Public policy, ageing and the voluntary sector

In the run up to the 2015 election we are seeing lots of policy ideas emerge to respond to the challenges and opportunities of ageing. But how might these possible policy changes impact on the voluntary sector?

Retirement income: More and more older people are going to reach “retirement” needing to turn their own pension pots into income. Historically many retirees have benefitted from final salary pension schemes. But most future generations are going to have to make their own decisions about their retirement income, particularly given the removal of the need to take out an annuity announced in the Budget recently. The Chancellor has outlined a key role for information at the point of retirement (not just independent financial advice) and the ‘advice’ sector is likely to find itself needing to be prepared to support people through difficult financial decisions. Continue reading

Guest blog: Karen Taylor – Better care for frail older people: A right that needs to become a reality

Success treating, managing and preventing disease has led to increased longevity and a relatively active and prosperous older generation who provide an invaluable economic and social contribution to society. However, it has also contributed to what is arguably the most daunting challenge facing the UK health and social care system today – the need to care for and support growing numbers of medically complex, frailer older people with increasingly limited resources.  As a result the current model of care for our most vulnerable members of society is at a tipping point and no longer fit for purpose. Continue reading

Guest blog: Professor Philip Cowley – Age and the politics of presence

All the mainstream British political parties are – to varying degrees – now signed up to the underlying principle that political institutions should broadly reflect the social characteristics of the people they represent.  David Cameron’s very first speech as party leader in 2005 contained the claim that ‘We will change the way we look’. Ed Miliband has made several speeches on the same theme.  The idea that what Anne Phillips called ‘the politics of presence’ is important is now a widely, if not wholly, accepted part of political discourse in the UK.
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Guest blog: Douglas White – Digital Participation in 7 Steps

The internet is now described by many people as ‘the fourth utility’ while having access to the web is increasingly seen as a basic facet of 21st century life. But nearly two-thirds of people aged 65 and over are not online.  This is a major problem. Why? Well, digital technology often has the potential to help address, or at least mitigate, a number of the social and economic disadvantages faced by some older people. But as the technology gets better and faster every year, the divide between those who are connected and those who are not grows wider. This means that existing inequalities are rapidly becoming even more entrenched. Continue reading

Guest blog: Ben Spencer and Tim Jones – Cycling for healthy ageing in the UK

Cycling could play a significant role in maintaining health and wellbeing among older people but the UK is not seizing this opportunity argue Ben Spencer and Tim Jones of Oxford Brookes University.

Regular cycling, even over short distances, can help reduce blood pressure, improve heart health, boost self-reported wellbeing, reduce the risk of cancer and diabetes and lead to weight loss (Cavill and Davis 2007). Cycling could also improve wellbeing by enabling older people to maintain social networks and engage with the outside world. Continue reading

Guest Blog: Henry Tapper – Could a traded annuity market work in the UK?

For a market to work efficiently there must be liquidity – a buyer, a seller and a shop (where items are bought and sold). The idea of annuities being traded requires us to imagine a seller (someone who wants out of a current annuity), a buyer (someone who buys the income stream that continues as long as the buyer does) and an exchange (shop) where an inventory of lives for sale is advertised and the operational issues of transferring claim to the payments is sorted out.
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Guest Blog: Dr Matthew Norton – ‘You’re just a bit doolally’: Tackling the stigma of dementia

This is a cross blog post with Alzheimer’s Research UK

Stigma is an issue that continues to blight progress in dementia research and support for people with dementia and their carers. It is mainly exhibited through fear and people who have the condition being discredited or ostracised. It often stems from wider ageism – the idea that older people are ‘doddery but dear’ – dementia is often simply viewed as an extension of this facet. Continue reading

The End of the Census

Britain has recorded its history through a series of population reports since 1086 when the Domesday Book was compiled and the current day Census has become increasingly important in tracking the DNA of the country as working patterns become more diverse, the population becomes more mobile, and people live longer.

A formal Census has been collected in the UK for the past 200 years and over time it has evolved to collect relevant information about Britons, and now it looks like it will evolve again as Census-keeper, the Office of National Statistics (ONS) has consulted on its next phase. Continue reading

Live blog: ‘Linking state pension age to longevity’ debate

Welcome to the live blog for the ILC-UK/Age UK event ‘Linking state pension age and longevity – tackling the fairness challenge’, hosted by PwC. For full details of the event please click here.

At the event, we will hear from the Minister for Pensions, Steve Webb MP on his plans for state pensions.

ILC-UK Research Fellow, Ben Franklin will present a new report, supported by the ILC-UK Age UK Fellowship, which will consider the complex issues.

Dr Craig Berry, ILC-UK Fellow and Research Fellow at the University of Sheffield, will present research undertaken for the TUC on life expectancy inequalities. He will also discuss proposals for an independent commission on state pension age.

Camilla Williamson, Age UK’s Development and Support Manager, Knowledge Transfer, will present new qualitative research on the impact of changes to the State Pension Age on people in routine occupations and their thoughts and feelings on linking it to average life expectancy.

Professor John MacInnes, a social demographer and Professor of Sociology at the University of Edinburgh, will present data on Scottish life expectancy by residence in areas of multiple deprivation. Continue reading