Monday, 30 March 2009
Friday, 27 March 2009
Wednesday, 25 March 2009
Hannah Morgan has a great site offering careers advice at all levels and on numerous topics. We are delighted to have her as a guest poster to our site today as she is tackling the vexed question of how should you behave when job hunting and over 50. Those of you who watched the very disturbing Despatches programme last month will realise that the people profiled could have gained from reading this.
"It is amazing to me how many people believe the reason no-one is calling them in for an interview is because they are old. Really? How does the employer know how old you are in reading your resume?
- Did you list your birth date?
- Did you list the year you graduated?
- Did you list every job you've had since high school?
So, how would the employer know how old you are?
Chances are, they don't want to interview you because you haven't explained in your resume why they should. Employers are receiving hundreds and thousands of resumes. Why would your's stand out?
You have the exact match of skills they are looking for You've proven that you have successfully done what they need you to do with their company
You have the exact match of skills they are looking for
You've proven that you have successfully done what they need you to do with their company
Your resume is a sales brochure not an historical account of everything you have done. Adjust your resume for every job you apply to.
Honestly, I don't believe employers have anything against someone solely because of their age. It is more likely that they see candidates as "over qualified". This means: EXPENSIVE.
The next time you think you aren't getting an interview because of your age, check your resume instead."
Hannah's site has the great subtitle of Career Sherpa: Guide for lifetime career navigation. Thank you so much for this Hannah. As for the rest of you - make sure you know all of your transferable skills by working your way through the Work section in the The Rainbow Years.
The house reminds residents when to take their medication, and it automatically monitors heart and respiration, makes sure no stove-top burners are left unattended and turns off water taps to prevent a sink or tub overflow. But you don't have to build the whole house. A 'smart' bathroom mirror is a start.
At the recent Cebit IT trade show, researchers from the Fraunhofer Institute for Microelectronic Circuits and Systems displayed a touch screen mirror that can remind people to take their medicine, wash their hands or brush their teeth.
When the medicine cabinet is opened, a display in the middle of the mirror tells the person how many pills to take. Stockmanns said Fraunhofer envisions linking the mirror with a care provider, which could remotely monitor whether a home-bound patient is actually taking medication and brushing their teeth on a regular basis.
As many older people have arthritic conditions which make it difficult to operate water taps, the mirror also has displays which turn the water tap on or off or regulate water temperature. Another display symbol can be used to raise the entire sink basin and toilet, a feature that is enabled in Fraunhofer's prototype.
For people who wear family radio frequency identification tags, the bathroom would know that person's preferences and display the appropriate icons on the mirror, befitting medication dosages and height of basin and toilet.
The bathroom is only the start. Kitchens, bedrooms and all other parts of the 'intelligent' home will become 'user-friendly' to accommodate individual needs.
Sensors in doors, toilets, taps, light switches and carpets detect every activity and record them electronically. Above all, this is important if the user needs professional care one day.
Doctors or care personnel can see from the computer records what personal hygiene tasks the person under care has completed, how often he or she has visited the bathroom, used the toilet, or whether he or she has fallen down.
In case of an emergency, the computer automatically alerts the chosen contact person or calls the care centre.
There are some mornings that I think I could use one of these already!
Tuesday, 24 March 2009
Commenting on the latest employment statistics, Chris Ball, Chief Executive of TAEN - The Age and Employment Network, says:"The continuing rise in unemployment shows how much employers and employees are suffering. The ‘good news,’ if one can use that expression in such dismal circumstances, is that the trajectory of job losses in the 50 plus age bracket is not carrying the same dramatically skewed dip as it has done in previous recessions. Employers may have learned the lessons of the past when they encouraged older workers to retire only to find their organisations starved of skill and know-how.
It seems likely too that age discrimination law is deterring the victimisation of older workers for redundancy. This shows that, flawed though the legislation is in other respects, it is proving beneficial. At this point the recession is more age neutral than in the past.
The very bad news for older workers is that once out of work they are finding it nearly twice as hard to regain employment as workers in the prime age cohort, 25-34. Finding new jobs always needs a fair wind from employers who don’t discriminate. Unfortunately, age discrimination at the point of job selection is endemic, as our surveys have shown.
So, even if 50 plus workers are not being dropped overboard soonest as companies run onto the economic sandbanks, the fact that they are swimming in stronger currents will mean more drown with the wrecks of the recession, unless we can be more proactive in getting them back into work." TAEN are doing a splendid job of attacking this outrageous remaining bastion of age discrimination.
I don't think so do you. however, to make a point 3 MP's have tabled an Early Day Motion in Parliament calling on no MP to stand for re-election once they reach the age of 65.
The move follows last week’s decision by the European Court of Justice in the Heyday/Age Concern challenge. The Court found that the introduction of the default or mandatory retirement age as part of the Equal Employment (age) Regulations 2006 did not contravene the original EU ‘Equal Treatment’ Directive. However, it ruled that it will ultimately for High Court in London to decide whether the default retirement age of 65 breaches EU law.
The Motion was signed by 3 MPs - Stephen Pound (pictured), Neil Gerrard and Andrew George - and could be seen as ensuring that members of Parliament are subject to similar limitations on their post 65 employment prospects as the rest of the older working age population. The wording of their EDM states:
“That this House notes with regret the opposition of the Government to the case brought by Age Concern to the European Court of Justice; and regrets that a mandatory retirement age of 65 years will now continue to apply in the UK; and, in the interests of consistency, believes that no hon. or right hon. Member should in future stand for re-election if their age exceeds 65 years.”
EDMs are formal motions submitted for debate in the House of Commons. However, very few EDMs are actually debated but they are used for reasons such as publicising the views of individual MPs, drawing attention to specific events or campaigns, and demonstrating the extent of parliamentary support for a particular cause or point of vie. So let us hope that it just might get our MP's thinking a bit more of the discriminated against fellow citizens.
Saturday, 21 March 2009
"We already have more people in the UK over state pension age than under 16, and, within 15 years, a third of the workforce will be over 50. Embracing the skills of older workers should be a top priority--unless we are prepared to miss out on a third of the available talent pool."Her words were echoed by The Commission's Policy Director Alan Christie, Policy Director at the Commission, who said "We must stop stereotyping and worrying about how many candles a worker has on their next birthday cake, instead of looking at what they can offer. It's important to recognise that flexibility can help business weather the difficult times and prepare for the recovery, by attracting and retaining vital talent and skills, including older workers."
All everyone has to do now is to persuade the 2 large employer groups, CBI and the IOD - Oh! - and of course the Government.
This week I have been at Westminster trying to find out the policies of the Tories and the Lib Dems on this. I have yet to get definitive answers but as soon as I do I will post here of course.
"We can't allow the workplace to be run according to the mantra that youth is the key to the future. Youth is like a rudderless ship. What the workforce needs – when employers start hiring again – is a balance that reflects all generations, so new members of staff can learn from those who've been around a bit longer. When you're planning a garden you don't chuck out the mature trees and shrubs and fill it with cheap bedding plants that won't last the winter – and the workplace is no different."
Right on Janet!
Monday, 16 March 2009
Absolutely the last posting from the Palm Spring Follies. But if you want to see more just look at their website and follow the leads to the YouTube videos.
Oh! And of course I could not do one final posting without showing a picture of me talking to the gorgeous Susan Anton. She and the others by the way were performing again after this matinee performance in just 2 hours after this picture was taken. Someone said to me at a meeting yesterday that he should not be expected to be learning new things now as he was 79! You can imagine my response - "Yes! And ...."
Thursday, 12 March 2009
Some of his material relates to the over 50's but I just think that he has such a unique style that his contributions are always worth looking at. I should give a health warning here in that some of his material is quite adult! The cartoons change automatically every few days and we have no idea what is coming up! I like his stuff so much that my new book will have a number of his cartoons illustrating it. The new book is on Portfolio Careers, which I am writing with Katie Ledger, the ex ITN newsreader and now communications coach. This is a career pattern increasingly attractive to the over 50's and I will post more on this topic as we write the book.
We have know this for some time but the latest research from Australia suggests that the difference is getting smaller.A study of about 3,000 elderly men and women since 1988 found married men lived on average 11 months longer than their single counterparts. But marital status for women made no significant difference to longevity. Epidemiologist John McCallum, of the Victoria University in Melbourne, today said scientists were still speculating about the reasons for the difference. "It's the least successful men who are not married and the most successful women who are not married," Professor McCallum said. "One thought is that it's not so much marriage as the fact that it is the fitter people in a biological sense who get married. In other words, people who are hardier and stronger, who are going to survive longer anyway, get married. It could be that there are beneficial effects of having social support and company as well." Prof McCallum said the study had also found that being a non-drinker, a diabetic, a smoker or having high blood pressure reduced life expectancy. "Over the 15 years, men gained about nine months if they had been drinking moderate alcohol and women about five months," he said. The scientists found the benefits of alcohol consumption accumulate with age. "When we looked at the participants after 10 years, men gained eight months and women three months (over non-drinkers)," said Prof McCallum, who addressed the International Healthy Ageing and Longevity Conference in Brisbane. So - more good reasons for drinking!
Monday, 9 March 2009
The European Court of Justice found that the Default Retirement Age (DFA) does not contravene the European Framework Directive on equal treatment. However the CIPD maintains that experienced and capable older workers are losing out by not having the choice of staying on in employment.
Mike Emmott, CIPD Employee Relations Adviser said: “Compulsory retirement ages can leave organisations blindly waving goodbye to valuable skills and experience. They do not just hit people at retirement age. They can lead to lazy management of workers for many years as older employees are filed by their managers under the ‘soon to retire’ category.”
A CIPD research report 'Future Demand for Working Among Older Workers' found that just under two-fifths (38%) of individuals intend to work beyond the age of 65, with most (68%) citing financial necessity as the main reason for staying on. A futher 31% of individuals would continue to work beyond retirement age if their employer allowed them to work flexibly.
Sunday, 8 March 2009
The death gap is closing between men and women. An article in the Telegraph reported that US researchers are predicting that within two generations husbands can expect to die at the same age as their wives.
Women have traditionally outlived men due in part to the increased mortality rates of "masculine" careers like the military and mining.But with the West at peace, dangerous careers on the decline and men increasingly willing to improve their diets and seek early medical advice, male life expectancy is increasing at a faster rate.
Scientists at the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in Atlanta in the US said that the gender gap for life expectancy will have vanished for children born in 2035, if current trends continue. One explanation is that men have reduced their smoking a lot and women, particularly young women, have been more resistant. Any other thoughts??
Unlike so many of these imperatives to enable us to grow older, live longer and live younger the growing body of research on preventing Alzheimer's gets more and more attractive. I have now come across one study that says that eating chocolate every day is a preventative, another which states that at least one cup of caffeinated coffee a day is a must and another recommending red wine. The latest research, from Oxford University has discovered that milk is one of the best sources of vitamin B12, which is thought to reduce neurological damage to the brain.
The research, published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, found elderly patients with low levels of B12 suffer twice as much shrinkage of the brain as those with higher levels of the substance in their bodies.
They are now conducting a clinical trial that aims to show it may be possible to treat memory problems in the elderly with vitamin supplements.
Professor David Smith, from the Oxford Project to Investigate Memory and Ageing, said: "There are 550 people who come down with dementia, mainly Alzheimer's every day in the UK - it is a major epidemic."
He added: "Our study shows that consuming around half a litre of milk or more per day, and it can be skimmed milk, could take someone who has marginal levels of B12 into the safe range. But even drinking just two glasses a day can protect against having low levels."
So I am off to have a coffee with some chocolates and choosing my red wine for tonights meal and delighted to realise that the skimmed milk I have with my cereal every morning will also help me to remember why I have got up that day!
This is the title of a very disturbing article by Olinka Koster of the Daily Mail, reporting on statements from the National Pensioners Covention. In this she points out that the country's 8.5m pensioners with savings have lost massively through the base rate collapsing from 5% in October to 0.5% last week. This, they claim would push a further 50,000 older people below the poverty line - bringing the total in the past six months to an estimated 500,000.
Thursday, 5 March 2009
Eric Kandel, 77, who shared the 2000 Nobel Prize in medicine, maintains an active lab at Columbia University and mentors younger scientists. "I think I do science better than I did when I was younger," he says. "In science, judgment is so important, and I now have a better understanding of which problems are important and which aren't."
Discoveries of brain functions that hold up, or even improve, through the decades could affect corporate and public policy. As baby boomers age, many are resisting mandatory retirement. Air-traffic controllers in the US are asking federal agencies to reconsider the requirement that they retire at age 55, and the Federal Aviation Administration in January proposed pushing back the mandatory retirement age for commercial pilots, currently at 60.
The emerging neuroscience is on their side. One of the most robust cognitive abilities is semantic memory, which is recollection of facts and figures. "Semantic memory is relatively resistant to the effects of aging," says psychology professor Arthur Kramer of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Semantic memory includes vocabulary, which increases with age so reliably (at least in people who continue reading) that a younger person should never challenge a sharp 75-year-old to a crossword puzzle.
Expert knowledge -- information about an occupational or even hobbyist specialty -- resists the effects of aging, too, which is why mumbling "accrued post-retirement liabilities" to an 80-year-old actuary makes his relevant synapses fire as robustly as they did at age 40. Synapses that encode expert knowledge "are written in stone," says neuroscientist John Morrison of the Mount Sinai School of Medicine in New York.
The longevity of expert knowledge and cognitive templates lies behind the finding that air-traffic controllers in their 60s are at least as skilled as those in their 30s. When Kramer and a colleague at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology gave older controllers standard lab tests for reaction speed, memory, attention and the like, they found the usual: Performance declined compared with that of 30-somethings.
But on more fast-paced, complex -- and hence realistic -- tests in which they juggled multiple airliners and handled emergencies, the senior controllers did as well as or better than the young ones. They kept simulated planes safely away from each other, and when they ordered planes to change their altitude, heading or speed to avoid a collision, they used fewer commands than younger ones. It was as if their experience had equipped them with the most efficient algorithm for keeping the planes safely spaced.
That 60-somethings can mentally juggle multiple 747s seems to go against the idea that aging hurts the ability to pay attention. But studies show that selective attention, the ability to focus on something and resist distractions, doesn't decline with age. For controllers, that means they can focus on planes in their sector despite a hubbub of activity in the control tower.
For other seniors, it means no problem keeping eyes and mind on a highway despite flashing road signs or noisy passengers.
The biggest benefit of an older brain is that fewer real-life challenges require deliberate, effortful problem-solving. Where once it took hours of methodical scrutiny to understand a prospectus, for instance, older lawyers and investment bankers can zoom in on crucial sections and fit them into what they already know.
While younger brains solve problems step-by-step, older brains call on cognitive templates, those generic outlines of a problem and a solution that worked before. Yes, older people forget little things, and may have occasional attention lapses, but their cognitive templates are so rich that they more than hold their own. Their brains can keep up even with a diminished supply of blood and oxygen.
As a result, older professionals can readily separate what's important from what's not, a big reason so many of them fire on all cognitive cylinders well past age 65.
"Some things you just need to grind into your system for many years until they become automatic and seemingly effortless," says Naftali Raz of the Institute of Gerontology at Wayne State University in Detroit. "Automatic functions are least sensitive to aging. So, if the decisions are based on knowledge and skill, older folks may have an advantage over younger decision makers just because they have to do less mental heavy lifting."
The benefits that come to the mind and brain with age extend beyond thinking. They also include a greater ability to put yourself in another person's mind, empathizing and understanding his thought processes -- emotional wisdom.
In the Rainbow Years we quote research which shows the importance of exercising our brains to stay young so we were interested to read of a new study which found that during later years, reading books, playing games, participating in computer activities and doing craft activities, led to a 30 to 50 per cent decrease in the risk of developing memory loss compared to people who did not do those activities. It revealed people who participated in social activities and read magazines during middle age were about 40 per cent less likely to develop memory loss. The results add scientific weight to the long-held belief that remaining active both mentally and physically later in life is one of the keys to maintaining good health. The findings will be presented at the American Academy of Neurology's 61st annual meeting in Seattle, in April.
The Japanese are the world's longest-lived people, a phenomenon experts have attributed to a range of factors, including diet and widely available health care. There are 36,436 people aged over 100 in a population of 127.8 million.
Many of us are working to overthrow this absurd and unjust law including the two main opposition parties. Let us see if this Government will bend to pressure on this vital issue.
The over 50s are using their credit cards instead of debit cards while shopping to protect themselves from retailers going under. New research from Saga credit cards has revealed that the over 50s are so aware of the effect of the current economy on retailers, that they are taking steps to ensure they do not lose out if businesses they have shopped at go bust before they receive their purchases. Three in five over 50s (58 per cent) said they are now using their credit cards to ensure their purchases are protected in case a shop goes under because they know their credit card company will allow them to claim a refund if the purchase is over £100. The proportion of the population as a whole that are now shopping using their credit cards in order to protect themselves financially is slightly lower - 46 per cent – which, says Saga, shows that the older generation is "both more financially aware and more eager to protect their purchases." Saga found that other reasons why people are using credit cards as opposed to cash and other cards include the fact that they get cashback and rewards every time they spend on them (32 per cent) and because they help them manage their money (24%). Almost half of the population as a whole (46 per cent) and more than half of the over 50s say it is simply because it is easier than carrying cash. Saga's research also found that throughout 2008, holidays, eating out and supermarket shopping were by far and wide the most regular credit card purchases for the over 50s, which reveals that many of the Saga generation are still finding both the time and money for luxuries. According to the research, Tesco and Sainsbury's came out as the most popular places for this age group to shop – there was no sign as yet that the over 50s are being forced to turn to the discount food retailers for their weekly shop.