service designers and deliverers addressing issues relating to an older and ageing rural population?
  • How does service design and delivery currently differ in rural areas compared to urban areas?
  • What barriers and challenges to successfully meeting the needs of an older and ageing rural population exist from the service delivery perspective;
  • What barriers and challenges are experienced by older service users?
  • How do needs and experiences differ between different age groups of the older population, including comparisons between those of working (aged 50+) and retirement age?
  • Identify a range of good practice case studies to illustrate lessons from successful and non successful service delivery tailored for an older and ageing rural population.

The research covers key public services from across social care, health care and local council services including housing and transport.

Interim reports of the evidence review, qualitative research and best practice case studies are available on the Defra website.

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: creating and communicating an End of Life Care register that works for the medical and legal professions

This report is a representation of the 2013 meeting ‘Creating and communicating a National End of Life Care Register that works for the medical and legal professions’.

The meeting was intended to update key stakeholders (including representatives from Government departments, practicising clinicians, lawyers and academics) on progress on the Electronic Palliative Care Coordination System (EPaCCS) as well as considering the challenges facing the delivery of excellent End of Life Care. EPaCCS is designed to work across care settings, as a single source of information of an individual’s desires and preferences for their care, including advance care planning and information sharing.

The original presentations of the speakers are also available to download here.

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An examination of the UK adult immunisation policy framework in light of new European research conducted by SAATI (Supporting Active Ageing Through Immunisation).

SAATI is a voluntary, pan-European partnership of individuals, from a variety of backgrounds including clinicians, health promotion experts and industry among others, who have coalesced around a shared commitment to tackle low public awareness of the risk and burden of vaccine-preventable diseases.

In November 2013, SAATI published, ‘Adult vaccination: a key component of healthy ageing. Benefits of life-course immunisation in Europe’. Seven vaccine-preventable diseases were focussed on: flu, pneumonia, herpes zoster, invasive pneumococcal disease, pertussis, diphtheria and tetanus.

This report, ‘Immune response. Adult immunisation in the UK’, incorporates evidence emerging from the SAATI report but takes a UK perspective on the findings. A focus group involving key experts from the immunisation policy landscape in the UK, including those involved in front-line delivery informed findings. This report has been funded through an unrestricted educational grant from Pfizer International Operations.

The case for adult immunisation as set out in the report includes:

  • Vaccination has an instrumental role to play as a preventative public health intervention, within broader healthy ageing strategies,
  • A greater focus on the vaccination of older adults is particularly important due to immunosenescence, antimicrobial resistance and global migration,
  • There is strong evidence regarding the cost effectiveness of adult immunisation as a public health intervention; utility of immunisation as a cost effective measure was found for four of the seven vaccine-preventable diseases within the EU SAATI report, while for the other three vaccines, a lack of studies meant that this analysis could not be undertaken.

The report highlights a number of policy recommendations that include:

  • Joint Strategic Needs Assessments (JSNA’s) should take a life-course approach to Immunisation,
  • Health and Wellbeing Boards should ensure that that life-course vaccination is adequately considered as part of health planning andb commissioning,
  • Commissioning arrangements for immunisation should support the uptake of adult vaccination.

The report provides a strong rationale for adopting a life-course approach to immunisation within the context of healthy ageing.

Download the report below.

Authors: David Sinclair, Trinley Walker

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Current societal and financial challenges are demanding a revision of how health budgets are spent with a view to increasing both savings and sustainability.

In light of these challenges, the SAATI Partnership has launched their report on “Adult vaccination: a key component of healthy ageing - Benefits of life-course immunisation in Europe” to raise awareness of the health and socio-economic benefits of a life-course approach to immunisation.

This SAATI commissioned research, that received financial support from Pfizer, provides an overview of the state of adult immunisation in the EU27 and the value of implementing better immunisation policies for the European adult population from a public health and macro-economic perspective.

The report consolidates existing research on the incidence of the main vaccine-preventable diseases in Europe. It sheds light on the gaps existing in adult immunisation policies in EU Member States and identifies the key determinants for the successful implementation of adult vaccination policies across Europe. It also provides practical recommendations to improve vaccination rates in adults. Finally, it includes a snapshot of the adult immunisation policy landscape in each EU Member State, with the aim of helping to facilitate national decision-making.

The full report is available for download below, and an Executive Summary of the report is available here.

Supporting documents are available to download here:

GMAS Fiscal Impact of Adult Vaccination in the Netherlands (incl methodology)
GMAS Study On Fiscal Impact of Adult Vaccination in The Netherlands
HERON - Cost effectiveness of adult immunisation strategies
Supporting Active Ageing through Immunisation (SAATI): Burden of Seven Key Vaccine-Preventable Diseases in EU27
Calling for a European life-course immunisation strategy
 

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Financial transfers from grandparents to grandchildren.

 

England’s ageing population has resulted in grandparents playing an increasingly important role in the lives of their grandchildren. Exploring the dynamics of these relationships is crucial in order to create a complete understanding of various behaviours across the life course.

This report explores new research on the levels and patterns of financial support from grandparents found in the 2010 wave of the English Longitudinal Study on Ageing (ELSA).

The new research carried out by the International Longevity Centre-UK (ILC-UK), and kindly supported by Key Retirement Solutions and Partnership, highlights how grandparents are playing a vital role in supporting the financial wellbeing of future generations.

Headline findings of the research include:

  • One-fifth of grandparents in England aged 50+ gave money to grandchildren – totalling over £647 million in 2010
  • Across England, grandparents gave a cumulative total of almost £333.8 million to their grandchildren in 2010. Contributions to Child Trust Funds were of a similar amount, at £313.8 million in total.

The report also investigates the factors affecting the likelihood of grandparents giving financially to their grandchildren, finding that grandparental givers are typically well-off relative to non-givers, reporting higher levels of income and financial wealth. Other determining factors included:

  • A higher proportion of grandparents aged 75-79 gave than from any other age group and 80-84 year olds gave the highest amount on average.
  • Grandparents who have lower or no mortgage debt are more likely to give.
  • Caring for grandchildren increases the likelihood of giving money to them.
  • Grandmothers and married grandparents (rather than separated or divorced) are also more likely to give.

Brian Beach, Research Fellow at ILC-UK said: “This research reveals that millions of grandparents are providing financial support to younger generations. For grandchildren, these transfers are likely arriving at a crucial transition point, impacting educational and housing opportunities. As people live longer and society ages, grandparental giving may have an increasingly important impact on the social mobility of grandchildren.

Ged Hosty, Managing Director of Equity Release at Partnership, said:  “As families become increasingly financially stretched and time-poor, grandparents are stepping in more and more to provide support.  However, while this trend is to be welcomed as it helps to draw families closer together, it can put a strain on the grandparents finances that they may struggle to recover from. 

Therefore, it is vitally important that people consider all their assets – including their homes – ahead of retirement and take steps to ensure that they can provide as much help as needed without detriment to their own retirement aspirations.

Dean Mirfin, Group Director, Key Retirement Solutions said: "It is evident that with extended generations increasingly amongst today's population that grandparents are opting to help with their grandchildren, not just in terms of time but also financially.

"Grandparents in many cases are taking a pragmatic view with regard to this financial support seeing it as inheritance at a time when money is needed most or has the potential to most influence the financial well-being of the rest of their families. For many being there to witness the impact of their support is a key driver to gift at the right times, and to direct how that support is used, and this is a trend we expect to see continue."

To download a copy of the Executive Summary, click here.

To download the full report, follow the 'Download a PDF' link below.

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An analysis using the Wealth and Assets Survey 2008-10

Is there a relationship between a person’s age and mortgage borrowing, or the difficulties they face meeting their payments?

Holding a mortgage, and particularly a heavy mortgage, into older age can dramatically affect people’s wellbeing- it reduces the amount of money households can realise from their homes and may contribute to problem debt, reducing further the limited resources many people have in their retirement.

Using data from the 2008-10 Wealth and Assets Survey the ILC-UK, in partnership with The Personal Finance Research Centre, have explored how age effects mortgage borrowing amongst people aged 50 and over.

The research examines three key areas. Firstly, the effect of age in predicting mortgage borrowing in older households. Secondly, the research explores the relationship between age and heavy mortgage borrowing. Finally, the paper investigates the likelihood of an older mortgaged household having difficulties in meeting their monthly mortgage payments.

Key facts:

  • One in five of all households (21 per cent) headed by someone aged 50 or over had outstanding mortgage borrowing on their main home in 2008-10.
  • Mortgage borrowing was highest among the youngest group of older households, those headed by someone aged under 55 (51 per cent).
  • Among the over 50s with outstanding mortgages, the mean average owed was £62,200.
  • 13 per cent of all older mortgaged households were struggling to repay their mortgage.
  • As people over the age of 50 get older, they are less likely to have a mortgage and the amount they owe decreases.
  • The oldest mortgagors are more vulnerable to financial instability as they owe more relative to the value of their homes, resulting from both lower value properties and a high use of interest-only mortgages.

This publication is also available on the PFRC website.

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This review of evidence and policy across Europe uncovers a hidden burden of constipation affecting older people

Visit the Burden of Constipation website http://www.burdenofconstipation.com/

ILC-UK, supported by Norgine and working alongside a steering group of European experts, have conducted a European review of the evidence and policy on constipation in older people, particularly those living in residential care settings.

The burden of constipation in our ageing society: working towards better solutions aimed to draw on evidence available as to the extent of the impact of constipation, as an often misunderstood and misrepresented topic. Though highlighting the impact of constipation on those affected in terms of pain, quality of life and emotion wellbeing, the review seeks to improve knowledge and understanding of this issue. It also aims to highlight the impact of untreated or under-treated constipation on healthcare resources, and to identify and evaluate existing guidance and guidelines on diagnosis and management of constipation, and to highlight where gaps exist.

The key findings of the report are that constipation is under-recognised in terms of the impact it has on physical health and quality of life. Of particular importance in an older age group, constipation can exacerbate symptoms in patients with mental conditions such as dementia. If left untreated, constipation can have serious medical consequences, such as faecal impaction, which may require admission to hospital. As with all health conditions affecting older people, we will see a rise in this issue as the population ages unless action is taken. Constipation is often not managed effectively, with a lack of evidence-based guidance on the management of constipation in older adults across Europe.

The report highlights a number of areas where action can be taken to improve this situation:

  • Functional constipation should not be underestimated or trivialised and should not simply be considered as an inevitable consequence of ageing or frailty
  • Constipation should be classified and recognised as a condition in its own right, not just a set of symptoms associated with other disorders
  • Recognition and awareness of the typical symptoms and causes of constipation, as well as understanding how to effectively prevent and treat it, should be a training priority across the whole multi-disciplinary team and for social care professionals working with older people
  • Constipation needs to be better diagnosed so it can be promptly treated and managed more effectively in line with agreed best practice and recognised standards
  • The taboo nature of constipation needs to be addressed amongst the general public such that older people start to feel more comfortable and less embarrassed about self-reporting suspected constipation, knowing that they will be taken seriously and always treated with respect
  •  Highlight the true cost of failing to effectively manage constipation in older people, in terms of economic and societal burden to health services, as well as the cost in terms of individual suffering and reduction in quality of life.

The full report is available to download below, or the executive summary of this report can be downloaded here http://www.ilcuk.org.uk/images/uploads/publication-pdfs/Executive_Summary.pdf

A website with further details and resources for practitioners is available at: http://www.burdenofconstipation.com/

ILC-UK authors: Jessica Watson, Lisa Wilson, David Sinclair.

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A review of policies in place across the European Union and its Member States that are supporting older workers.

‘Working Longer: an EU Perspective’ presents a view of policies in place to enable people to stay in work up to retirement age and beyond. The report looks at the current situation for older workers across the EU including new figures from pan European datasets, proposes the case for supporting working longer, and reviews legislation, policy change and other support at both an EU-wide and Member State level on this issue.

The review identifies a number of key trends and challenges which need to be overcome in order to ameliorate the discrimination and lack of support faced by many people who wish to continue working. These trends include achieving gender equality, skilling up the older workforce, and tackling ageism and health issues faced by this group. It also notes larger economic trends to be considered, such as how older workers can be supported in recession, and matching the supply and demand of older workers within the labour force.

A number of policy areas are brought into focus, and the report identifies key actions to be taken with regards to:

  • Taking a life course approach to supporting workers
  • Making better use of fiscal incentives to delay retirement
  • Creating more, better, and appropriate jobs for an ageing workforce
  • Addressing the inequalities faced by this group, both in terms of age and gender discrimination
  • Supporting a targeted research agenda to better understand the multifactorial issues in extending working lives

This report has been informed by a series of profiles of each of the EU-28, examining Member States’ policies and structures that are supporting older workers. From these, key examples have been brought out to supplement the broader policy review.

Authors: David Sinclair, Jessica Watson and Brian Beach.

‘Working Longer: An EU Perspective’ and the report containing the profiles of Member States are available to download below.

EU Member State Profiles


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A briefing from ILC-UK and the Personal Finance Research Centre on the 85+ age group with new findings from Understanding Society

Using new data from UK’s largest ever social survey, Understanding Society, PRFC and ILC-UK have uncovered startling preliminary findings about the ‘oldest old’ (aged over 85) and their levels of participation, wellbeing and health.

This new analysis, published as part of ESRC SDAI funded initiative is part of a major project exploring the financial dimensions of wellbeing and wider quality of life measures in older age.

PRFC and ILC-UK plan to extend analysis of Understanding Society to look at the financial wellbeing of the oldest old.

A blog on these findings can be found here.

 

Understanding the Oldest Old

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We all know that people are living longer but how is that changing our society?

What is the impact on demand for housing? How will pensions be affected? How will we care for our growing older population when the population of working age is shrinking?

These types of debates are increasingly being played out in the media and in political circles but in order for such debates to be productive, they have to be well informed.

This is why ILC-UK has produced a ‘Factpack’ of demographic statistics for the UK. The 12-page booklet provides statistics on a range of topics from life expectancy to housing supply, from pensions to the popularity of smart-phones amongst today’s older generations.  The information has been collated from a range of official sources including the Office for National Statistics, the European Commission and from other research organisations.

Here is just a selection of the statistics featured in the “Factpack”:

  • At 12.2 million, the number of pensioners in the UK is equivalent to the combined populations of Finland, Latvia, Lithuania and Estonia.
  • One third of babies born in 2012 in the UK are expected to survive to celebrate their 100th birthday.
  • Health Life Expectancy at birth is 63.5 years for men and 65.7 for women. Increase in life expectancy is currently outstripping the increase in HLE.
  • Spending on long-term care is projected to rise by around £14bn by 2061/62.
  • In June 2013 there were over 1 million workers over the age of 65 in the UK – the highest since records began.
  • 28% of those aged 75 and over have internet access in their home. 3% of over 75s own a smart phone.

Commenting on the publication of the booklet, David Sinclair, Assistant Director of Policy and Communications at ILC-UK, said:

The ageing of our society is an increasingly hot topic of debate amongst policy makers and in media circles. Populations are living longer – how do we respond? Knowing how to answer that question relies, first and foremost, on us having the right facts available so that we can have an informed debate. This Factpack provides a crucial guidebook for policy-makers, journalists and opinion formers on the demographic trends that we are witnessing in Britain today”.

Download a PDF of the factpack below.

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ILC-UK and Malnutrition Task Force report

ILC-UK and Malnutrition Task Force have jointly published a review of the impact of malnutrition on older people and the reported costs and benefits of interventions.  In this report Dr Lisa Wilson (ILC-UK) considers the cost of malnutrition in the UK and the interventions and preventative measures which have been proven to work in tackling both the causes and consequences of malnutrition.

The Malnutrition Task Force is an independent group of experts across Health, Social Care and Local government united to address the problem of avoidable and preventable malnutrition in older people. More information is available on the Malnutrition Task Force website: http://www.malnutritiontaskforce.org.uk/.

Key Facts
1. It is estimated that 1 in 10 people over 65 living in the community are malnourished or at risk.

2. Research has shown that malnourished people;
a. saw their GP twice as often,
had 3 times the number of hospital admissions and
b. stayed in hospital more than 3 days longer than those who were well nourished (Guest et al, 2011).

3. 30% of those identified as malnourished by their GP remained malnourished for a further 6 months after diagnosis (Guest et al, 2011).

4. The number of people aged 65 and over is projected to rise by nearly 50% in the next 20 years to over 16 million. (Office for National Statistics, 2011; Age UK, 2013). We cannot ignore the problem of malnutrition any longer; there is a ‘cost’ to doing nothing as the situation could get worse.

5. Malnutrition increases dependency on family, carers and support services (Carers UK, 2011).

6. ONS is associated with a reduction of overall hospital readmissions by 30% (Cawood et al, 2012) and NICE deems appropriate treatment with ONS to be cost effective (NICE, 2006).

7. Maintaining independence, preventing isolation, ensuring access to food and services, preventing poverty and ensuring quality of life are critical components in preventing malnutrition. Evaluated community meal services demonstrate a positive impact in achieving this.

8. Food, hydration and nutrition do not exist in isolation from other influences on health and wellbeing. Therefore, a holistic approach to the individual’s needs is required, inclusive of teams and organisations providing integrated care, support and treatment.

Author: Dr Lisa Wilson

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The development of a whole new financial savings product called Personal Care Savings Bonds (PCSBs) could help ease the social care funding crisis facing the UK.

Similar to the Premium Bond, PCSBs could be bought by any adult at a nominal value of £1. Unlike premiums bonds they would accumulate interest as well as pay monthly prizes. However, PCSBs could only be cashable when the owner passes a social care assessment or upon death.

The concept of PCSBs will be presented in a launch event at the House of Lords on Thursday 13 June. The proposal for the new bond is contained in a discussion paper co-authored by Professor Les Mayhew and Dr David Smith of Cass Business School, part of City University London, in partnership with the International Longevity Centre - UK (ILC-UK).

Professor Mayhew has been researching the problems posed by ageing population on health and social care for 15 years. He says:

“Paying for social care is a long term issue and pressures on services will increase throughout the century as people live longer and the population ages. The funding crisis will continue for the foreseeable future unless long term solutions are developed.

“Whilst the Dilnot capped cost model has gone some way to address the potentially catastrophic costs of social care to some individuals, the fact remains that insufficient funds are being injected into the system.

“PCSBs could provide the basis for a new way of approaching funding care, in which responsibility is shared by the individual and the state. PCSBs provide an opportunity for individuals from all economic backgrounds to have a stake in their future social care funding needs.

Chief Executive of the International Longevity Centre UK, Baroness Sally Greengross welcomes the report saying:

“If people are to save for their future, especially people who are on lower incomes or are less wealthy, it is essential that they have opportunities to do so in a way that is simple, engaging, and safe. Equally, they must not be penalised for having done so through means tested support systems.

“For these reasons, I welcome this paper. It is an important and timely contribution to stimulating the debate on how we can bring more money into the social care system. It proposes a way to help people, especially less wealthy people, to save for their future and have more choices about when they receive care, the type of care and support they would like, and how it is provided.”

How PCSBs work

  • Each bond has a nominal value assumed to be £1 and is entered into a monthly prize draw; prize winners are individual bond holders who can elect to receive the money or re-invest it in more bonds thus increasing their personal fund.
  • Bond values, both the prize element and accumulated value, will be tax free. PCSBs will normally be purchased out of taxed income, unlike personal pensions, though similar to Premium Bonds and lottery tickets. They would be purchasable over the internet, by standing order, and from local post offices and/or shops.
  • Cash can only be withdrawn from deposits on being assessed as needing social care or on death. This means that the chance of winning a prize would increase with age as long as their fund accumulated in line with the total fund, and would reach a maximum value at the point of needing care or at the point of death.
  • It follows that the longer a person lives without triggering social care, the larger the fund will be when it is required. For example a person aged 90 would be up to 162 times more likely to win a prize than an 18 year old (assuming they saved regularly).
  • For those who die before triggering a social care assessment, the value of the accumulated fund would transfer to a person’s estate to be inherited by persons or others of the deceased person’s choice. This addresses one of the perceived problems of insurance for long-term care in which prospective policyholders may be concerned that they will not receive a benefit due to small print in the policy. With PCSBs, even if they do not receive a payment for care, their estate will get the benefit.
  • In some cases bond values on death could be used to pay funeral costs replacing some public expenditure that would have been incurred under the Social Fund. This would represent a small but useful saving on welfare expenditure and would provide cheap form of funeral insurance for people who would not usually buy these products.
  • The research shows that once fully mature the fund could be worth as much as £80bn and make and annual contribution to the UK care economy of over £2.5bn annually. Annual prize money would be worth around £700m.

This paper was launched at an event in the House of Lords on 13th June 2013. Professor Mayhew's presentation slides can be viewed on the event page.

 

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Extra Care housing can play a vital role in reducing the isolation and loneliness of older people, but too few people benefit, warns a leading think-tank on ageing and demographic change.

A report by the International Longevity Centre UK (ILC-UK) entitled "What role for extra care housing in a socially isolated landscape?" for the Housing Learning & Improvement Network, has found that older people who move into extra care housing very often find this brings great benefits to their social lives and helps them to develop new friendships.

The report argues that the design of extra care housing plays an important part in helping to develop a community spirit. Extra Care housing is designed so that each resident has their own self-contained home but with communal facilities - restaurants, health centres, hobby rooms - and assisted care all on-site. The degree of independence this offers combined with the communal areas, organised activities and specialist care enables Extra Care housing to create a lively atmosphere that helps foster new relationships and support networks.

The report finds however, that keeping the momentum of innovation, attracting an appropriate mix of residents and ensuring diversity in tenure are significant challenges for the sector.

ILC-UK argues there is a need to demonstrate to policy-makers the huge role that Extra Care housing can play in reducing the isolation and loneliness of older people to ensure that the right levels of funding for such schemes are made available.

Dr. Dylan Kneale, Head of Research at ILC-UK and author of the report, said:
"We know that loneliness is bad for our health and that around one in ten over 65s describes themselves as always or often lonely. Good housing could offer a solution to loneliness and isolation. Because of the ethos, design, activities, and sense of community within many Extra Care housing schemes, they offer potential to tackle isolation and loneliness. Extra Care providers should consider how they can ensure that their mix of residents, services and tenures, best contributes to tackling isolation."

Jeremy Porteus, Director of the Housing Learning and Improvement Network - the organisation who commissioned the research, said:
"This report makes an important contribution to our understanding of how a move to Extra Care housing can reduce the social isolation and loneliness experienced by older people and help facilitate opportunities for more active community living and participation. The evidence shows that this reaps dividend on the health and wellbeing of residents and helps maintain social networks. We need to build the findings in this very useful report and develop the momentum for enhancing the housing with care choices of older people."

Laura Ferguson, Director of the Campaign to End Loneliness, said:
"Our home and immediate environment has a massive impact on our ability to age sociably, which in turn can have an impact on our health. We all need support to make informed decisions about housing as we age, ideally backed up with the knowledge that housing is being designed with our physical, mental and emotional health needs in mind. This report makes it clear that those involved in developing housing solutions for our older population should focus on creating homes that promote connection and socialising."

A summary of the report is available to download here.

Author: Dr Dylan Kneale

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Debt has often been seen as an issue affecting younger people, with limited attention paid to older people in debt or who are over indebted.

In new analyses of British and English data, ILC-UK explore debt and problem debt affecting older people, and its impact on their lives. This report was kindly supported by Age UK as part of the Age UK fellowship.

The research examines three key areas. Firstly, the attitudes of older people compared to younger people on debt and borrowing, and the reasons behind these attitude differences. Secondly, the research explores the patterns of debt in older people (here classified as aged over 50). Next, the report turns to the characteristics of older people that place them at greater vulnerability of falling into problem debt. Finally, the effects of living in problem debt on older peoples’ outcomes and experiences are examined.

ILC-UK analyses used data from three sources: the British Social Attitudes survey, the Family and Resources Survey, and the English Longitudinal Survey of Ageing. This mix of resources looks at both longitudinal and cross-sectional data.

Some of the headline findings of the research include:

  • As they age, people tend to have more negative attitudes towards credit and borrowing.
  • In the over-55s, women and people who are married or cohabiting have more negative attitudes to credit and borrowing.
  • Just three per cent of people aged over 65 would turn to credit in the event of an unexpected £200 expense – four times as many just couldn’t pay.
  • Among debtors the proportion in problem debt has increased; while there was an overall decrease in the numbers of people in debt between 2002 and 2010, but problem debt fell by less.
  • Debt is becoming concentrated to a greater degree among fewer people, with median debts increasing above inflation from £1,500 in 2002 to £2,500 in 2010.

Based on the findings of the research ILC-UK make a number of recommendations:

  1. Protecting funding for money advice
  2. Better information on older debtors
  3. Protect debtors from falling so rapidly into problem debt
  4. Better advice for older people who are self-employed
  5. Improved industry-led support for debtors with mental health issues
  6. Further exploration of when manageable debt becomes problem debt
  7. Appropriate access to suitable credit


The summary of the report is availlabe to download here.
 

Author: Dr Dylan Kneale and Trinley Walker

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A think piece calling for a fresh look at under-occupation and housing in later life.

This think piece is one of series produced for the Hanover@50 debate.

It laments the refusal of many people aged over 65 to recognise they are ageing, aggravated by a misinterpretation of ‘ageing in place’ in the UK. The latter has seen retirement housing regarded by policymakers and many potential customers as a place for those with significant health and care needs – and has thereby exacerbated the sector’s poor image. We have been distracted by arguments around under-occupancy marred by ageist overtones.


The paper says:
• Asking older people alone to downsize is ageist: we should be discouraging under-occupation through life
• Older people are often in denial about the realities of ageing – and therefore what downsizing and specialist housing could offer them
• Older people will move if they are offered housing options that will improve their quality of life and potentially improve their health and social care outcomes in later years
• Local authorities have seen retirement housing as largely for those with existing care needs, exacerbating the sector’s image problem
• We need to build more homes if we want to encourage downsizing – we could make things worse for first-time buyers if they and older people chase similar smaller homes.


Author: Dr Dylan Kneale with Sally-Marie Bamford and David Sinclair

This paper and its summary are also available to download from the Hanover@50 website.

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Despite nearly a million people aged 65+ now in employment, the gap between effective retirement age and state pension age remains a drag on the UK economy, which will be exacerbated further by population ageing.

In a new Provocation, made possible through support from NESTA (www.nesta.org.uk), ILC-UK argue that despite some “green shoots”, Government and companies need to facilitate greater innovation to support the needs of older workers.

NIESR has estimated that an increase in the UK's effective retirement age of one year would benefit the public finances by around £13 billion (or 1 per cent of GDP).
Research by PwC estimated that raising state pension age to 70 rather than 68 by 2046 would have a net fiscal benefit of around 0.6 per cent of GDP.

The Provocation argues that raising the State Pension Age will only minimise the economic impacts of ageing if it is accompanied by a lengthening of working lives. ILC-UK point out that for this to occur we need to create labour market conditions that allow an older workforce to emerge – and thrive.

The Provocation highlights a number of case studies of “green shoots of innovation” in the area of working longer, with some employers taking proactive steps, with their employees, to respond to our ageing society.  But ILC-UK argue that further employer and user-led innovations are needed to support extended working lives.

With an ageing society we will have more older people relative to younger. If we are to realise the economic benefit of more older workers, employers, employees and government must work together to build and test new models of working for older people.

ILC-UK argue that:

  • We must all act to change our attitudes to retirement and working longer
  • Employers must take the initiative in leading innovation
  • Older workers’ attitudes and aspirations must shape the agenda
  • There is a need for a strategic approach, with integration of policy to support older workers with other areas, such as health, pensions and education

The Provocation highlights a number of case studies of innovation from the UK and around the world, including:

  • BMW reorganised a production line to reflect needs of older workers- and increased productivity by 7% in a year.
  • Ernst and Young maintain alumni networks as a recruitment source for older workers – 1 in 4 of their older recruits comes from this network.
  • Dutch company Achmea Holdings offers a number of benefits, including a health promotion programme which has significantly reduced instances of ill-health.
  • J Sainsbury has pioneered a flexible retirement scheme allowing employees to reduce their working hours, claim part of their pension while continuing to accrue further pension entitlements for when they fully retire.

Efforts of employers “must be supported by a long term national strategy which creates a sustainable framework for interventions”.

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A Compendium of Essays highlighting the challenges and opportunities of ageing for women, launched in celebration of International Women’s Day 2013.

While it is widely acknowledged that the world is ageing, the intersection of age with gender has been historically ignored. As men and women age, they share many of the same needs. Nevertheless it is acknowledged that in many parts of the world, older women are not only subject to specific challenges, but also critically, make significant contributions to their family, communities and wider society that are often overlooked. Furthermore it has been recently argued feminism has tended to neglect the subject of older women and has been more focused on advancing the rights of younger women. Some commentators have argued that we are witnessing a ‘feminist generational divide’, with older women either at best ignored or at worst pitched against the younger generation.

This collection draws together 38 essays penned by a variety of high profile authors, including politicians, policy-makers, academics and campaigners. The essays debate the opportunities and challenges for older women at the national and global level, exploring diverse subjects including:

  • Finances
  • Work
  • Social isolation and loneliness
  • Care and carers
  • Health and wellbeing
  • International development.

Despite the differences in the aspirations, experiences and reflections of the authors, these essays are arguably united by a widespread dissatisfaction with the status quo. The Compendium constitutes a timely ‘stocktake’ of the situation for older women within the wider feminist movement. It asks how far we need to travel to advance the cause of older women, providing a platform for future action and development.

In response to the evident need for more work in this area, ILC-UK are establishing an Older Women’s Policy and Research Action Alliance to create a roadmap for future research and policy priorities. If you would be interested in being involved in this Action Alliance, please contact info@ilcuk.org.uk

This Compendium of Essays was edited by Sally-Marie Bamford and Jessica Watson.

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Governments must do more to reduce the long term cost of ageing to the public purse argues a new policy report from the International Longevity Centre – UK (ILC-UK).

“The cost of our ageing society”, sponsored by Milliman, highlights the projected financial impact of the cost of the world’s ageing population.

In the report, ILC-UK calls on governments across the world to consider linking eligibility ages of state pension to life expectancy and do more to ensure that the labour market is accessible to older people.

ILC-UK also argues that governments need to ensure pension systems are sustainable, allow for greater risk-sharing, and are less vulnerable to longevity risk. It also urges governments across the world to consider how to create better conditions for health care innovation and development.

ILC-UK believes that governments need to prepare for uncertainty noting that “Policy makers today are being asked to prepare for a future about which there is a serious degree of uncertainty and therefore sustainable policies will be the ones which can adapt to unexpected changes.” It argues therefore that addressing the needs of ageing populations will require ongoing investment in research and data collection.

ILC-UK argues, however, that policy interventions must recognise the contribution that older people make to society and the economy. ILC-UK also points out that individual countries will need to ensure there are safety nets for those who cannot work longer.

“The cost of our ageing society” draws heavily on the European Commission’s 2012 Ageing Report and the Office for Budget Responsibility’s Fiscal Sustainability Report, July 2012”. ILC-UK summarises the latest projections on longevity and the cost of ageing across the world.

  • In the UK:  age-related spending is projected to rise from an annual cost of 21.3% to 26.3% of GDP between 2016/17 and 2061/62, a rise of 5% of GDP (equivalent to a rise of around £79bn in today’s money).
  • In the EU: age-related spending is projected to rise from an annual cost of 25% to 29.1% of GDP between 2010 and 2060, a rise of 4.1% of GDP. However, a scenario which assumes greater resources devoted to development within health care projects that age-related spending in the EU could rise to as much as 29.8% of GDP, annually, by 2060.

In the UK:

  • spending on public pensions (state pension, benefits and public service pensions) is projected to rise from an annual cost of 8.9% to 10.8% of GDP between 2016/17 and 2061/62, a rise of 1.9% of GDP (equivalent to a rise of around £33bn in today’s money). 
  • spending on health care is projected to see the largest rise of all elements of age-related spending, rising from an annual cost of 6.8% to 9.1% of GDP between 2016/17 and 2061/62, a rise of 2.3% of GDP (equivalent to a rise of around £36bn in today’s money).  The rise in projected spending on health care in the UK mirrors the increase in the ageing population. 

However, scenarios in which there were higher than expected levels of mortality, morbidity and health care development could see much greater increases in expenditure on health care.

  • spending on long term care is projected to rise between 2016/17 and 2061/62 by 0.9%, from an annual cost of 1.1% to 2% of GDP, a rise of 0.9% of GDP (equivalent to a rise of around £14bn in today’s money).

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How can we use 'nudge' tactics to remove behavioural barriers for older people getting online?

“Nudge or Compel?: Can behavioural economics tackle the digital exclusion of older people?”, highlights that over 7.5 million adults have never used the internet. The majority of non-users are older, have disabilities or are in the lowest social classes.

The report, supported by social investor Nominet Trust, reveals new analysis of data from the English Longitudinal Study of Ageing (ELSA) on the behavioural traits which accompany internet usage among older people. It finds that:

  • People who reported using the internet tended to report feeling more in control of various aspects of their lives.
  • People who didn’t own a computer were more likely to feel that they were unable to learn a new skill, while conversely people who did own a computer were more likely to agree that they could.
  • People who reported not using the internet were more likely to say that they ‘often’ felt isolated from others. Conversely, people who said they did use the internet were more likely to respond that they ‘hardly ever or never’ felt isolated. The same pattern was found for loneliness.

Nudge or Compel recommends that:

  • Service providers could attract older customers by finding ways of discounted installation and connection deals, and initial periods of free internet access.
  • Companies advertising technology and opportunities to learn technology should use imagery of both older and younger people.
  • Government and the private sector should support local digital champions to make the case at a community level for the use of new technology.
  • Government and the private should invest more in adult learning, particularly if certain services are going to be made available exclusively online.
  • The technology sector should place more emphasis on co-design.


Download a copy of  the report below.

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With around 50 days to the introduction of the retail distribution review (RDR), the International Longevity Centre-UK (ILC-UK) has today published “Advice for all”, a new report which sets out practical solutions to address the advice gap post RDR.

The report argues that greater transparency in the annuities industry, better targeted information for consumers and a greater role for technology could play a significant part in mitigating any negative impact of new rules which change the way people pay for financial advice.

“Advice for all” highlights four urgent challenges which must be addressed in order to prevent consumer detriment:

  1. The advice gap: those with modest incomes may no longer have access to advice and could lose out on much needed retirement income.
  2. Too few savers are exercising the Open Market Option: retirees are losing out on retirement income through annuity providers’ failure to promote OMO properly.
  3.  Information overload: more needs to be done to ensure customer information is developed from a consumer, rather than compliance, perspective.
  4.  Lack of focus on the right type of annuity: there is a risk that consumers focus on the annuity rate they receive, to the exclusion of whether the type of annuity they are purchasing is right for them, which is critically important.

The report also highlights 4 longer term issues to be solved:

  1. Erosion of savings culture and industry trust: Confidence in savings is low due to the poor reputation of the financial services industry.
  2. Tackling opaque products and rates: Lack of transparency damage customers’ confidence in the industry and prevent consumer engagement with pensions.
  3. Slow pension transfers: The mechanics of the pensions industry has made it difficult for retirees to get good annuity rates and accordingly erodes trust.
  4. Too many small pension pots: Fragmented pension pots do not engender engagement in the way a large pension pot does.

Following the RDR there are concerns that fewer advisers will provide full advice to those with average pension pots, with some choosing instead to shift up the wealth spectrum.

“Advice for all” highlights the views industry and voluntary sector experts outlined at the Retirement Income Summit, hosted in June 2012 by ILC-UK and sponsored by Aviva and Partnership.

Delegates at the Retirement Income Summit were asked to vote on different policy proposals during the event:

  • 84% of delegates at the summit agreed that better consumer outcomes would be achieved if simplified advice was made workable.
  • 85% agreed that non-advised solutions combined with more financial education, transparent communication and appropriate ‘nudge’ techniques could help people get more from their pension pot.
  • 63% agreed that all pension customers approaching retirement should receive a one-page letter explaining that shopping around could provide them with more income.
  • 65% said the Government should consider some simple defaults for annuity purchase
  • 79% of delegates said benchmark annuity rates for non-open market annuity providers should be published.
  • 83% said advised and non-advised services should be subject to the same rate transparency requirements.
  • 82% agreed that the Government and industry should develop detailed proposals to simplify the pensions transfer process further, whilst 95% said the industry should improve the flow of information from the current pension scheme to the member and their adviser and to release the monies to the new provider more easily and quickly.

“Advice for all” calls for immediate action to reduce the risk of an advice gap which could result in poorer and less well advised pensioners. Of delegates surveyed at the start of the Summit, 78% believed the RDR will result in an advice gap for people with small pension pots.

The policy recommendations from the experts at the Summit include:

Greater transparency:

  • The industry should create a comprehensive league table of annuity rates and a directory of advisers.
  • Annuity providers must publish all annuity rates, regardless of whether they offer them just to current policyholders or open to all retirees.

Better information for the consumer:

  • Consumers should receive from their pension provider, the key details about their policy on just half a side of A4 paper.
  • All consumers should have the right to a short conversation about their retirement options.
  • Providers and regulators should work together to ensure consumers no longer receive volumes of compliant but ultimately overwhelming information.

A greater role for technology:

  • Annuity advisers and providers should explore greater uses for technology in delivering advised and non-advised services to help people understand their options at retirement and help them make an appropriate decision.

Read the ILC-UK press release here.

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The need to boost retirement provision across the EU arises from the impact of demographic and economic change on most European countries.

Most EU Member States have already embarked upon pensions reforms designed to increase retirement saving by individuals.

The first section of this policy brief looks at pensions reform throughout Europe, focusing on the process of reform, the underlying causes, and the determinants of success.

The second section appraises the prospects for increasing retirement saving. It first establishes the importance of increased saving rates, before considering evidence on the determinants of savings behaviour, and the potential impact of the financial crisis.

The third section looks more closely at the EU’s activities in this policy area and considers possible further steps.

On 18th June 2012, the ILC organised a private policy debate, hosted by the European Economic and Social Committee (EESC), supported by Prudential, and chaired by Mervyn Kohler of the Age Platform Social Protection Expert Group. The fourth section incorporates points raised on the day.

ILC are grateful to the following speakers for their input at the debate: Fritz von Nordheim (European Commission); Ria Oomen-Ruijten MEP (rapporteur of the European Parliament on the White Paper on Pensions); Xavier Verboven (EESC); Chris Verhaegen (Chair, EIOPA Occupational Pensions Stakeholder Group); Maureen O’Neill (EESC); and Mervyn Kohler (Age Platform Social Protection Expert Group).

Production of this policy brief would not have been possible without support from Prudential. Thanks are also due to Maureen O’Neill for hosting the policy debate at the EESC. Thanks also to Dr Craig Berry and Michelle McGagh for their support in producing this report.

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ILC-UK has published evidence given to the new House of Lords Committee on Public Service and Demographic Change.

The Committee will consider how the ageing population will affect public services and the relationship between people and the state. The Office of Budget Responsibility has said that if current policies go on unchanged demographic change will make the costs of public services unsustainable.

Within our response, ILC-UK argue that:

  • Our society should seek to become “age neutral”. Age is a poor proxy for, for example, ability, experience, skills, knowledge, and wealth, and yet policies in the private, public and voluntary sector are far too often based on age.
  • Older citizens have a responsibility to remain in the labour market longer, where possible, to enable skills retention and minimise the fiscal burdens on taxpayers.
  • We are likely to need to invest more in preventative health across the life-course.
  • The cost of dementia is likely to play an increasingly important role in influencing public spending.
  • The transfer of wealth from young to old, and its consequent inequality, represents a challenge to the contract between generations embodied in various functions and policies of the UK state that rest on the principle of intergenerational solidarity. It is vital that public policy works to protect intergenerational solidarity.

Alongside the publication of this evidence, we have written a blog about the committees’ work and the first evidence session, held in July, available here.

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This learning resource pack is designed to help deliver end of life care for residents of extra care housing.

The pack provides guidance on how to plan and deliver care and housing support for residents nearing the end of life, and covers all stages from having initial conversations to supporting families after death.

The pack is authored by ILC-UK researchers (Chloe Carter, former ILC-UK Research Officer and Dylan Kneale, Head of Research) and was commissioned by the NHS End of Life Care Programme and produced by the Housing LIN. This pack builds on an existing pack, authored by Housing 21, but includes an emphasis on the way that enabling residents to live life to the full can also help residents plan ahead and plan what happens at the end of life. The new pack also includes a number of ‘top tips’ shared by people working in extra care housing.

This work builds on an earlier ILC-UK report from 2011 that examined extra care housing and included a particular focus on extra care housing as a home for life. This new pack should enable extra care housing to become a home for life for even greater numbers of older people. It was produced from a combination of desk research, stakeholder interviews and a number focus groups that were run with extra care housing staff and other interested parties. ILC-UK are very grateful to the Housing LIN and NHS End of Life Care Programme and to all those who helped produced the pack and in particular the following people who formed the steering group: Claire Henry and Kate Henry (National End of Life Care Programme), Jeremy Porteus (Housing LIN), Alison Colclough and Jane Colling (Cheshire End of Life Care Service Model), Sue Garwood (Extra Care Specialist), Elizabeth Kendrick (County Durham & Darlington NHS Foundation Trust), Jackie Morris (British Geriatrics Society and ILC-UK Advisor), Caroline Nicholson (National Nursing Research Unit, King’s College, London) and Sarah Vallelly (Housing 21).

Chloe Carter and Dylan Kneale

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People in their fifties increasingly excluded from society says new research.

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, launched today at an event hosted by ILC-UK, 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.


Author: Dylan Kneale

Download a copy of the ‘Is Social Exclusion still important for Older People?  - Executive Summary’ here

A copy of the full report is available to download below.

The live blog from the launch of this event is available to view on the ILC-UK blog.

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‘Creating sustainable health and care systems in ageing societies’, co-authored by the International Longevity Centre-UK, was launched at the Global Health Policy Summit on August 1st 2012.

The report features a description of the global challenge of ageing and highlights a number of innovations that could help to reduce the impact of an ageing society on health and social care systems. The report challenges policy-makers to address a series of key questions that should be considered when developing current and future health and social care strategies including:

  • Do we understand the challenge that an ageing population presents to our health and care system?
  • Do we have a clear vision about what  we want our health and care system to look like in the next 20 years?
  • Is the financial  system right?
  • Are we doing enough to help families to provide informal care?
  • Are we doing enough prevention to reduce  demand for care?
  • Are we getting the best value in the way we supply care at home?
  • Are our operational systems working to best effect?

The Global Health Policy Summit was jointly organised by the Qatar Foundation and Imperial College. Speakers at the summit included Prince Andrew, Sheikha Mozah bint Nasser Al Missned of Qatar, Lord Ara Darzi, David Cameron and the then Health Secretary, Andrew Lansley.

Sally-Marie Bamford and Dr Dylan Kneale

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This new ‘futures’ report draws on the challenges facing residential care homes over the next 20 years. ILC-UK argues for the care home to become a ‘community hub’, integrating services and resources into the mainstream of local communities.

Well documented certainties in demographic change (particularly ageing) will shape the way that society is able to deliver services. It is no longer the case that domestic policies are solely shaped by domestic finances. More than ever the volatility of the world’s economic situation exerts pressure on how people live their lives in any country. And that varies daily. Domestically, changes are required in response –developments in savings, loans, pensions and employment shape and drive policy on a large scale.

Within this landscape is a continuing challenge of how care homes will fit in to the spectrum of future social care: more particularly, how care home services can be delivered in ways which are flexible and respond to the changing aspirations of 21st-century residents.

ILC-UK, with the support of Barchester Healthcare, has produced this ‘Futures’ report, which aims to understand and explain how care homes will need to develop to respond to a changing world. Trends have been identified that current stakeholders and partners feel will have an impact on the care home sector over the next 20 years. Issues relating to changes in the workforce, resident care, technology and the environment have been considered and potential responses to them suggested. If we are to deliver our vision of the care home of the future, policy and practice initiatives must deliver solutions to:

  • ‘chronic difficulties’ in the recruitment and retention of care home staff
  • better engaging the community with care homes
  • making the most of the potential of new technology
  • finding a sustainable funding model for care which ensures that the care home can deliver quality personalised services
  • creating an informed care consumer
  • protecting vulnerable adults without over-regulating and thus stifling innovation.
  • the sustainability of the environment through, for example, better management of the consumption of energy and water
  • tackling societal ageism.

We believe this can be done by making the care home a real ‘community hub’, by bringing it into the mainstream of community life and creating a more integrated society.

 

Author: Mark Mason

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Visual impairment and poor eye health is frequently ignored in care homes impacting on quality of life and independence for older people.

This evidence review, published with the support of Thomas Pocklington Trust, examines the current situation in care homes in England, reviewing current practice of sight testing and the regulatory and legislative context of eye health. It highlights that existing policy does not explicitly promote eye health, and how combined with low awareness of sight loss, this has led to poor levels of the detection of eye problems in care home residents.

Care home residents are at a high risk of poor eye health, with estimates of up to half of this group having some form of visual impairment. Furthermore with at least two-thirds of all people living in care homes with dementia and with some forms of dementia increasing the likelihood of having an eye problem, the need to diagnose and target improved eye care and health for this group is imperative.

Good eye health practice in care homes is far from consistent; with eye indicators overlooked in general health checks and low awareness of the issue among care home staff, families and residents themselves. This evidence review examines key issues and proposes solutions for relevant parties and within policy frameworks for sight testing in care homes.

ILC-UK have highlighted a number of key recommendations arising from this review including:

- The creation of a national awareness campaign on the issue of sight loss in older people with different cross-sections of stakeholders.

- The inclusion of specific eye health indicators into CQC assessment criteria and as part of care home providers’ key performance indicators.

- Further research into the barriers to good eye health practices for care home workers, managers and providers should be conducted to explore the impact of sight testing restrictions on access to sight testing for people living in care homes.

 

Authors: Jessica Watson, Sally-Marie Bamford

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Retirement is changing. What it means to be a citizen in an ageing society is in flux.

Older people should expect to work longer and draw upon property wealth to help fund care costs, argues a new think-piece by the International Longevity Centre.

Today, the ILC-UK supported by Swiss Re, launched a think-piece that argues that society needs to abandon the notion retirement marks the point where older people’s contributions are no longer necessary or valuable. Traditionally, our understanding of retirement implies that people make contributions in their working life in return for support in later life. An ageing society, with many people living longer and healthier lives, means that contributions should continue into later life - as long as society is able to value adequately the contributions that all generations can make to culture, politics and the economy.

Retirement in flux argues that:

  • Older citizens have a responsibility to remain in the labour market, where possible, to enable skills retention and minimise the fiscal burdens on taxpayers. But alongside this, older people should have a right to support from employers, and society more generally, to enable longer working lives.
  • Older people should have a right to remain in their own home. It is vital for the well-being of many older care recipients. But it is fair that older people draw upon property wealth to help fund care costs where possible.
  • Whilst the idea of an obligation to volunteer is contradictory, we all have a responsibility to remain active in our communities. Many older people are eager to volunteer in later life as part of an active retirement and opportunities to volunteer must therefore be appropriate: flexible, enjoyable, and oriented towards utilising the skills older people have developed during their working life.
  • Retirement should be process rather than an event. The concept of 'gradual retirement' may be better suited to the rights and responsibilities of citizens in an ageing society

A copy of the think-piece is available for download below.

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How does the public view our ageing society? Are we overestimating the impact of an ageing society? How do we view changes to our health service and to our economy as a result of an ageing society? These are some of the questions explored through public attitudes data in this report.

The UK’s population is unquestionably ageing, leading to anticipated social changes that are already becoming apparent in policy. Health and the workplace are two areas of major projected change. While there is some degree of understanding of people’s attitudes towards older people, which are almost invariably negative, there is less understanding on people’s awareness and attitudes on some of the macro-level changes associated with an ageing society.


This report examines some of these issues through specially commissioned polling data as well as employing data from the British Social Attitudes Survey. We use a offer insights on public attitudes towards: health and personal responsibility for health; older people and the workplace; as well as general opinions on an ageing society.
 

The title of this report, ‘Population Ageing: Pomp or Circumstance’, refers to the debate as to whether the public believe that population ageing is pomp (or hype) or is circumstance. Perhaps the most direct evidence on this issue comes from agreement with the statement ‘as a society, we overestimate the effect of an ageing society’. We can observe that over two-in-five adults agree with this statement.
 

A report launched in conjunction with this paper (Gill and Taylor 2012)* critically examines this issue in a broader sense, and questions whether the ‘apocalyptic’ demographic scenarios that are sometimes predicted will become reality. The results in this paper suggest that public opinion does often tend towards a similar view in a number of cases. Further positive glimmers do appear among attitudes to planning an older Britain of the future through high levels of understanding of the link between healthy behaviours and living longer and healthier, and flexible attitudes towards older people and the workplace, particularly among younger people in the latter case. Our results also give some cause for consideration, as we find that those in lower socioeconomic groups may also be those least prepared for new policy directions aimed at improving the health of our ageing population, particularly in terms of taking greater personal responsibility for health.
 

Overall, our results also highlight the complexity among the attitudes held on an ageing society. The results in this report suggest that in reality, as with many social issues, the consequences of an ageing society are framed through political debate leaving a complex, and sometimes fraught, process for the public in disentangling the facts from the fiction.
 

Authors: Dylan Kneale, Mark Mason, Sally-Marie Bamford
 

*Gill, Jennifer and Taylor, David. (2012) Active Ageing: Live longer and prosper. London: UCL School of Pharmacy
A copy of the report is available for download below.

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In the wake of the global financial crisis, public debate has been dominated by the implications of the uncertain economic climate we are living in.

The implications for saving by individuals and families have received less attention. While this is understandable to some extent, it cannot be denied that the UK has a chronic under-saving problem, which has been exacerbated by the financial crisis and economic downturn.

A high proportion of UK households have little or no saving or investment wealth, and these households are concentrated among those with the lowest incomes. The under-saving problem is compounded by indebtedness, especially for young people, and particularly acute in relation to saving for retirement. Relatively few households are setting aside sufficient funds for retirement.

There is an urgent need for policy-makers to address this problem. This paper, supported by Friends Provident Foundation, argues that this requires us to rethink the foundations upon which savings policy has been based.

In short what is required is a ‘financial citizenship’ framework, outlining the respective responsibilities of individuals and the state regarding saving. Clearly, the scope of financial citizenship extends beyond enabling individuals to save. Developing a citizenship framework on financial issues can, however, help us to plot a new approach to public policy on saving; equally, considering issues around financial rights and responsibilities with reference to a specific, real-world policy dilemma can help us to test the value and validity of the notion of financial citizenship.

The paper begins by outlining recent public policy objectives related to financial inclusion and enabling saving. The second section accounts for the emergence of financial citizenship in the context of wider changes within our understanding of citizenship. The third section assesses in more detail what kind of rights and responsibilities exist in a financialised society, before outlining a new understanding of what citizenship could mean in this context. The final section suggests what kind of framework and policy ideas that financial citizenship gives rise to, in relation to policy on saving.

Authors: Craig Berry and Valentina Serra

A copy of the think-piece is available for download below.

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A paper for the ILC Global Alliance examining household structure and intergenerational relations across a spectrum of countries.

In this report we initiate a dialogue on multigenerational households and intergenerational relations from a global perspective. This report reviews the status of multigenerational households and intergenerational relations in specific countries that vary widely in terms of social attitudes, population structure, cultural traditions and economic development. The theme of the report was developed jointly by ILC-India and ILC-UK, through shared concerns about changes in household structures, and anxiety about ways of maintaining intergenerational relations. This report features contributions from:

Argentina
Czech Republic
Dominican Republic
France
India
Japan
Netherlands
Singapore
South Africa
United Kingdom

For some of the countries represented in this report (e.g. the Czech Republic, the Netherlands, and the UK), the global economic crisis has brought intergenerational issues to the fore recently. This has prompted a critical examination of relationships between younger and older people within multigenerational households and families, and beyond in non-familial intergenerational relationships. Some of this has been on the macro-level, with much of the rhetoric pitching younger generations against older. Other countries meanwhile (e.g. South Africa and Singapore) have emerged relatively unscathed from the economic crisis, and in these countries other changes in social attitudes, and economic development of a different sort, are drivers of change in intergenerational relations and household structures. While all countries now arguably have an ageing population, in some countries represented in this report, fertility rates have dropped below replacement level and their populations have been ageing for a considerable time; some Western countries already have an older population that is now fairly closely approximate to the size of the younger population (under 16 years). Yet other countries represented in the report are still in an intermediate stage of demographic transition with the younger population significantly greater in size than the older population, albeit with rapid growth in the number of older people.

Despite these demographic differences, certain common themes have emerged in the reports of the different countries. Most prominent among the themes is a decline in the number of multigenerational households in recent years, observed in the majority of the countries. Gender is another common theme, with older populations disproportionately made up of women, and the majority of older women widowed and the majority of older men living in couple relationships. Gender is evident moreover in patterns of care provision, with women identified in several countries as primary carers to older people (Argentina, Dominican Republic, France, India, South Africa, Singapore, UK) - and most probably the case in all countries. In several countries (Dominican Republic, India, South Africa) older women are also often primary care givers to grandchildren, although this role is not mentioned specifically in other countries, particularly those with a low prevalence of multigenerational households.

The prevalence of multigenerational households differs by country type, and generally high income countries have a lower proportion of multigenerational households and low and middle income countries a higher proportion of households, although as mentioned, other cultural and social factors differentiate between countries that are similar in many other ways. Furthermore, while household structures have changed substantially in higher income countries, and the proportion of multigenerational households has declined against a context of economic and social change, research does show that although intergenerational relations evolve, they nonetheless remain essentially intact.
In this report, the focus is on familial relations and less so on non-familial relations. Each country report has been structured around the following questions:

    How many older people in your country currently live with their family in a multigenerational household?
    How have the numbers of multigenerational households changed over the past 40-50 years?
    Which factors influence the prevalence of older people currently living in multigenerational households?
    Do families, and particularly younger family members, provide formal or informal care for older relatives who need care and/or support?
    How has the changing economic situation of older people changed the pattern of care giving within families?

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Ensuring people with small pension pots have access to advice after the introduction of the Retail Distribution Review

Today, the ILC-UK supported by Partnership, launched a report which will make recommendations as to how to ensure that people with small pension pots have access to advice after the introduction of the Retail Distribution Review.

The report explores the following:

  • What might the unintended consequences of the RDR be in terms of advice?
  • Will the RDR impact on people’s ability to shop around?
  • How many independent will stay in the profession following the RDR?
  • What kinds of risks are faced by people with small pension pots as a result of the RDR?
  • Is there a role for simpler financial products, and generic advice?

The introduction of the Retail Distribution Review (RDR) comes as we are seeing significant growth in the number of people in ‘defined contribution’ pension schemes, meaning that more people will be required to make investment and decumulation decisions for themselves, just as one of the largest transformations in the regulatory environment for financial advice gets underway.

To establish the quality and independence of financial advice, RDR changes will mean that independent financial advisers will have to charge clients directly for the provision of advice, rather than receive commission from product providers. While ostensibly laudable, the public appears reluctant to pay up-front fees for financial advice. Furthermore, new professional standards may mean that the cost of providing advice becomes prohibitive for many advisers.

The ILC-UK report is concerned in particular with the implications of the RDR for people with small pension pots. We know that people with small pension pots are less likely to seek financial advice, therefore reducing the likelihood they will maximise their retirement income – if costs of advice increase, this trend is likely to intensify.

A copy of the policy brief is available for download below.

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A report on the older entrepreneur, alive and well.

Given that we know that people are going to have to work for longer under the impacts of increased longevity and inadequate pension provision, this report delves into whether entrepreneurship could be a valid continuing career option for those approaching state retirement age.

The inadequacy of saving and the poor returns available at retirement mean that an impoverished “retirement” will await many in future generations. The policy response to these impacts include the rise in the state pension age, automatic enrolment into pension saving and the proposed abolition of the Default Retirement Age

Malcolm Small, Managing Director of Lyncombe Consultancy conducted an e-mail survey, providing findings both “quantitative” and “qualitative” in nature. The report offers findings based on three initial questions:

1. Tell us about WHEN you became an entrepreneur and WHAT event(s) catalysed the transition?
2. Tell us about the business(es) you started. Were they in a field you had worked in previously?
3. Many of you have told us that you became entrepreneurs because you had always wanted to run your own business. What are the most important lessons you have learned along the way?

The results allow us to review:
• How many older entrepreneurs are there?
• What motivates people to become an entrepreneur?
• What did people do before becoming an (older) entrepreneur?
• What will make older entrepreneurs retire, when they eventually do?
• How many business have (older) entrepreneurs been involved in starting?
• The characteristics that mark out an (older) entrepreneur?

Small writes “We need to recognise that the assumptions that went behind the design of the State pension system in the 1940s can no longer be applied. In other words, the system was simply not designed to cope with today’s circumstances, where most people will get to state retirement age and will live a long time after it.”

A copy of the report is available for download below.

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Today's older people are more healthy and active than ever before and as such are also more mobile.

They are more likely than ever before to be car users, and to be driving more miles.
This Thinkpiece explores how physiological and cognitive changes associated with age effect older drivers and why they are the group most likely to need to give-up driving; an act that is associated with an increase in depression and a poorer quality of life. The thinkpiece suggests that while car travel fulfils practical and utilitarian needs which can be difficult to achieve without a car in an ever increasing hyper-mobile society, there are also psychological or affective needs and aesthetic needs that are not met in a life without a car.

Dr Charles Musselwhite, Senior Lecturer in Traffic & Transport Psychology with the Centre for Transport and Society at the University of the West of England, Bristol, UK, and author of this thinkpiece, suggests older people can successfully give-up driving without negative or adverse effects if the following are taken into account-

- Encourage practical and emotional support for older people, not just to give lifts but to understand and sympathise with the perceived loss of independent mobility.

- Encourage contemplation of giving-up driving from a young allowing time to gradually reduce driving and to trial different modes

- Encourage self-regulation with regards to driving, with support from evaluated training and in-vehicle technologies as appropriate.

- The virtues of a life closer to home with less travel should be promoted amongst older people.

- Alternative modes of transport and the walking and cycling infrastructure have to be fit for purpose.

The thinkpiece recommends:

1. Recognising the importance of travel beyond the need to get from A to B.

2. Recognising the importance of considering giving-up driving early-on in life to allow a more gradual process of giving-up driving.

3. Keeping the locus of control over the decision to stop driving with the person themselves.

4. Helping older people learn the norms associated with travelling in other means than the car.

5. More research is needed into key areas of older people and transport (especially with regards to evaluating driver training aimed at older people and the importance of discretionary travel in quality of life).

Musselwhite writes “Older people need to be mobile for a variety of reasons. These include accessing daily services and shops and remaining connected to friends, family and other social events. Yet travel goes beyond that, it is a way of maintaining independence, of conveying status and image and an access to life beyond the home, a way of engaging with nature and seeing the world.”

A copy of the thinkpiece is available for download below:

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ILC-UK report examining the research base on centenarians and calling for policy to reflect increase in extreme longevity

This report and executive summary, published with the support of Age UK, consider the policy implications of the growing centenarian population, examining the demography; health and need for social care; housing and wealth; and quality of life for this group. It aims to understand more about this celebrated group through summarising evidence about the lives people lead past 100, while identifying gaps in the evidence base and proposing key policy recommendations to address the issues raised.

This work has been guided by the following questions:

  • How large is the current UK centenarian population and how much is this expected to grow?

  • How does the health of centenarians compare to that of younger age cohorts and how is this expected to change?

  • What are the housing circumstances of the centenarian population and what are the other distinctive socioeconomic characteristics of centenarians?

  • What are the key components of quality of life for centenarians and how does the quality of life of centenarians compare with other age cohorts?

ILC-UK have identified a number of key policy recommendations arising from this research, calling for:

  • Significant development of the evidence base about centenarians in order to inform current and future ageing strategies.

  • Policy-makers to take a more holistic approach to designing interventions that integrate health, care and housing solutions.

  • Investment in ways of increasing the accessibility and appeal of social or interest groups to centenarians.

  • Developers to plan for growing numbers of centenarians through ensuring that housing and neighbourhoods are better designed and/or adequately adapted to meet the needs of a growing centenarian population

  • Energy companies to ensure that their oldest customers access the best deals

  • Employers to ensure that they find ways to provide flexible working to ensure that caring responsibilities for the future population of centenarians do not pull people out of the workforce early.

  • The Government should introduce a care voucher scheme for adults, similar to childcare vouchers, which would allow people of all ages to buy care vouchers to support the needs of older adults. This may help older carers of centenarians stay in the workplace longer.

This report will be formally launched at the ILC-UK and Actuarial Profession Robert Butler Memorial Lecture, in partnership with JRF at 16.00 on the 29th November. More information on this event is available here.

Authors: Valentina Serra, Jessica Watson, David Sinclair, Dylan Kneale

The full report is available for download below.
The executive summary is available here.
A press release is available here.

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Report on survey research into attitudes on the regulation of older drivers

This report, published with the support of RIAS, presents the results of survey research into driving behaviour across the lifecourse, and options for both stronger regulations around driving in later life and ‘nudges’ to support self-regulation.

The survey’s key results include:

  • 30 per cent of drivers consider themselves to be superior to most other drivers. Only one per cent of drivers believe that they are worse than most other drivers. The same proportion (30 per cent) of drivers aged 55-64 are claim they are better than most other drivers, and drivers aged 65 or over are only slightly less likely to make this claim.

  • 55 per cent of people are unaware that older drivers are required to renew their licence at 70.

  • 63 per cent of people believe that individuals should be compelled to cease driving at some point as they get older. Almost one in four said that people should have to stop at 75, 70 or younger than 70 (although a similar proportion said drivers should never have to stop driving based on their age).

  • 85 per cent of people argue that older drivers should be re-tested at some point, with 40 per cent agreeing that re-testing should take place at 65, 60 or younger than 60.

  • There is a strong majority in favour of the idea of self-selected license restrictions – 66 per cent support the idea, with 31 per cent opposed – although support declines slightly across the age distribution.

  • More than two-thirds of people are in favour of the idea that older drivers who can demonstrate effective self-regulation should receive tax and insurance discounts, with around a quarter opposed. Support is strongest among people aged 34 or under, and 55 and over.

Dr Craig Berry, Head of Policy and Senior Researcher at ILC-UK, and author of the report said:

“It is right that policy-makers seek to respond to the potential impact of population ageing on road safety, and the calls for tighter restrictions on driving in later life are understandable. There is little evidence, however, that more draconian measures will lead to safer roads. When presented with ILC-UK’s ideas for supporting self-regulation, the public are in general very supportive. Policy and practice needs to be geared more systematically towards supporting self-regulation by older drivers.”

You can download a copy of the publication below:

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ILC-UK report on the barriers to ‘gradual retirement’ and ‘extended working lives’ in the pensions system.

It is too often assumed that retirement is a one-off event, rather than a process. Yet there is increasing evidence that we are moving towards a process of ‘gradual retirement’, a concept associated with a wide range of opportunities that may be available to older workers, including downshifting within their current employment, moving into new forms of flexible and part-time work, and self-employment.

Crucially, a process of gradual retirement is far more likely to result in later retirements. However, it is clear that many barriers to gradual retirement remain. This report, which has been kindly supported by Aviva, examines barriers contained within pensions provision. It is based on a survey commissioned by ILC-UK in September 2011, and a roundtable debate held in the House of Commons in October 2011.

The key findings of the survey are:

• 40 per cent of people would consider delaying their retirement if they could defer the state pension in return for higher payments later – yet 59 per cent are unaware that this option is already available.

• 42 per cent of people would consider delaying their retirement if they could combine income from an occupational pension and their current job – yet 66 per cent are unaware that this option is already available to many employees.

• 46 per cent of people would consider delaying their retirement if their employer offered greater support for reducing their working hours, or flexible working arrangements.

• A lower proportion of people, 36 per cent, would consider delaying their retirement if the state pension age is increased further than already planned. However, this proportion rises to 53 per cent among part-time workers, underlining the importance of ‘gradual retirement’.

• 55 per cent of people would support a system whereby individuals could access part of their state pension early, in return for a lower pension when they retire in full.

• A large majority of people – 67 per cent – do not support the idea that people above state pension age, yet still in employment, should continue to pay National Insurance contributions.

The report recommends that the government should:

1. Make the positive case for extending working lives much more strongly. At present, many people feel that raising the state pension age is simply about deficit reduction. Many older people recognise the benefits of staying in work for longer, but nevertheless perceive the government’s current strategy as a threat to their hard-earned entitlements.

2. Consider the introduction of a ‘graduated state pension’. ILC-UK’s survey reveals strong support for a system whereby individuals wanting to downshift could access part of their state pension – even if they would therefore receive lower pension payments when they retire in full.

3. Better promote aspects of the pensions system that encourage longer working lives. This applies, in particular, to state pension deferral. It seems many people would stay in work if they could defer their state pension, but are unaware that this option already exists.

Author: Craig Berry

A copy of the policy brief can be downloaded below:

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ILC-UK policy brief discussing the options for supporting self-regulation by older drivers.

This policy brief, published with the support of the RAC Foundation, considers the policy implications of ILC-UK’s research on self-regulation by older drivers, first published in February 2011.

In an ageing society, we can expect far more older drivers on our roads. This is not a bad thing, given that 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. This policy 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.

In Autumn 2011, ILC-UK undertook a consultation exercise, asking government officials and representatives from various stakeholder groups to comment on our draft proposals. ILC-UK wishes to thank all who responded for their generous contributions.

In considering the policy implications of our research on older drivers in more detail, the policy brief recommends:

1. DVLA should introduce self-selected licence restrictions. In consultation with their GP and relevant authorities, 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. This measure would nudge drivers towards seeking advice as they get older – as well as nudging GPs to maintain their knowledge of driving in later life.

3. The government should introduce a 10 per cent discount on Vehicle Excise Duty for older drivers that can demonstrate self-regulation. This would incentivise older drivers to self-regulate, and ideally would be used in conjunction with self-selected licences to incentivise take-up.

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. The toolkit would also nudge individuals towards initiating discussions with their families and GPs at an earlier stage.

Dr Craig Berry, Senior Researcher at ILC-UK and author of the policy brief said:

“It is right that policy-makers seek to respond to the potential impact of population ageing on road safety, but it is crucial that the existing norm of self-regulation is supported as far as possible. Our proposals would ‘nudge’ individuals towards an effective form of self-regulation while recognising that most older drivers are safe and responsible road users.”

A copy of the policy brief can be downloaded below:

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

ILC-UK and Age UK have been working in partnership to explore the role of intergenerational projects for the LGBT community, the importance that these projects could have in supporting the LGBT population, and identifying key learning opportunities from studies conducted at three ground-breaking projects from around the UK.

Between Autumn 2010 and Spring 2011, three intergenerational projects took place that were among the first of their kind in the UK context. These projects aimed to promote solidarity and improved relations between different generations of the LGBT community. In Camden, arts workshops were held aimed at challenging stereotypes and social isolation. The project in Leicester used interviews conducted by younger participants to gather and record personal histories of older LGBT individuals. In Stockport different generations of LGBT people were involved in developing local policies, including raising their issues and experiences with local service providers. The projects aimed to share and learn new skills, improve understanding between younger and older people, foster mutual support and celebrate LGBT heritage.

The work conducted by ILC-UK includes:

'Bridging the Gap: Exploring the potential for bringing older and younger LGBT people together': an evidence review examining the context of intergenerational project work in the LGBT community

'Celebrating Intergenerational Diversity': an evaluation report of the three projects run in Camden, Leicester and Stockport

'Intergenerational projects for the LGBT community': a toolkit to inspire and inform anyone wanting to establish and run their own LGBT intergenerational project

An executive summary presenting the key findings from each of these publications is also available for download below:

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Evidence Review

This paper is particularly interested in the interaction between age and sexual or gender identity and how these characteristics shape individuals‘ experiences, behaviours and attitudes. Specifically it is concerned with the issues facing older (65+) and younger (under 25) LGBT individuals, the divisions and commonalities between them and whether there is potential to bring the two groups together for mutual benefit.

Author: Charlotte Potter, Sally-Marie Bamford, Dylan Kneale

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Toolkit

This toolkit aims to inspire those interested in creating an intergenerational project for the LGBT community. It takes the reader step by step through the process of running a project and provides some practical tips and tools to help set out future projects.

Authors: Sally-Marie Bamford, Dylan Kneale, Jessica Watson

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Evaluation Report

This report sets out the findings and outcomes of three intergenerational LGBT project. All three projects aimed to enable older and younger people to share and learn new skills, improve understanding between younger and older people, foster mutual support and celebrate LGBT heritage. This report describes the project activities; the evaluation process; provides detail on the recruitment and retention methods; outlines the pre-existing need for intergenerational work; illuminates the respective benefits of using different methods to bring older and younger people together; and assesses the success of the projects against the objectives set out at the beginning of the projects.

Authors: Dylan Kneale, Valentina Serra, Sally-Marie Bamford, Lilly Diener.

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Extra Care Housing could play a major part in delivering better health outcomes and reducing the long term care costs facing older people

New research, which uses longitudinal data from three providers of Extra Care (Audley Retirement, Extra Care Charitable Trust, and Retirement Security Limited) finds that compared to those living in the community in receipt of domiciliary care, those in extra care housing are about half as likely to enter institutional accommodation. The research argues therefore that extra care accommodation is a ‘home for life’ – one that does successfully adapt to residents’ changing social care needs.

The research also finds that:
*Around a quarter of residents who enter extra care with additional social care needs, later go on to experience an improvement in their health equating to a decrease in social care needs
*Extra care housing is associated with a lower likelihood of admittance to a hospital overnight compared to a matched sample living in the community.
*A lower than expected number of falls was recorded in a matched comparison group when compared to those living in the community.

These findings suggest that extra care housing could contribute significant financial savings to the public purse, particularly when taking a long-term perspective.

ILC-UK believes that:
1. Policy-makers need a co-ordinated response to providing housing, health care and social care for our ageing population.
2. Policy-makers should make specific pledges to increase the level of provision of extra-care housing.
3. The proposed National Planning Policy Framework should champion the housing needs of older people far more robustly.
4. Policy-makers should recognise and encourage private sector development of extra-care housing.
5. The Health White Paper in its current form does include some mention of housing, although this is in the context of Lifetime Homes and the Warm Front schemes, both of which have fallen by the policy wayside in recent months. The findings in this report suggest that policy-makers drafting the Health White Paper should explicitly consider and make specific pledges to increase the role of housing with care.
6. Policy-makers should enhance programmes of education for those who are retired and newly retired to plan their housing and financial futures. Furthermore, consumers need reassurance that policy changes will not negatively impact their retirement decisions.
7. Any National or Local Falls Prevention Strategy should include housing as a key component of preventing further falls.
8. Receipt of Attendance Allowance opens a gateway for many older people to access extra care housing, through helping to finance monthly care costs and to help access other benefits. We would urge policy-makers to ensure that all who are eligible to claim Attendance Allowance do so which could enable greater numbers of older people to support a stay in extra care housing.
9. We would call on policy-makers to fund the design and delivery of standard data collection across the sector to allow researchers to fully quantify costs and benefits of different care models.

Author: Dylan Kneale

The Powerpoint presentations from the launch event for this report are available on the ILC-UK Slideshare page.

To download the Executive Summary of the report please click here.

To download the report in full please follow the link below:

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ILC-UK calls for a gendered approach and response to dementia

ILC-UK has today published a report calling for a gendered approach and response to dementia at the national and international level. The report posits that women will disproportionately bear the burden of dementia in terms of numbers, but also impact in the coming years. The ‘feminization of ageing’ is a widely recognised trend and yet hitherto a comprehensive approach to the impact of dementia on women remains largely under explored.

Invariably women and men as they age, share many of the same fundamental needs. Yet, as is acknowledged in many parts of the world, older women are particularly vulnerable and are subject to prolonged inequalities experienced since childhood, for example, lower levels of education and a greater risk of poverty. This report assumes a life course approach to the challenge of dementia and women, arguing from a global perspective that women face a ‘triple jeopardy’ as a result of the associated stigma attached to their age, gender and decline in cognitive functions.

ILC-UK make a number of recommendations for improving outcomes and interventions for women, which include:

  1. Dementia health policies and programmes should incorporate a gender dimension in their design, delivery and evaluation
  2. Gender should be included as a key health determinant in the promotion and disease prevention of dementia
  3. Dementia research at the regional, national and international level needs to be disaggregated by gender and age
  4. Women and men should be equally represented and involved at the micro and macro level of decision-making with regard to the development of health and social care policies and resource allocation as they pertain to dementia
  5. There is a need for greater interdisciplinary research incorporating the biological and social models of health for men and women to improve health interventions and outcomes.

Author: Sally-Marie Bamford

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ILC-UK calls for a life course approach to adult immunisation starting with the flu jab for all over 50s

ILC-UK has published a report today calling for a new life course approach to adult immunisation, starting with extending NHS availability of the ‘flu jab to all over 50s.

The report was prompted by supply and demand issues with last winter’s flu vaccination and followed a subsequent ILC-UK meeting in March 2011 at which vaccine experts came together to discuss adult immunisation in the UK. The report also drew on previous ILC-UK work on adult immunisation.

Among the issues covered are the accessibility of adult vaccinations, public information campaigns, the role of the media and the role of healthcare professionals.

ILC-UK make a number of recommendations for improving adult immunisation in the UK including:

• The need to explicitly promote “life course vaccination”;
• Using age-group and risk group based recommendations, starting with recommending the flu jab for all over 50s;
• Introduction of a (paper and/or electronic) vaccination record card for adults;
• Expanding vaccination settings to include for example community pharmacies;
• Trialling workplace vaccination for older workers.

This report was made possible by an unrestricted grant from Pfizer UK Ltd.

Author: Rebecca Taylor

For a copy of the Alliance for Health and the Future policy brief on life course vaccination, please click here

For a copy of the ILC-UK report on adult immunisation please click the link below.

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A report on a symposium held in Church House Conference Centre, Westminster, London

This report examines the relationship between population ageing and urbanisation, based on the contrasting experiences of Japan and the UK. This topic was the subject of a major Symposium funded by the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC), held on March 29/30th in London in association with the Japanese Society for the Promotion of Science (JSPS) and the International Longevity Centre (Japan/UK). The event built upon discussions between ESRC and JSPS about ways of encouraging contact and collaboration between the UK and Japanese social science research communities.

The report provides an overview of the main themes highlighted in the Symposium, with a particular focus on: the characteristics of ageing and urbanisation in Japan and the UK; experiences of ageing in urban environments; developing ‘age-friendly’ communities; future issues for policy and research on population ageing and urbanisation.

The report includes a call for more comparative research between the two countries, with particular attention to topics such as: What is the basis for building ‘age-friendly’/‘life-long communities’? What types of partnerships between different organisations are needed to support ‘age-friendly cities’? How can the needs of different age groups be recognised in the design and development of cities? What resources and facilities are available in urban areas to support community participation and health and well-being?

Author: Chris Phillipson

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This report highlights the omission of ageing and of Alzheimer’s disease and other related dementias from the current focus of the UN High-Level Meeting on Non-Communicable Diseases, taking place on 19th and 20th September 2011.

The report, ‘Non-Communicable Diseases in an Ageing World', discusses salient policy and political issues on the non-communicable disease question and provides a summary of the presentation, discussions and ideas which emerged from the expert stakeholder lunch held in the House of Lords on the 4th May 2011 organised by Alzheimer’s Disease International, HelpAge International and the International Longevity Centre - UK.

The report includes calls to action for a life-course focus on prevention, treatment, management and related care issues on NCDs and for dementia to be addressed as a global priority for action.
The event was hosted by Baroness Sally Greengross, OBE and included a presentation by Martin Prince, Professor of Epidemiological Psychiatry at King's College London.

Authors: Sally-Marie Bamford and Valentina Serra

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Sexuality, intimacy, sexual behaviour and dementia in care homes

The last taboo: A guide to dementia, sexuality, intimacy and sexual behaviour in care homes, provides care home workers and managers with information and practical advice on this complex, controversial and sensitive issue.

The need for affection, intimacy and relationships for people with dementia in care homes has too often been ignored and side-lined in policy and practice. The onset of old age or a cognitive impairment does not erase the need for affection, intimacy and/or relationships. While the issues involved can be complex, controversial and sensitive and may challenge our own beliefs and value system, it is essential that we understand more about them to foster a more person-centred approach to dementia care. Care home residents with dementia often have complex care needs and trying to understand and respond to the more intimate and sexual aspects of a resident’s personality can be challenging.

Aimed at care home workers and managers, the guide not only provides essential information on this aspect of dementia care but offers practical advice to support current work-based practices. Set out in an accessible and easy-to-read format, this guide includes case studies, questions, suggestions and a self assessment quiz to promote easy learning. It also provides a possible pathway for care home managers to develop a guiding policy on sexual expression in dementia.

The guide for care staff is summarised in 10 key points:

1. Some residents with dementia will have sexual or sensual needs.
2. Affection and intimacy contribute to overall health and wellbeing for residents.
3. Some residents with dementia will have the capacity to make decisions about their needs.
4. If an individual in care is not competent to decide, the home has a duty of care towards the individual to ensure they are protected from harm.
5. There are no hard and fast rules. Assess each situation on an individual basis
6. Remember not everyone with dementia is heterosexual.
7. Inappropriate sexual behaviour is not particularly common in dementia.
8. Confront your own attitudes and behaviour towards older people and sex generally.
9. Communicate – look at how you can improve communication with your colleagues, managers, residents and carers on this subject
10. Look after yourself and remember your own needs as a care professional

Author: Sally-Marie Bamford

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A new report launched today by ILC-UK, highlights the growing cost of dementia and posits that with the predicted rise in the number of people with dementia, the current level of investment into dementia research, treatment and care is unsustainable.

This report, supported by Pfizer, is the product of two joint debates hosted by ILC-UK in partnership with the Actuarial Profession in Edinburgh and London, held in February and March 2011.

The debates were convened to deliberate the current and future economic, health and social care costs of dementia and consider if current policy interventions were proportionate and appropriate in light of this challenge. In a poll of over 150 attendees at the London debate, 93% of delegates either disagreed or strongly disagreed that the Government is prepared in terms of long-term strategies to respond to the increase in the number of people with dementia.

The multimedia report includes an infographic summary, video interviews with some of the speakers and attendees from the London event, the voting results, and a summary of the key debates. A range of high profile speakers delivered presentations at the two events, including: Professor Alistair Burns, National Clinical Director for the Department of Health, Martin Prince, Professor of Epidemiological Psychiatry at King's College London and Jeremy Hughes, Chief Executive of the Alzheimer’s Society, while Baroness Sally Greengross chaired the London event. The report was produced for the ILC-UK by independent consultants A & E Partners.

Download the full report below.

Below are a series of short interviews with some of the speakers recorded at these debates.

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This think-piece by Richard Berry develops a ‘system map’ of digital exclusion

Older people are significantly less likely to have access to the internet than the general population. According to recent research findings, 79 per cent of households below the state pension age have internet access, while only 37 per cent of households above the state pension age do so. This difference gives rise to the notion of the ‘digital divide’, between those who enjoy access to the internet and those who are excluded.

There have been a number of attempts to widen access to the internet, among older people and other excluded groups. There are ongoing upgrades of Britain’s technological infrastructure, increasing internet capacity throughout the country. There are initiatives to counter the financial barriers to inclusion, by providing subsidised equipment or free internet access, in people’s homes or in public places. The state has also supported the provision of training in ICT skills over a number of years.

It is important that policy is clearly focused on the proven causes of digital exclusion. A distinction has been drawn between the first-order and second-order digital divides, largely defined by whether the reasons for exclusion are material or non-material. Survey findings reveal that among those who do not have access to the internet, most people cite non-material reasons such as lack of skills or lack of interest to explain why they are not online. Other research has highlighted the psychological barriers preventing older people from accessing the web. These reasons appear to be more influential than material factors such as cost or lack of physical infrastructure.

However, the debate about the first- and second-order divides is not helpful in addressing exclusion. While the second-order factors appear most important, we cannot dismiss the material factors entirely. Furthermore, to subsume a wide range of second-order factors covering older people’s skills, psychology and interests into this single category is arbitrary. Finally, we also have to consider the content of the internet – which does not fit neatly into this framework – and the extent to which it meet the needs of older people.

A new analytical framework for assessing the causes of the generational digital divide – and moving us toward solutions – should be based on the ‘system map’ approach. In this, a wide range of contributory factors are considered as part of the overall cause of an individual’s exclusion from the internet. The clarity this approach provides will help policy-makers devise better strategies for tackling the digital divide.

The think-piece’s recommendations include:

• Researchers should conduct more comprehensive studies into the influence of internet content on digital exclusion among older people. These should explore what types of content are likely to encourage older people to use the internet.

• Website providers, including in the public, private and voluntary sectors, should assess whether their content meets standards of accessibility required by many older people, and where necessary take steps to ensure this is the case.

• Policy-makers should develop a coherent, multi-faceted strategy to address the digital exclusion of older people, based on the best evidence about the complex causes of digital exclusion. The strategy should cover education and skills, financial issues, infrastructure, internet accessibility and other relevant factors.

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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.

Author: Rebecca Taylor

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A report examining how the public and private sectors can best enable today’s young people to plan for their retirement.

This report, produced with the support of Prudential, examines the financial and economic circumstances of young people today, and considers the role of behavioural economics in nudging young people towards saving for retirement.

The report notes the trends which are likely to impact on long term saving, including increased longevity, fiscal problems caused by population ageing, an increase in flexible working, and growing care needs. In the future, most people will be enrolled in money purchase (defined contribution) rather than final salary pension schemes, requiring individuals to bear more responsibility for their retirement income. The report also points out that buying a house will become more difficult – arguing that an obsession with investment in housing may be inhibiting saving for a pension.

The report recommends:
• The development and promotion of a savings rule of thumb similar to the ‘5-a-day’ healthy eating message.
• Better promotion of existing incentives to save.
• Taking the opportunity provided by online financial services to make pension saving more accessible and as easy as online banking.
• The development of a ‘Plan B’ in case young people ‘opt out’ of occupational pensions saving after the introduction of auto-enrolment in 2012.
• The introduction of a compulsory choice between savings options – making young people exercise the power they seem to demand.
• Government should consider the introduction of a graduated state pension to reflect changing expectations around retirement.

Dr Craig Berry, Senior Researcher at ILC-UK and author of the report said:

“Planning for retirement may be an alien concept for many young people, but delayed transitions to adulthood in terms of owning a home, establishing a career and starting a family mean that young people need to start saving for a pension now. Crucially, however, government policy to encourage saving must be informed by generational perspective. If we are to get young people to save we must consider their financial and economic circumstances, alongside their behavioural traits.”

Minister of State for Pensions Steve Webb said:

“We have to get young people engaged in pensions as they will live longer than us and will have to take more responsibility for saving for their retirement.”

“Automatic enrolment will make a dramatic difference, giving millions the opportunity to save in a work based scheme for the first time ever, with nearly a quarter of those eligible aged 22 to 30. And NEST’s investment approach will help them see their money growing and encourage them to keep saving.”

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This ILC-UK think-piece seeks to widen the debate on funding long term care

'Past Caring? Widening the Debate on Funding Long Term Care' addresses one of the most controversial and intractable issues in UK politics today: how to fund long term care. Its main aim is to broaden the debate with reference to a range of issues that must be taken into account before a sustainable and fair funding settlement can be reached. The think-piece builds upon elements of various models proposed in recent years to sketch a series of ideas which could be adopted by the Dilnot Commission, or incorporated at some later point as a skeletal funding system evolves in operation.

The think-piece argues that the partnership model, a variant of which is likely to be proposed by the Dilnot Commission, offers significant opportunities for a fair and sustainable funding system for long term care, given that it could lead to the removal of means-testing, and offers an ambitious vision for the role of the state and general taxation in care funding. But it suffers from what is termed here 'the pot fallacy'. It assumes that an individual's care needs can be quantified by estimating the cost of meeting these needs. In reality, the existence of three 'frontiers' within the mixed economy of care (between care provision and health provision, between formal and informal carers, and between care and array of other services which feed into care delivery, most notably housing) defy the notion of the pot; it is increasingly at these frontiers where innovation in care delivery will occur.

The think-piece also argues that many aspects of care provision should be more closely integrated with health provision, paid for by the taxpayer but with scope for individuals to top up state-funded provision. Crucially, however, not all care needs can be addressed in this way. Care needs are essentially amorphous; many are most appropriately met by families and communities, and the funding system should recognise this amorphousness. Many services will also be provided through innovative mechanisms such as extra care housing, funded through both public and private mechanisms. Given that many people will also seek to top up services or insure against the risk of care needs arising at a level not deemed appropriate for universal, taxpayer-funded services, private insurance will have a significant role in the future of care funding.

Such changes will by necessity emerge piecemeal rather than perfectly formed. Yet the crisis is now. As such, the think-piece develops a short-term solution which builds upon aspects of ILC-UK's social insurance model, while arguing that the social insurance principle may no longer be an appropriate foundation for welfare provision, and that ultimately means-testing within the care funding system must be eliminated.

Author: Craig Berry

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This research questions whether Localism can work for older people living in urban areas and sets out a number of recommendations that will help ensure that the views of all people are considered in new local decision-making processes.

This research argues that the success of the Localism Bill depends on equitable access to social networks and information, as well as substantial levels of political interest and community engagement. But it finds that these are lacking for some people, particularly older people, living in urban communities.

ILC-UK undertook critical analysis of the British Social Attitudes Survey to inform a new research paper on the impact of the Big Society and Localism Bill on older people living in urban environments. The analysis found that:

Political Engagement
• Older people in urban areas were not as interested in politics – twice as many older people in urban areas said they had little or no interest in politics (35%) compared to older rural residents (18%).
• Not only were adults of all ages in urban areas less interested in politics, they were significantly less likely to vote in all or most local elections than those in rural areas.
• While older people are generally more interested in politics than working age people, older people in urban areas show around the same degree of interest in politics as working age people in rural areas.
• The report finds that disadvantage drives several of these differences. It finds that having no qualifications or living in social housing negatively predict political interest and voting in local elections – more urban residents share these characteristics than rural residents.
• These findings are of concern as there is little detail in the Localism Bill on strategies that will help those from disadvantaged backgrounds engage with the new political structures.

Access to information and services
• Older people in urban areas are significantly less likely to have access to the internet at home (two-fifths do) than older people in rural or suburban areas (over half do).
• Older people across all areas are significantly less likely to have access to the internet at home than people under 65. Under half of older people across all areas have access to the internet at home compared to over three-quarters of people under 65. Even fewer older people actually use the internet.
• Older people in urban areas are more likely to be dependent on public transport to reach local shops and services than in rural areas (24% versus 8%), and are more likely to report that there are areas within a mile of their home that they are afraid to walk through (61% versus 33%).
• These findings are of concern as there is little detail in the Localism Bill on standards for ensuring access to information and new decision making structures.

Intergenerational relations and Big Society
• Older people in urban areas are more likely to agree or agree strongly that young people do not have respect for British values, almost 90% do.
• But, working age people (under 65) in urban areas appear more sympathetic to older people continuing in the workforce and to raising the benefits given to pensioners.
• Nevertheless, these findings are of concern as they suggest that the quality of intergenerational relations in urban areas may be lower than in rural areas. To make the Localism Bill work and ensure that no group or generation loses out, good intergenerational cooperation is needed.

Many of our findings reflect wider concerns about the ability of less advantaged people to participate in decision making structures, and to lobby for the continuation of services upon which they may be reliant, without clear guidance and minimum standards in place for the provision of information.

In publishing this report, ILC-UK recommends that:

• Policy-makers should seek to strengthen interpersonal, intergenerational, and multigenerational networks, particularly in urban areas.
• Policy making under Localism should find a way to ensure that decisions reflect the diversity of the electorate.
• Local and central Government should engage in a programme of activity to encourage community engagement among more hard to reach groups.
• The National Planning Framework, which will provide guidance for local development, should include provision for housing an ageing population and ensuring the adequate provision of affordable housing.
• The Government should introduce minimum standards for the provision of timely information should be set in place to facilitate engagement among older and more deprived residents.
• Community meetings, referendums and other opportunities to participate in the Big Society in urban areas should be structured around the specific needs of older people to ensure adequate representation.

Author: Dylan Kneale

This publication is available to download below.

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A report from the International Longevity Centre Global Alliance dinner debate, Cape Town

The International Longevity Centre Global Alliance dinner debate on ‘Narrowing World Health Disparities and Longevity’ was held on the 25th October 2010 in Cape Town, South Africa, during the ILC Global Alliance annual meeting. The format of the evening included: welcome and introductions, a speech from the guest speaker, and then an open forum for debate on the issues.

The discussion provided a unique opportunity for a debate on an issue which is keenly felt on all sides of the world. One of the aims of the debate was to produce this report, summarising and highlighting the key issues which emerged from the discussion. From this, the ILC-UK has formulated some recommendations on how to narrow the inequalities of circumstance and opportunities that affect the health of older people, which could be applicable in many parts of the world.

Visit the new International Longevity Centre Global Alliance website.
You can follow the Global Alliance on Twitter, @ILCglobal

The report is available to download below.

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This report examines the opportunities and obstacles that the Localism Bill presents to developing Neighbourhoods for all ages.

In this report, we examine the development and progression of communities for all ages reflective of an ageing population, as well as other demographic changes.

We review the future of both the concept of ‘Lifetime Neighbourhoods’ as well as ‘Neighbourhoods for all ages’ more generally in the context of recent policy changes, including the Spending Review and the Localism Bill.

We also present the views of policy-makers, academics, the voluntary sector, and other interested parties, on Localism and Neighbourhoods for all ages.

This report outlines how the Localism Bill offers both opportunities and obstacles in developing homes and communities for the future. After presenting a number of arguments ILC-UK make several recommendations including:

1. Ensuring that the forthcoming National Planning Framework includes specific measures to plan for an ageing society
2. Ensuring that parts of the Localism Bill includes greater safeguards to protect the rights of older people to access a full range of services
3. Setting in place a set of minimum standards for the provision of accessible, relevant and timely information and advice to older people on changes to service provision and new developments
4. Expansion of the equalities impact assessment of the Spending Review and Localism Bill to examine the impact of changes on older people
5. Developing a transparent framework for evaluating the impact of the Localism Bill; currently it is not clear how the effects of the Bill will be assessed, particularly with the forthcoming closure of the Audit Commission

Authors: Dylan Kneale and David Sinclair

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The British Society of Gerontology (BSG) and ILC-UK are delighted to launch this first 'think-piece' for ILC-UK by BSG member, Simon Evans, from the University of the West of England.

This think piece argues that public sector responses to climate change must address adaptation and mitigation. Increasing environmental, financial and social pressures make this the ideal time to mainstream innovative ways of providing public services.

Recent Government policy for the public sector has included a strong focus on addressing climate change and promoting sustainability in the commissioning and delivery of services. Yet whilst a range of strategies and tools have been developed to address these issues for health services but that the sustainability agenda is far less developed in the social care sector.

This think piece promotes a recent research project which highlighted several examples of good practice in developing sustainable systems of social care. These included incorporating sustainable outcomes in commissioning decisions, reducing the travel miles incurred through delivering care, implementing telecare solutions as a core part of care packages and appointing green champions within each service.

But Simon Evans argues that while many of these examples go some way towards achieving environmental and economic sustainability, dramatic cuts in public spending mean that we also need a fundamental rethink about how services are provided.

He argues that new ways of providing public services based on principles such as co-production, mutualism, timebanking and localism have the potential to offer services that are sustainable - environmentally, socially and economically.

However, in order to make these changes on a sufficient scale to fill the emerging gap in public services, the right conditions need to be put in place urgently. These conditions include long term thinking, resources, imagination and leadership.

Simon Evans concludes by noting that more research is urgently needed in the area of both policy and practice for sustainable public services.

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The report reveals that the dementia research agenda in most EU countries remains critically under-funded and under-valued.

The report, ‘The European Dementia Research Agenda’ finds there is widespread disparity in the diagnosis, treatment and care of people with dementia across Europe.

The lead author of the report, Sally-Marie Bamford, ILC-UK Senior Researcher, argues that research needs to be afforded a greater role in tackling Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias. The report suggests investment in clinical research and translational research will reap its own rewards and holds the key to improved prevention, diagnosis and treatment.

While some countries are striving forward such as Germany and France, the report found, many EU countries are trailing behind with no specifically targeted dementia research funding and/or national strategies.

The report made possible through an unrestricted grant from Pfizer, summarises the presentations, discussions and ideas which emerged from an expert working group meeting on dementia research held in the European Parliament in November 2010. It also brings together recent research on the scale, cost, national and EU responses to dementia and recent EU initiatives.

Today ILC-UK issued a Call to Action for the European Commission, the European Parliament, EU governments, and wider civil society. Among the 13 recommendations are:

For the European Commission to:
• Prioritise dementia research under Framework Programme 8, given the growing burden and financial, health, social and human cost of dementia across Europe
• Develop a European Charter to increase the participation of people with dementia in clinical trials, share best practice and examine current obstacles

For the Members of the European Parliament to:
• Support the drafting and adoption of a United Nations Convention on the Human Rights of Older People

For Governments of the Member States to:
• Ensure parity in funding for dementia research in line with other chronic diseases and the disease burden
• Ensure the implementation and adequate resourcing of comprehensive national strategies to address all aspects of dementia
• Create national centres of excellence in dementia research

For NGOs, clinicians, industry and academia to:
• Work with professional bodies that represent, regulate and are responsible for the training of GPs and other health care professionals to encourage more Continuing Professional Development in dementia and the exchange of best practice

Download the full report below.

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This report is based on the ILC-UK/Actuarial Profession joint debate on preventative healthcare in an ageing society which took place on 3 November 2010. The debate was kindly supported by Sanofi Pasteur MSD.

The debate was chaired by Baroness Jill Pitkeathley. Speakers were Professor Mark Suhrcke from the University of East Anglia and Dr Richard Pitman from Oxford Outcomes.

Panellists were Dr David Heymann from the Health Protection Agency, Mr Russell Turner from Marks and Spencer and Mr Darrell Gale from Wiltshire PCT.

The debate sought to examine questions including:
• Is preventative healthcare now an economic necessity for an ageing society?
• How can the economic benefit of preventative healthcare be assessed?
• How can preventative healthcare contribute to employment and well being among older workers?
• At what age is preventative healthcare most effective?

Among the points raised were:
• The prevention of chronic diseases should be assessed on a value for money rather than cost-saving basis;
• Assessing the value of prevention should look at indirect costs such as productivity, welfare costs and the costs and benefits to others e.g. carers, family members
• There is considerable evidence for the cost-saving impact of vaccination particularly flu vaccination, despite the fact that herd immunity is never factored into calculations;
• There is a need for further research to identify “best buys” in preventative healthcare.

Author: Rebecca Taylor

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How the Public and Private Sectors Can Influence Older Drivers’ Self-Regulation.

Today’s older people are driving further and more often than previous cohorts, and cars remain vital to people’s mobility in later life. There is a need to consider how to maintain the road safety of older drivers in an ageing society.

The report considers how insights from behavioural economics and psychology can be utilised to ‘nudge’ older people towards more sensible decisions around driving in later life. There is evidence that individuals do restrict, reduce or cease driving as they get older, but that they may not be self-regulating effectively due to a lack of support, information and appropriate incentives in the wider regulatory system. In many cases this leads to over¬-regulation by individuals and their families, and makes decisions about driving unnecessarily traumatic.

The report draws upon the nudge agenda to make a series of practical recommendations, including:

* A system of self-selected licensing restrictions to instil a ‘norm’ of self-regulation
* Financial incentives offered by insurance companies and/or licensing authorities to encourage self-regulation
* Self-certification of fitness to drive at age 70 extended to all drivers
* Greater provision of education and training for drivers, including through social media and smartphone applications
* More training for healthcare professionals on the impact of ageing on driving, so they can more effectively advise patients and their families

Author: Craig Berry

You can download a copy of the publication below:

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Increasing numbers of older people, higher expectations for ‘a good life’, and demands on health and social care services, have led to international interest in improving and measuring quality of life in older age.

However, most measures of quality of life have been based on ‘expert’ opinion. If the expert-led measures of quality of life don’t measure the right things, policy makers may end up making the wrong policy interventions.

Since 1999, Professor Ann Bowling and colleagues, funded by the Economic and Social Research Council, have been formulating a new measure of quality of life based on the priorities of older people. This research has used in depth interviews with the public to gain an idea of the contributory factors to older people’s wellbeing.

An ILC-UK debate, joint with the Actuarial Profession, was held on this topic on Tuesday 10th May.

Professor Ann Bowling in collaboration with ILC-UK will also be presenting this research at four regional events with The Greater London Forum, Centre for Ageing Research and Development in Ireland (CARDI), the Cambridge Older People’s Enterprise (COPE) and the Derby 50+ Forum.

The report of this research: 'Good Neighbours' can be downloaded below in summary and in full. Also available for download is the questionnaire used in the research.

Good Neighbours Findings Full Report

Good Neighbours Summary (also available to view below)

Questionnaire

Scoring and norms for the questionnaire

An impact report of the dissemination work conducted by ILC-UK on behalf of Professor Bowling and ESRC

Powerpoint of the ILC-UK and Actuarial Profession Joint Debate: via Slideshare

 

Good Neighbours Summary

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This new research, by David Sinclair of ILC-UK, for Age UK, considers the market potential of the older consumer and highlights how companies can make more of this population

"An excellent report"
David Willetts MP, Minister of State for Universities and Science

"It is a sound research project that gives an excellent view of the dynamics of the older market."
Dick Stroud, 20plus30

"This is an exceptional report. It's the best thought through piece on this subject that I've seen and - if it gets in the right hands - it will move the debate forward significantly and do a lot of good."
Tony Watts, Editor, Mature Times

The consumer market is important to older people, providing (and influencing) the food we eat and the medications we take. The private sector help us fill our leisure time and support our learning and personal development.

At the same time. older people are important to the market and the economy. Older people’s spending reached an estimated £97 billion in 2008 (65 plus)‚ around 15 per cent of the overall household expenditure. Those aged 50 or over spent £276 billion in 2008‚ making up around 44 per cent of the total family spending in the UK.

Yet despite the size of the market, this report finds that for many, the private sector does not meet their needs. This is not just a story of poverty or a lack of income to buy products, but of a consumer marketplace which frequently fails to meet the needs of an ageing population. People of all income levels are consumers. For the poorest consumer, they often find that they pay more and get less back in return.

Some older people are well served by the market. And in some cases older people get fantastic service from the private sector. Yet there are significant issues facing the older consumer. Many of the issues highlighted below have been documented in literature as far back as the 1960s. Some of the failings outlined in this report are indicative of market failure.

Summary of Findings

Introduction
• The older consumer market is expected to grow by 81 per cent from 2005 to 2030 while the 18-59 year old market will only increase 7 per cent.
• There remains a strong view that across a wide range of industries, the older consumer continues to be ignored or patronised.
• There are signs of change and increasing interest in the older consumer. But it is surprising that progress has been so slow. Research as far back as 50 years ago has highlighted the potential of the older consumer.

Who are the older consumers?
• There is no such thing as a single older consumer market and there are significant weaknesses of using age to segment the consumer market.
• It appears that our spending habits change as we age. But research suggests that age may be a less relevant factor (than income) in spending habits than it appears.
• An ageing society is likely to change the demand for certain goods and services and create new opportunities.
• Older people don’t just buy products for themselves. They shop for their children and grandchildren.
• Changes to physical and mental health are likely to have an impact on the demand for certain goods and services.

The Consumer experience
• Products and services can be made more attractive to the older consumer by the simple use of inclusive design principals.
• There are significant research gaps in relation to the older consumer.
• Six in ten over 65s have never used the internet. The digital divide creates a major barrier for older people in the consumer marketplace.
• Upper age limits mean that some products and services are inaccessible to the older population.
• The design of the retail environment can be off-putting to the older consumer.
• Incomprehensible jargon and modern phraseology can make the consumer marketplace complicated for people of all ages.
• ‘Ghost town Britain’ has a major impact on older people’s ability to engage with the consumer marketplace.
• A lack of transport alongside poor mobility is one of the biggest barriers to older people’s participation in the consumer market.
• Older people value ‘a little bit of help’. Some companies are very good at providing this support but it is often badly promoted.
• Older people are more likely to use cheques than other age groups.. As a result the poor often find themselves paying more.
• Fraud and mis-selling is a major issue of concern for the older consumer.

Marketing to the older consumer

• Ageism undoubtedly influences the consumer market and the way in which some marketing professionals target an older population.
• Older people (particularly women) are underrepresented in television advertisements but there is limited evidence that older people are badly represented. There is, however, evidence that older people seem to perceive that they are badly represented.
• The ‘young marketer’, with limited understanding of the older population, is often blamed for some of industries failings in terms of marketing to older people. However, whilst there is a strong case for more older marketers, this is an unfair criticism.

A need for a more demanding older consumer

• Older people are far too often, not demanding goods and services to meet their current needs. Older consumers have been found to be less likely to complain about products and services than the consumer population as a whole.

Download the full report below.

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Report exploring existing datasets to inform The Golden Economy report

This report, written by Dr Adele Atkinson and David Hayes of the Personal Finance Resource Centre (PFRC) at Bristol University, explores existing datasets to inform The Golden Economy report.

The main aim of this report is to explore existing datasets and compare older consumers with younger cohorts and track individuals’ patterns of consumption across time.

The report explores:
* Assets, wealth and income of older people;
* Spending on various types of products by older people;
* The way people pay for goods and services;
* The use of different sales outlets (shop, catalogue, online, etc) by older people.

This report draws on data from a number of sources, as acknowledged below:

1. Published output from the Wealth and Assets Survey 2006/2008, as reported in ‘Wealth In Great Britain’ (Office for National Statistics, 2009).

2. Study Number 5050 - English Longitudinal Study of Ageing: Wave 0 (1998, 1999 and 2001) and Waves 1-3 (2002-2007) (Marmot et al., 2009).

3. Expenditure and Food Survey 2004; 2007 (Office for National Statistics and Department for Environment Food and Rural Affairs, 2009).

ILC-UK are grateful to Age UK for making this report possible.

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Functional foods can play a role in supporting older people’s health says ILC-UK report.

Functional foods could play an important role in supporting older people’s health says a report published this week by the International Longevity Centre-UK. Functional foods are not however a silver bullet; they complement rather than replace a healthy diet.

The report “Older people and functional foods: The importance of diet in supporting older people’s health; what role for functional foods?” reviews current dietary recommendations for older people, looks at consumer behaviour towards functional foods, and asks whether functional foods have a role to play in older people’s diets.

The report, made possible by Danone and prepared by Rebecca Taylor, Senior Researcher at ILC-UK, shows that the common health concerns of older people, such as cardiovascular disease, bone health and gastrointestinal functioning are the main areas targeted by the most common functional foods, namely cholesterol lowering products, probiotics, and calcium and vitamin D enriched products. It is not surprising therefore, that an older person who perceives themselves as needing the health benefit provided by a functional food, is more likely to consume it.

The report finds the scientific evidence for the cholesterol lowering ability of plant stanol/sterol containing products to be highly robust and argues that there is a case for introducing such products into the diets of older people in order to help reduce their risk of cardiovascular disease.

The report finds that the UK’s current recommended intakes for vitamin D and calcium for older people now appear to be out of step with current nutritional science, which suggests higher levels of both nutrients are needed. The report also highlights the fact that current dietary guidelines treat older people as a homogenous group when in fact the health and nutritional needs of a 55 year old can be quite different to those of an 85 year old.

Many older people are susceptible to gastrointestinal problems, some of which can be serious, and many of which impact quality of life. Probiotic functional foods show significant promise in this area and solid scientific evidence already exists for some complaints, for example antibiotic associated diarrhoea.

In total, ILC-UK makes 11 recommendations on older people and functional foods including recommendations for action and future research.

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Author: Rebecca Taylor

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On 1st July 2010, NESTA organised an event which posed the question “Can the web provide innovative solutions to help transform care for older people”.

This think-piece broadly summarises the presentation given by David Sinclair at this event.

The think-piece notes that we have an ageing society and are going to need to provide more care. It argues that care is in crisis today and that it is likely to get worse before it gets better.

The think-piece explores the potential of web based technologies to improve social care but argues that there are significant barriers to mainstreaming.

David Sinclair argues that if we are to make the most of new technology in the context of the care needs of an ageing society, we must:

* Deliver more usable and accessible technology.
* Better motivate, engage and inspire an interest in technology by the older population
* Address the moral and ethical barriers to technology.
* Get the basic’s right first.
* Tackle digital exclusion.
* Attempt to create and support a culture of private purchase for health and care technologies.
* Better integrate health and care.
* Deliver access to information and advice about new technologies.
* Ensure there is investment for prevention and for new technologies.

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