Guest Blog: Andrew Monk – Is there a future for cheques?

In 2009, the UK Payments Council announced the planned withdrawal of cheque clearing in 2018. This target date was rescinded this July after pressure from many groups, particularly those representing older people. So should people who rely on cheques for certain kinds of payments breathe a sigh of relief? Well possibly not. Cheques in their current form cost the banks considerably more than most other transactions and it would seem to many observers that it cannot be long before this is reflected in bank charges. The “New Approaches to Banking for the Older Old” project (1) has been considering how one might design an electronic and hence cheaper transaction that still maintains the properties of cheques that people value.

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Can pensions policy help to make gradual retirement a reality?

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’. Notions of ‘winding down’ and ‘semi-retirement’ have been with us for a long time, yet seem to obscure more than they explain about what the retirement process is really like. Gradual retirement, on the other hand, is 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, or indeed even moving into self-employment in later life.

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Are we becoming complacent about immunisation?

Front page news in today’s Brighton Argus makes very worrying if depressingly predictable reading (Measles Sweeps Through Brighton and Hove (1)). The newspaper reports that “Nine children at two Hove schools have been diagnosed with the potentially fatal infectious disease in the past couple of weeks – more than the entire number of cases in the whole of Sussex last year.” It goes on to point out that some babies too young to be vaccinated have contracted the condition from other children.

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Should older people suffering from dementia go to prison?

Former French president  Jacques Chirac, 78 years old, was diagnosed with the symptoms of dementia last  month, two days before the trial for the “bogus jobs” affair opened, a trial in  which Chirac is one of the defendants [1]. Just a few days ago in Cambodia, Ieng  Thirith, the only woman to be tried for the crimes against humanity committed in  Cambodia, aged 79, was also said to be suffering from health issues including  Alzheimer’s which, according to her defence team, make her unfit to stand trial  [2].

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Making a case for bridging the gap between younger and older LGBT people

Yesterday at the House of Lords, the ILC-UK launched four publications that examined the potential of younger and older LGBT people to work together to improve intergenerational relations, in partnership with Age UK. This work, sponsored by Pfizer and vinspired, was based on three ground-breaking projects that brought younger and older LGBT people together to work on projects themed around the arts, service needs, and local history.

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UN High-Level meeting on non communicable diseases

On 19-20 September 2011 the United Nation held a High-Level Meeting on Non Communicable Diseases (NCDs). This meeting witnessed the recognition of neurological diseases, including Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias, previously excluded from the focus of the High-Level Meeting, as contributing to the non-communicable disease burden worldwide along with cardiovascular diseases, cancers, chronic respiratory diseases and diabetes. In fact, as stated in the political declaration of the High-Level Meeting of the General Assembly on the Prevention and Control of Non-Communicable Diseases, they “recognise that mental and neurological disorders, including Alzheimer’s disease, are an important cause of morbidity and contribute to the global non-communicable disease burden, for which there is a need to provide equitable access to effective programmes and health-care interventions” [1].

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Guest Blog: Bob Laventure – New physical activity guidelines for older adults launched by UK Chief Medical Officers

How much physical activity should the older population be doing?

The four UK Chief Medical Officers have recently published Start Young Stay Active which updates existing guidelines for children, young people and adults but for the first time, includes specific guidance on physical activity for older adults (65+).

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Housing, demographic change and the National Planning Policy Framework

In 2007, ILC-UK published “Sustainable Planning for Housing in an Ageing Population” (1). It pointed out that older households will represent half of all household growth to 2026, that one third of households were headed by somebody aged over 60, and that the 80 plus population would grow by one million from 2008 to 2025. It made a strong case for planning future housing supply based on demographic change.

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