Wednesday, 30 December 2009

Online Job Hunting

These are some sensible guidelines for job hunting online.

Boomers all over the world are redefining retirement

Boomers at every stage they have passed through have had a fundamental impact on our social institutions. It is not surprising therefore that they are redefining retirement. In the UK more people are delaying retirement because they have to but many more are doing so because they don't want to. 30 -40 years of doing very little that is meaningful is having a real impact on people's thinking. We all need work be that non-paid or paid. Meaning is the new money. And the boomers want lots of it! Look at a recent Canadian article : "When I visited an art festival this summer in Peterborough, Ont., I was struck by how many artists were Baby Boomers who had retired from 30-year-plus careers in business or government and finally took the plunge as creative artists. Tina DiVito, director of retirement strategies for BMO Financial Group, noticed the same trend during a trip to Quebec City in August. 'They're not trying to make millions but it's very rewarding to a lot of people."

Other Boomers will build home-based businesses, using the Internet. Anyone on Twitter is familiar with the hordes of Internet-based marketers, selling products or services through multi-level marketing schemes, affiliate programs and their variants."

Three years ago, a BMO study found most Canadian Boomers planned to work "in some capacity" after traditional retirement, with the top two reasons being "to stay mentally active" and "stay in touch with people." Money was third. In 2009, the three were reversed, with more than 80% citing the need to "earn money" in retirement or semi-retirement.

The growth in self employment in this age group, often because of difficulty in finding a job after 50 or not finding one that is flexible enough is testament again to this development.

The 20th century model of education, paid work and retirement is collapsing in front of our lives.

Thursday, 24 December 2009

What older workers say they want

Ipsos-MORI questioned 1,196 people born between 1945 and 1960 between September 11 and October 1.

Only one in four older workers plans to retire early, with 43% intending to work on into their late 60s and 70s, research has shown.

Around 26% of people aged over 50 who have not yet retired hope to give up work before they reach the state pension age, according to the Department of Work and Pensions.

But 25% plan to work on for a few years after being able to claim their state pension, while 12% say they will work for a long time after this date, and 6% will leave their current job but look for other work that suits them better.

Only 31% of those questioned said they planned to retire when they were able to pick up their state pension.

Around 28% said they planned to work for longer due to financial considerations, with 26% saying the recession had changed their retirement plans.

But 22% said they did not feel old enough to retire completely, 21% said they loved their job and 20% said they thought working kept them younger and fitter.

Many people did not know the benefits of working on beyond the state pension age, with 44% not realising they would not have to pay National Insurance, while 38% did not know they could defer taking their state pension in exchange for getting a larger income later.

Minister for Pensions and Ageing Society Angela Eagle said: "The idea that you reach state pension age and suddenly stop work is being challenged by our generation of baby boomers, with many not feeling old enough to stop work completely.

"People want the choice to decide what's right for them but, worryingly, many make this decision based on little or no knowledge of the financial facts."

Tuesday, 22 December 2009

Christmas 2009: Young and Old

A recent BMJ article quoted some research into how articles published between January 1997 and April 2008 the Economist dealt with ageing. Most featured pensions, demography, and politics. Of these 64% portrayed population ageing as a burden and 12% as a benefit; 24% had a balanced view. Most articles therefore showed a predominantly ageist view of older people as a burden on society, often portraying them as frail non-contributors. Recurrent themes included pension and demographic "time bombs" and future unsustainable costs of health care for older people. The researchers concluded that this negative view of older people might be influential in shaping the attitudes of readers, who include opinion formers in political and economic circles. Gerontologists (including geriatricians) need to engage with influential media, as well as helping to promote a professional development of journalists that is informed and knowledgeable about the negative impact of ageism on the wellbeing of older people. Amen to that!

Monday, 21 December 2009

An antiwrinkle cream that actually works?

I use google alerts to get up to date stories and data relevant to the 50+'s and at least half of all the alerts are about anti-wrinkle creams of some kind or another. So what might make this story different. A new pill has beeen developed by food giant Nestlé and L’Oréal, the world’s biggest cosmetics company. It uses a compound found in tomatoes to promote the regeneration of new skin cells and protect old ones from damage.

Known as Innéov Fermeté, it is claimed that taking one of these pills just once a day will lead to a younger appearance by harnessing the health-giving properties of tomatoes.

Scientists who designed the pill claim that trials have shown it dramatically slows down the ageing of the skin.It is already on sale in parts of Europe and South America.

A British launch is planned, although the companies remain tight-lipped about the exact date. Before this can happen, teams of skincare consultants will have to be trained to help customers with advice on taking the pill.

Scientists developing the pill based it on lycopene, the red carotene pigment found in tomatoes. They modified it into a form more readily absorbed by human cells, then combined it with a form of vitamin C and with isoflavones — chemicals extracted from soya beans.

All three ingredients are powerful antioxidants which, scientists believe, help protect tissue against damage.

The developers have tested their wrinkle drug with two groups of female volunteers: 90 post-menopausal women aged 51-69 and 70 others with an average age of 45.

In each study, the women were divided into those who took the new pill and those who swallowed a placebo.

After six months, the skin of those taking the real drug showed an 8.7 per cent better rate of elasticity — the rate at which it sprang back into place after being stretched or twisted rather than leaving wrinkles.

One drawback, however, is the cost. The new drug will cost about £25 for a 10-day supply. In addition, manufacturers say women may not notice a difference for three months.

Maybe I should offer to be a tester!

The Pluses Of Employing 50+'s

We keep building our dosier on this topic and the latest research comes from the US in a recent study from the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM), which showed that:
  • 72 percent of human resource professionals said older workers provide invaluable experience.
  • 69 percent said they had a stronger work ethic than younger workers.
  • 68 percent said they were more reliable employees
We have to keep making these points whenever we meet employers or more to the point recruitment types.

Friday, 18 December 2009

Goodbye to Terry

Sad moment this morning as The TOG era came to an end with Terry's departure from his regular morning show. We quote him in most talks we do about the 55+'s, " Use by dates don't apply to people". He finished this morning by commenting that age is important only if you are a cheese!

In my latest book on portfolio careers I write about the importance of managing everyday stress and speaking personally in the morning in my bathroom I regularly used to switch from the confrontational, bad news stuff on the Today Programme to Terry for light relief and to make you smile for the first time in the day.

Thursday, 17 December 2009

Look younger, act younger - are you younger?

Yes - according to some research on twins in Denmark. Researchers have established that a fresh-faced appearance means a longer life, as opposed to those who usually look older than they really are, as the BBC can confirm. Danish researchers looked at 387 pairs of twins to come up with the conclusion mentioned above. Nurses, teachers and colleagues were asked to look at photos of the twins and estimate which one looked younger; then, they determined that the one who did not look their age actually lived a longer life than the twin who seemed older. The explanation for that was found in DNA pieces called telomeres, which were longer in younger looking people, the aforementioned media outlet says.

“In the study, the people who looked younger had longer telomeres. All of the twins were in their 70s, 80s or 90s when they were photographed. Over a seven-year follow-up the researchers, led by Professor Kaare Christensen of the University of Southern Denmark, found that the bigger the difference in perceived age within a pair, the more likely it was that the older-looking twin died first,” the BBC informs. Age, profession and gender were not factors in the findings.

“Perceived age, which is widely used by clinicians as a general indication of a patient’s health, is a robust biomarker of ageing that predicts survival among those aged over 70,” researchers tell BBC of the findings. “It’s probably a combination of genes plus environment over a lifetime that are important,” Professor Tim Spector, who is also conducting a study on twins, says for BBC.

One explanation that researchers are also considering is that people who look older than they really are lead a tougher life: not only it shows on their faces, but it also takes a toll on their body. Either way, being fresh-faced certainly “pays off.”

Wednesday, 16 December 2009

Exercise really does slow down ageing

Your truly half way round the Abbey Dash 10k in Leeds recently running for charity. So you can see why I was delighted to unearth the following research studies which have finally proved that regular exercise can slow down the ageing process, and the reason for this can be found within the body’s white blood cells. We already know that exercising reduces the risk of heart disease and some cancers, and now scientists have discovered that athletes and regular exercisers have longer telomeres (protective DNA at the ends of cell chromosomes) than healthy adults who are non-smokers and non-exercisers.

These telomeres protect the cells much like the coating on the ends of bootlaces prevent them fraying and unravelling, say the German researchers behind the study. Our cells divide throughout our lifetimes, with the telomeres becoming shorter each time, until they get too short to divide further – which is when the traditional signs of ageing such as loss of muscle tone, appearance of wrinkles and degeneration in our senses start to appear.

The study compared the general fitness and telomere length of athletes in their twenties with those of sedentary adults (less than 1 hour’s exercise a week) and found, not surprisingly, that the athletes had lower BMI, lower blood pressure and lower resting heart rate than the non-exercising group of the same age, as well as longer telomeres. A similar study was carried out with participants in their fifties, with similar results. So it’s official – exercise keeps you young. For longer, anyway.

So get out there and exercise!

Monday, 7 December 2009

ACAS can help in disputes about ageing

I had a very interesting discussion with the regional director of ACAS in Yorkshire and Humberside recently and was amazed at the range of activities they get involved in - including helping individuals to examine whether or not they have a case against their employers. They handle around 1 million calls a year from people calling for advice and this of course would include issues around age discrimination. Have a look at their online brochure for details of what they do.

Sunday, 6 December 2009

Do I really want to be taught how to put my slippers on!

Warwickshire County Council is offering a service allowing “older people” to bring in their old slippers and replace them with a pair, which it claims can cut the risk of falling over.

For a fee of £5, participants receive a fitting session, a new pair of the Velcro fastening slippers, and advice on how to don them and avoid accidents around the home.

However, critics have dismissed the so-called Sloppy Slippers project, which is costing taxpayers £3,500, as a waste of money and "patronising" to people in their 50s and 60s.

The council claims that the initiative, which has been adopted by other local authorites, will save money in the long run because it prevents costly injuries to elderly people.

Seriously, it is estimated that around 20 to 30 per cent of falls among the elderly can be prevented. Badly fitting slippers are said to significantly increase the risk of suffering a fall which can lead to disability or death.

The new slippers are safer because they have non-slip soles, better support and a Velcro fastening to ensure a snug and tailored fit, makers Natureform claim.

But slipper coaching at 50!!

Friday, 4 December 2009

Specialist Holidays Increasingly Popular With The Over 50s

According to a recent report by Travelzest and the Centre for Future Studies, more and more adults in their 50s and 60s are turning away from traditional sun and sand holidays in favour of specialist activity or learning based holidays.

Popular niche holidays include yoga and meditation breaks, hobby holidays such as cooking or painting retreats, sports tourism, cycling holidays, wine tasting tours, festivals and fiestas, wildlife tours, adventure holidays and health spa breaks.

There has also been a surge in demand for accommodation designed to take large gatherings of friends and family. The home from home hotel has become increasingly popular with the over 50s in recent years, and this trend is expected to continue.

The internet has been a major force in driving these changes. A recent survey carried out by has revealed that over half of OAPs book their holidays online. The global reach of the internet has made it a lot more economical to reach small and specialist markets, which has resulted in a far greater level of choice for the holidaymaker.

Grandparents save families £860 in childcare

A new study by RIAS has found that 6.1 million older Britons look after their grandchildren regularly for nothing, devoting an average of five hours a week to helping out their hard-working children. This saves families, typically, around £860 a year which adds up to £5.2 billion across the whole country.

Many grandparents will step in to pick up children on the school run or give them lifts to out of school activities. When the youngsters are ill and parents find it hard to take time off work, the older generation steps in to help.

The recession has seen grandparents come to the rescue more often and in different ways, including chipping in financially to pay their children's bills and other costs. A third of grandparents (33 per cent) say they regularly contribute financially, even putting up money towards family holidays and other costly items where they can afford to help.

Combining their free childcare services plus irregular loans can add up to an outlay of £25,000 for one grandchild from birth to their 18th birthday, the report calculated.

Thursday, 3 December 2009

Why cliff edge retirement is not the healthy option

An important research study from the University of Maryland from over 12,000 retirees found that it is better for physical and mental health to partially retire rather than sudden full retirement. The US use the term "bridging occupations' to refer to a job specifically taken up to ease a person into full time retirement. People and organisations please make a note.

Men who believe ageing is linked to happiness binge drink

Young men who believe that ageing is associated with a decline in happiness are more likely to engage in risky health behaviours such as bingedrinking, according to a new study. Their negative view of the aging process may act as a disincentive to behave ‘sensibly’ and encourage them to make the most of the present in anticipation of ‘miserable’ old age, say researchers Dr. John Garry and Dr. Maria Lohan from Queen’s University Belfast, Northern Ireland.

For the study, researchers analyzed data from face-to-face interviews with over 1,000 citizens of Northern Ireland aged over 15 years.
The respondents were also asked to report how happy they currently felt, as well as to estimate how happy they expected to be at the age of 30 and 70. Those who were over 30 and/or 70 were asked to think back at how happy they were then. The researchers also asked them to indicate how happy the average person of their age at age 30 is and how happy at age 70.

Young people wrongly believed that ageing is associated with a decline in happiness. Indeed, young people estimated that happiness declined with age, whereas in actual fact there was no difference between the self-reported happiness levels of young people and old people.
Just over half the respondents were categorized as binge drinkers – 59 percent of males and 45 percent of females. In particular, young men who were pessimistic about future happiness were more likely to binge-drink.

“Our findings confirm, in the case of binge drinking by men, that risky health behaviour in youth is associated with an underestimation of happiness in old age. It may be worthwhile to emphasize, to young men in particular, the positive impact on their lives of reducing alcohol and inform them about happiness in old age,” the authors said.

Wednesday, 2 December 2009

Over 50s planning to use their home to fund pension

There is an article today in Home Move which outlines the results of a survey from Liverpool Victoria which found that more than one million Britons over the age of 50 are planning to cash in on the rising value of their property to help fund retirement.

However, the recent slump in the property market may have scuppered their plans after an average £27,250 has been wiped off property values since autumn 2007.

According to LV, around 12% of over 50s have opted to save less for their retirement because they believed the value of their home would continue to rise.

In September last year, consumer group, Which?, warned those considering equity release should do so as a last resort.

The consumer group believes that the schemes are sometimes expensive, inflexible and leave people with little equity.

Over the last few years, equity release has grown in popularity particularly among pensioners as a retirement solution. The decade-long property boom has meant that many pensioners have been sitting on large amounts of property cash.

However, Which? advises those considering equity release should do so cautiously and seek professional advice and recommends exploring other options and equity release should be a last resort.

One option could be downsizing to a smaller and cheaper property, or another option could be to use existing savings, or even borrow from family who can be paid back when the property is eventually sold, concluded Which?.

Men aged over 50 hit hardest by unemployment

According to a new CIPD report.

Older workers are finding it tougher than other age groups to rejoin the job market after being made redundant. Fewer than one in five over-50s find employment within three months of losing their job, compared to more than 40 per cent of 25 to 34 year olds, official figures show.

Men in the 50-plus age band are faring the worst, with long term unemployment - being jobless for more than six months - doubling in the age group in the past year. This effectively forces men into early retirement, says the alliance of organisations.

In contrast, the rate of long term unemployment among women aged over 50 has only risen half as much, possibly due to their ability to work part-time or willingness to take lower paid roles in the service sector.

Existing government and employer initiatives, such as the Job Guarantee scheme, focus on helping 18 to 24 year olds into employment.

Dianah Worman, the CIPD’s diversity adviser, suggested a similar scheme could help older workers. “For older workers it is far too easy for long-term unemployment to turn into permanent disengagement from the labour market. A job guarantee for older workers would send a signal that these people cannot and should not be resigned to spend the rest of their life reliant on the state.”

Andrew Harrop, head of public policy at Age Concern and Help the Aged, said: “An end to the working lives of men in their 50s now will not only condemn them to an uncomfortable retirement, but will also deprive the recovering economy of their skills and experience, just when they are most needed. The Government must take action in the Pre-Budget Report to avoid creating a lost generation of older workers.”

We would also argue that there must be more emphasis on flexible working which is what the 50`s say that they want. We need to stop thinking that this is all about creating masses more of 40+ hour a week jobs.

Tuesday, 1 December 2009

Great quote from Sophia Loren

“There is a fountain of youth: it is your mind, your talents, the creativity you bring to your life and the lives of people you love. When you learn to tap this source, you will truly have defeated age.”

Saturday, 28 November 2009

Record number of older workers forced to shelve retirement plans due to financial crisis

A report from the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Developmen shows that 70 per cent of workers aged 55 and above said the financial crisis had left them with no option but to shelve their retirement plans.

The figure was just 40 per cent in the same survey two years ago.The research reveals that private sector workers are the biggest losers.

Only 36 per cent of workers in the private sector have a company pension, compared to 90 per cent of public sector workers.

The research will fuel the debate about 'pensions apartheid', with public sector workers enjoying gold-plated pensions - but almost nobody else.By comparison, few private sector workers even get a company pension, and even fewer get one that will pay for a decent retirement.

Without an adequate company pension, they have no alternative but to keep working beyond state pension age, currently 60 for women and 65 for men.

Private sector workers represent around 80 per cent of the workforce, but more and more are being left to face a financially tough retirement.

The survey, which interviewed around 2,000 people of working age, shows how the recession has escalated the financial crisis facing older workers. When the same question was asked two years ago, 40 per cent of workers aged 55 and above said they would have to work beyond state pension age.

But, just 24 months later, nearly three- quarters of workers are planning to stay in their jobs at an age when most of their parents and grandparents had retired.

This research unfortunately does not mention the other studies which show that more and more older workers want to continue in paid work but they do not want more of the same. Our book discusses this in great detail.

Wednesday, 25 November 2009

Voice of Older People

Do have a look at Dame Joan Bakewell's new report on the Voice of Older People - just published.

Saturday, 21 November 2009

12 reasons for employing older workers

Came across an excellent article in Entrepreneur by Stephen Bastien and reproduce an edited version of here. Please show this to all business owners.

"So where can businesses find a dependable, steady workforce that has no plans to move up and out? A workforce dedicated to the job at hand and that takes pride in its work? Who will cost them less to hire, train and maintain?

The answer? Older workers.

Below are twelve reasons why hiring older workers can help you maintain a reliable, dedicated workforce and provide a significant cost savings for both the short and long term.

1. Dedicated workers produce higher quality work, which can result in a significant cost savings for you. Stories abound of highly committed older workers finding others’ potentially costly mistakes regarding everything from misspelling of client names to pricing errors and accounting mistakes.

2. Punctuality seems to be a given for older workers. Most of them look forward to going to work each day, so they're likely to arrive on time and be ready to work.

3. Honesty is common among older workers, whose values as a group include personal integrity and a devotion to the truth.

4. Detail-oriented, focused and attentive workers add an intangible value that rubs off on all employees and can save your business thousands of dollars. One business owner I know once told me that one of his older workers saved his company more than $50,000 on one large mailing job. The 75-year-old clerical worker recognized that all the ZIP codes were off by one digit. Neither the owner's mailing house nor his degreed and highly paid marketing manager had noticed it.

5. Good listeners make great employees because they’re easier to train--older employees only have to be told once what to do.

6. Pride in a job well done has become an increasingly rare commodity among younger employees. Younger workers want to put in their time at work and leave, while older employees are more willingly to stay later to get a job done because of their sense of pride in the final product.

7. Organizational skills among older workers mean employers who hire them are less likely to be a part of this startling statistic: More than a million man hours are lost each year simply due to workplace disorganization.

8. Efficiency and the confidence to share their recommendations and ideas make older workers ideal employees. Their years of experience in the workplace give them a superior understanding of how jobs can be done more efficiently, which saves companies money. Their confidence, built up through the years, means they won't hesitate to share their ideas with management.

9. Maturity comes from years of life and work experience and makes for workers who get less “rattled” when problems occur.

10. Setting an example for other employees is an intangible value many business owners appreciate. Older workers make excellent mentors and role models, which makes training other employees less difficult.

11. Communication skills--knowing when and how to communicate--evolve through years of experience. Older workers understand workplace politics and know how to diplomatically convey their ideas to the boss.

12. Reduced labor costs are a huge benefit when hiring older workers. Most already have insurance plans from prior employers or have an additional source of income and are willing to take a little less to get the job they want. They understand that working for a company can be about much more than just collecting a paycheck.

Any business owner who's hesitant to hire an older worker should consider these twelve benefits. Older workers’ unique skills and values--and the potential savings to your company in time and money--make hiring them a simple matter of rethinking the costs of high turnover in a more youthful workforce vs. the benefits of experience and mature standards older workers bring to the mix. You simply do not have the time or resources to deal with high employee turnover. The next time you need to make a hiring decision, you should seriously consider older workers: Their contribution to your company could positively impact your bottom line for years to come."

Right on Stephen!

Monday, 16 November 2009

The future - 3 or 4 generations in the work place?

An interesting article by Shefali Rekhi reports work from researchers of life expectancy at the Ageing Research Centre of the University of Southern Denmark who are calling for a massive change in how we look at work. They point out current work practices requiring people to work five days a week, eight hours or more a day, till perhaps their mid-60s date back nearly half a century.

A study of life expectancy trends in the past century shows that many people can expect to live longer and the majority of those born after 2000 will likely cross 100.

Based on this, Professor Kaare Christensen and his colleagues are suggesting that people should have the option to work fewer hours during their prime years, have more time for family and leisure, and the opportunity to retire much later.

With technological and medical gains, those growing older in the current generation will be more active than earlier generations and will likely suffer much less disability, they project. Besides, working longer may even contribute to their life expectancy and health, they add.

‘Very long lives are not the distant privilege of remote future generations – very long lives are the probable destiny of most people alive now in developed countries,’ the researchers write in their paper. Titled Ageing Populations: The Challenges Ahead, it was published in The Lancet medical journal last month.

The researchers said that if their suggestions are implemented, productivity issues would be automatically addressed in the redistribution – because many people in their 60s and 70s would prefer part-time work to full-time labour. This will open up part-time work opportunities for younger people.

‘The average amount of work per year could stay at about the same as it is at present,’ the researchers said, emphasising that it will mean a net gain for society.

Prof Christensen said: ‘We have to think about making place for three, if not four, generations in the workplace.’

Saturday, 14 November 2009

The underpants controversy

According to a survey by Debenhams once we men reach 44 yet alone 50 we stop buying our own underpants. Prior to that our mothers bought them for us until we were 19. Apparently we only buy our own underwear if we are looking for a new relationship. I would like to register that I always buy my own underpants. I have been married most of my adult life - though not to the same person - and my current relationship is almost 25 years old. So Debenhams - what do you have to say to that! And does anyone else out there have anything to say about this?

Thursday, 12 November 2009

Sex really is good for you!

Caroline Jones has an excellent piece on this topic which I am sure all of visitors will want to peruse. Highlights are:
  • having sex three times a week could halve your risk of heart attack or stroke.
  • having sex once or twice a week has been found to raise your body’s levels of an antibody called immunoglobulin A which can protect you from viral and bacterial infections.
  • During sex, the natural steroid DHEA is secreted throughout the body and after an orgasm the level in the bloodstream soars to five times its normal amount. Known as the anti-ageing hormone, high levels of DHEA are thought to keep your body fitter and disease-free, helping you to live longer.
  • An Australian study found that people who had an orgasm at least three times a week had a 50% lower chance of dying from any medical reason than those who only climaxed once a month.

  • Couples who have sex at least three times a week look more than a decade younger than people who make love less often.
  • Thirty minutes of sex burns up to 150 calories per half-hour, which is equivalent to a small glass of wine. If you have moderately active sex twice a week, you’ll burn an extra 15,600 calories a year!
  • It also helps you sleep better, reduces stress, eases depression, boosts self esteeem and reduces pain.
So why are you wasting time reading this!

To whom it may concern

Came across this story on Lily Fu's blog based on a story from France where a poster featuring a young, thin and tanned woman appeared in the window of a gym. It said, "This summer, do you want to be a mermaid or a whale?"

A middle-aged woman, whose physical characteristics did not match those of the woman on the poster, responded publicly to the question posed by the gym.

To Whom It May Concern,

Whales are always surrounded by friends (dolphins, sea lions, curious humans.) They have an active sex life, get pregnant and have adorable baby whales. They have a wonderful time with dolphins stuffing themselves with shrimp. They play and swim in the seas, seeing wonderful places like Patagonia, the Bering Sea and the coral reefs of Polynesia.
Whales are wonderful singers and have even recorded CDs. They are incredible creatures and virtually have no predators other than humans. They are loved, protected and admired by almost everyone in the world.

Mermaids don't exist. If they did exist, they would be lining up outside the offices of Argentinean psychoanalysts due to identity crisis. Fish or human? They don't have a sex life because they kill men who get close to them, not to mention how could they have sex? Just look at them ... where is IT? Therefore, they don't have kids either. Not to mention, who wants to get close to a girl who smells like a fish store?

The choice is perfectly clear to me: I want to be a whale.

Attack sexism at any age and any place!

Tuesday, 10 November 2009

Over 50s jobseekers treated like second class citizens

One in six jobseekers aged over 50 feel that they are treated like second-class citizens when applying for jobs, according to a survey* to determine the views of older jobseekers, carried out by online recruitment agency The survey also showed that it is common place now for the majority of job applications to go unacknowledged – 70% of those surveyed said that they had received responses to only a quarter or less of their submissions, and 15% of these complained that they had not had any replies at all.
The survey demonstrates clearly that the way a company responds to its job applicants can impact corporate reputation. Of those surveyed, nearly nine in ten (87%) felt badly disposed towards the companies who treated them so badly, more than half (53%) said they lost respect for the companies concerned, one in five (18%) would think twice before buying their products and 16% would go to the length of telling as many of their friends, family and colleagues as possible exactly what they thought of the company in question. Nearly two in five (38%) thought that those recruiters who failed to acknowledge or feedback on vacancies were generally lacking in manners and treated applicants like second class citizens.
It’s not only companies that came in for criticism from jobseekers - Government funded Job Centres came in for some stick too. Job Centres were variously described as patronising, unhelpful, disrespectful and totally failing to understand the value of experienced older workers within the workplace.

Sunday, 8 November 2009

And What Do You Do? 10 Steps to Creating a Portfolio Career

Do have a look at the new website that explores the concept of portfolio careers. This is now completely redesigned. You can download the first chapter from the new book and get free emailed tips. I know from the many people that I interviewed for the book that this is a career pattern that the over 50's find increasingly attractive.

Look at the Buzz section too and see the early reviews and recommendations that Katie Ledger and I have already received.

Friday, 6 November 2009

Daily portion of chocolate 'protects against ageing'

We have posted before about the health pluses of eating chocolate daily. Nothing to do with the fact that I am a chocoholic of course.

But the latest research, published in the Journal of Cosmetic Dermatology, is believed to be the first showing a chocolate treat can prevent against the visible signs of ageing.

Researchers at European Dermatology London, a private Harley Street skin clinic, recruited 30 healthy adults, including 22 women, with an average age of 42.

For three months, half the volunteers ate a daily portion of 20 grammes of dark chocolate droplets that were very high in flavanol.

The remainder ate identical-looking chocolate drops that had much lower flavanol content.

During the three-month experiment, researchers regularly exposed volunteers to controlled doses of UV light to see how long it took before their skin reacted by becoming inflamed.

The results showed that, among those on low-flavanol chocolate, there was no change in the amount of UV light their skin could tolerate.

But among those on the high-flavanol droplets, there was a significant improvement in the skin's resistance to the sun's effects.

In a report on their findings the researchers said: 'Our study revealed, for the first time, that high-flavanol chocolate protects the skin from harmful UV effects.

'The main mechanism is likely to be the anti-inflammatory and antioxidant activity of cocoa flavanols.

'But conventional chocolate had no such effect.'

Previous studies have found flavanol-rich dark chocolate can lower the risk of blood clots, protect against bowel cancer and even help prevent premature births.

Earlier this year, Swedish scientists also reported that heart attack victims who snacked on dark chocolate at least twice a week slashed their risk of dying from heart disease by about 70 per cent.

Not quite such good news for someone like me who largely eats milk chocolate!

Wednesday, 4 November 2009

Its good to grumble

Well, this goes against much of what we tend to preach but we should at least examine the research from Australia which states that being grumpy makes us think more clearly

In contrast to those annoying happy types, miserable people are better at decision-making and less gullible.

While cheerfulness fosters creativity, gloominess breeds attentiveness and careful thinking, Professor Joe Forgas told Australian Science Magazine.

The University of New South Wales researcher says a grumpy person can cope with more demanding situations than a happy one because of the way the brain "promotes information processing strategies".

He asked volunteers to watch different films and dwell on positive or negative events in their life, designed to put them in either a good or bad mood.

Next he asked them to take part in a series of tasks, including judging the truth of urban myths and providing eyewitness accounts of events.

Those in a bad mood outperformed those who were jolly - they made fewer mistakes and were better communicators.

Professor Forgas said: "Whereas positive mood seems to promote creativity, flexibility, co-operation and reliance on mental shortcuts, negative moods trigger more attentive, careful thinking, paying greater attention to the external world."

The study also found that sad people were better at stating their case through written arguments, which Forgas said showed that a "mildly negative mood may actually promote a more concrete, accommodative and ultimately more successful communication style".

So do you sometimes feel that you would like to have an Eeyore day?

Tuesday, 3 November 2009

Over 50s Perform Best in Financial Markets

Not only is 80% of the nations wealth vested in us and we contribute 60% of the nations savings but apparantly we are also the most astute investors. Maybe that could explain the statistics above.

A new five year study of financial trading shows that the over 50s are by far the most successful, profitable traders and investors: a full 40% more profitable than their 20-something counterparts, ending the myth that risk and results are the stuff of youth. The research – conducted by financial trading coach and author Vince Stanzione of – studied the trading of 1000 UK individuals between October 2004 and October 2009, covering bull and bear markets and the volatile 2008/9 markets.

Time spent trading was a factor for all three groups. The 18-30s and over 50s spent more time on their portfolios, which may be because the 30-50 group had greater work and family commitments elsewhere. But clearly the over 50s had much greater productivity.

Risk insights also came to light from the research. Stanzione continues: “Another myth that the research busted was that older people are less willing to take risks. The 50+ traders took higher risks for higher returns than the 30-50 group, with a strong appetite for commodities and commodity companies: gold, crude oil and silver featured highly in their portfolios.”

The secret to the difference between youth and age lay in discipline, says Stanzione: “The 18-30s tended to break trading rules and failed to follow systems through. Maybe they had poor attention spans as they would often close out winning trades too soon. Older traders kept better records and managed their money better.”


We talk a lot about keeping up to date with new technology if you are to be successful in any of your life roles so as we discover things which we find helpful we will pass these on to you. This is one such tool that enables you to search with google and bing at the same time. Check it out.

Sunday, 1 November 2009

Rainbow cupcakes

Thought you might like to see these little beauties. Wonder why I like them so much! They are actually the product of Hannah Miles who has a portfolio career which Katie and I describe in our new book on portfolio careers. As well as being a high flying freelance lawyer, she was a Masterchef finalist and is now a professional cook and author. It is quite dangerous to look at her site!

Tuesday, 27 October 2009

Life expectancy at birth and at age 65 by local areas in the United Kingdom, 2006-08

Latest from the Office of National Statistics. In 2006–08 life expectancy at birth for males was highest in the South East of England (79.2 years) and lowest in Scotland (75.0 years). For females, life expectancy was highest in the South West of England (83.1 years) and lowest in Scotland (79.9 years). Life expectancy at age 65 in 2006–08 was highest in the South East and South West of England for males (18.4 years) and in the South West of England for females (21.2 years). Scotland had the lowest life expectancy at 65 for both men and women; 16.3 years and 18.9 years respectively. For local areas, life expectancy at birth for males and females in 2006–08 was highest in Kensington and Chelsea (84.3 years and 88.9 years respectively) and lowest in Glasgow City (70.7 years and 77.2 years respectively). In 2006–08 life expectancy at age 65 for males and females was highest in Kensington and Chelsea (23.1 years and 26.3 years respectively) and lowest in Glasgow City (13.8 years and 17.4 years respectively). Not sure whether this will cheer you up or not!

A new survey on adventurous sex drive

Good news for those of us on the wrong side of 50. It seems that your sex life doesn’t dry up as you get older after all, at least not in Canada! The research was conducted online and more than 494 people over the age of 50 participated in an in-depth interview about their sex lives and sexual desires. The results indicated that many of the older participants were anything but past it. The survey found that many Canadians over the age of 50 reported having adventurous and frisky sex as they have grown older. The word ‘ferocious’ was also used to describe some of their sexual encounters. This stands in stark contrast to the common attitude that sexual desire and activity decreases with age. Nearly half of the people surveyed said their sexual inhibitions had decreased since they turned 50, and more than a quarter said the quality of their sex life has improved since turning 50. Also more than half of the respondents said they wished their sex life was more spontaneous. One possible explanation of the significant increase in sexual activity in the over 50’s is that the life stresses are often reduced dramatically with retirement and with children leaving home. The reduction in these day to day stresses could have a direct influence on the renewed interest in sex.

Monday, 26 October 2009

Lords support anti age discrimination

Have a look at Chris Ball's blog in which he describes a debate in the House of Lords about older workers along with some other issues. We have quoted Chris before who is the CEO of TAEN.

Wednesday, 21 October 2009

Latest from the National Statistics

Out today. We have reproduced the stats that are most relevant to this age group.

The population of state pensionable age is expected to rise by 32% over the next 25 years from 11.8m in 2008 to 15.6m in 2033.

  • The number of people over 85 is projected to more than double over the next 25 years from 1.3 million in 2008 to 3.3 million by 2033.
  • The number of centenarians - people who live to 100 - is expected to rise more than sevenfold from 11,000 in 2008 to 80,000 in 2033.
  • The proportion of people aged 65 and over is projected to increase from 16% in 2008, to 23% by 2033.

The population of working age is projected to rise by just under 14%, from 38.1m in 2008 to 43.3m in 2033.

In 2008 there were 3.2 people of working age for every person of state pensionable age, but this ratio is expected to fall to 2.8 by 2033, taking into account the future changes to state pension age.

How old is 'old'?

The old perennial comes around again. Personally an elderly person is anyone older than me! The Dept of Work and Pensions have just produced a report bringing together a number of surveys which basically says that most people think that old age starts at 63 with youth stopping at 45.

By their mid-30s, most respondents stopped describing themselves as young, and only by their mid-70s did they start calling themselves old.

There was some good news for the older generation, with more people saying they were more comfortable with a boss aged over 70 than with somebody under 30 being in charge at work.

But 26% of those asked said they had experienced ageism. This was not just the retired, but also those who were not working or who were not married.

Stereotyping meant that people aged over 70 were viewed as more likely to be pitied, and also were considered an "economic threat" by some.

"Nearly a quarter of respondents believed that people over 70 take out more from the economy than they put in," the report said.

However, this was less of an issue for people living in Yorkshire and the Humber than anywhere else in the UK. Yet another reason for living in God's own country!

Monday, 19 October 2009

Learning Through Life

This is the title of an excellent publication from NIACE which is the definitive report into the future for lifelong learning in the UK. It represents an independent Inquiry into the Future for Lifelong Learning and presents: • the first authoritative and coherent strategic framework for lifelong learning in the UK for the next 10 – 15 years; • an overview of the current state of learning in the UK; and • radical recommendations for long term change.
I was fascinated by, amongst other things, the classification of learners presented in their 4 stage model - up to 25, 25-50, 50-75, 75+. They make a very strong case for enhancing training and education opportunities for the 50-75 group and that much more needs to be offered to the 75+ group to ensure that they continue to be stimulated and develop not least of which is the huge contribution they make to caring and volunteering. Anyone involved in learning should read this report.

Your as old as you eat

The Daily Mail has a list of vitamins and additives supposedly that will decrease ageing effects. Have a look.

Sunday, 18 October 2009

Carry on surfing

We have posted on this topic before but there is now additional evidence that clearly shows that web surfing materially impacts our brain in a positive way.

The researchers worked with 24 men and women aged between 55 and 78. Half of them had used the internet a lot; the others had little experience.

At the start of the research, they were asked to conduct a series of internet searches while their brains were scanned using a technique known as functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI). This measures changes in blood flow around the brain to work out which parts are the most and least active.

After the initial scan, participants went home and used the internet to carry out specified tasks for an hour a day at least seven times over the following fortnight. Then they had a second brain scan, again while searching the internet.

The impact began immediately, with the first scan demonstrating brain activity in regions controlling language, reading, memory and vision.

By the time of the second scan, however, the activated areas had spread to include the frontal gyrus and inferior frontal gyrus, areas known to be important in working memory and decision-making. The researchers suggest internet searching stimulates brain cells and pathways, making them more active.

“Searching online may be a simple form of brain exercise that might be employed to enhance cognition in older adults,” said Teena Moody, one of the researchers who will be presenting this work at the annual meeting of the Society for Neuroscience in Chicago tomorrow.

It has long been known that as people age, their brain functions and abilities also change. In many respects these changes are beneficial — verbal and social skills tend to improve until at least late middle age, for example. In other areas there can be declines. One of the best known is mathematics, as shown by the number of mathematicians and physicists who do their best work early and then struggle to match their youthful performances.

In Britain around 700,000 people suffer from dementia, a condition in which so much of the brain has died that function is severely impaired.

The researchers argue that brains are similar to muscles, in that the more they are exercised, the healthier they become. So, activities such as internet use, reading and socialising can slow or reverse normal age-related declines.

Interestingly they reckon that internet searching appears to engage a greater extent of neural circuitry that is not activated during reading. So now you know! Carry on surfing!