Thursday, 27 October 2011

Entrepreneurs 'older than we think'

More than a third (38%) of people in London believe that entrpreneurs fit into the 25-34 age group, when in fact they are more likely to be over 55, a new survey shows.
Research by Nominet Trust found that, contrary to popular belief in the capital, the largest number of British entrepreneurs are 55 years and over, rather than 20-somethings like Facebook's Mark Zuckerberg and Twitter's Jack Dorsey.

The findings come as the charity urges over 65s in the region to innovate online.
Its research found that perceptions of how older people use the internet and what they have to offer are largely incorrect. It found that most people believe over 65s are luddites when, in fact, this age group has the fastest growing number of users of digital and social media.

Nominet Trust's Ageing and the Use of the Internet report highlights that there is huge potential to mobilise our ageing population's enterprise and digital savvy to use the internet to address social problems in their lives and communities. In particular, the report shows there is a pressing need for products, services and technologies for older people designed by older people.

For this reason, Nominet Trust is launching a £250,000 challenge, with funding and support available for the strongest projects that could work with older people to: use the internet to address specific social problems facing older people; design new and better ways for older people to get on to and use the internet; and develop and use technologies which older people feel comfortable with.
The Nominet Trust is calling for bright sparks in London to come forward.

Wednesday, 5 October 2011

Grandparents subsidise family holidays

A significant proportion of family holidays are paid for by grandparents, according to research from a leading insurer.

Grandparents are increasingly paying for family breaks, according to new research by Gnu Insurance.
The insurer polled 1,000 over-50s and found that 43 per cent of people in this age group have paid for their children and grandchildren to go on holiday at some point.
Nearly one in four grandparents said they paid for a family holiday every year, while 56 per cent dip into their savings once every two years.
The survey suggests that grandparents will collectively spend more than £2 billion on family breaks this year, accounting for nearly one-tenth of the nation's outlay on holidays.
Paul Thilo, general manager at Gnu Insurance, remarked: "The over-50s have more spending power than ever before when it comes to holidays.
"Not only are retirees making the most of their freedom by travelling more, they are also responsible for funding a lot of family holidays, for all generations."
However, grandparents may become less generous with their savings in future, as figures show that older age groups are currently suffering the highest rates of inflation.

Friday, 5 August 2011

Are you an ageing bustard?

Hilarious article in the Daily Mail which reports research on bustards showing that
indulging in overt sexual behaviour could lead to premature ageing in men through 'burnout', according to scientists studying fertility patterns in birds.
A 10-year research programme into the sex lives of bustards, birds with a very flamboyant mating display, showed a dramatic decline in the quality of sperm among the more 'showy' males.
The mating display of the  male Houbara bustard, known as 'booming', sees striking ornamental feathers flare up before the bird runs around while making a low-pitched call.
The males can 'boom' for as much as 18 hours a day, six months of the year.
Dr Preston, who is based at the University of Burgundy in France, led his team in measuring the length of time each male spent 'booming', and then compared that with changes in fertility, which is usually associated with ageing.
The more time the birds spent 'booming', the more dramatic was the decline in their fertility.

Men - if you recognise any of this in your own behaviour - beware!

Wednesday, 27 July 2011

Unemployed? Have you thought of direct selling?

An interesting article in the Independant discusses how 50+'s are cashing in on opportunities offered by "direct selling" companies to boost their earnings or supplement their retirement income.
Direct selling is face-to-face selling outside a normal retail environment, either on a one-to-one basis or at specially held parties. Companies such as Betterware, Herbalife and Avon use direct sellers.
It is certainly big business. The industry is worth £2bn annually to the UK economy with more than 400,000 people selling products this way. Direct sellers can often earn more money by recruiting other people to sell products too, and then earning commission on the sales their recruits make. 
The Direct Selling Association (DSA), the trade body that represents the UK's major direct selling companies, has seen a 29 per cent increase in recruits aged over 50 in the past year. The DSA estimates there are currently 120,000 direct sellers over the age of 50 in the UK, compared with 93,000 in 2009/10.
Recent statistics have shown that unemployment is falling, but over-fifties are struggling to get back into work, with 44 per cent of unemployed at that age having been out of work for more than a year.
According to the DSA, the majority of direct sellers spend little more than a few hours per week and earn under £1,000 a year. However, about 30,000 people direct sell full-time with many earning £50,000 or more, although incomes of more than £100,000 are not unheard of.
Read the article for tips on what to do and what not to do if considering this option,

Wednesday, 20 July 2011

Should older drivers be screened?

Not according to a new position paper from the European Federation of Psychologists' Associations, which concludes that age based population screening is not only 'ethically questionable, but actually has greater economic costs than benefits for society, particularly when the proportion of the older population is increasing'.
They claim that firstly older drivers generally do not have more accidents and secondly, according to research literature, aged based population screening does not produce the desired safety benefits. Indeed, they argue that screening tends to take drivers who have never had an accident off the roads. "These people potentially lose their independent mobility for no reason. This is a serious issue as mobility has been linked to quality of life and psychological health'.

So what does Age UK have to say about this and of course our politicians? Abandoning screening would save considerable amounts with minimum social costs according to these studies.

Monday, 18 July 2011

How old is old?

This really is an 'old' perennial but we keep seeing new data on the topic. Daniel Bates has a fascinating article in the Daily Mail online and claims that middle age does not stop until you are 70! You might also be intrigued or indeed horrified to look at the youtube video that appears in the online version of the article.

Thursday, 30 June 2011

Over 50 and female?

Then you should definitely have a look at this site specifically for women. Its called fabafterfifty and is the creation of Ceri Wheeldon. Lots of articles and an excellent blog. I think we could do with a similar one for blokes! Any volunteers out there?

Monday, 27 June 2011

Are we still up for hanky panky?

Yes - according to the latest statistics from the Kinsey Institute - but not as often once we are 50+. An excellent article in the Daily Mail by Diana Appleyard gives us the facts. According to the most recent Sexual Wellbeing Survey, the average British person has sex 127 times a year, and the average married person has sex 98 times a year.
The Kinsey Sex Institute states that the average 18 to 29-year-old has sex 142 times a year; 30 to 39-year-olds 86 times a year; 40 to 49-year-olds 69 times a year; and the over-50s have sex 52 times a year. 

Diana then gives us many reasons as to why this need not be the case with some interesting case studies. Perhaps alarmingly 1 in 20 couples are virtually celibate, rising to one in 10 among the over-45s.

Over 50's fitter than we ever were!

In our book we talk about the research that made it clear that the average 50 year old today was fitter than a 25 year old 50 years ago. But new research of 1,500 over-50s carried out by finance firm Engage Mutual has shown that when we are 50+ we are now fitter than we ourselves were at 25. 

We have better diets, take more exercise and have increased free time to focus on our health. More than 70 per cent of over-50s do more exercise than when they were younger, the report found.
A similar number now pay more attention to their diet, with a dramatic decrease in the number of take-aways and ready meals they eat.
Only a fifth of them said they would have consumed the recommended amount of fruit and veg a day while in their 20s, compared to an impressive 75 per cent today.

Just goes to show that just because we get older we are still open to learning as new data hits us.

Saturday, 25 June 2011

Eat more strawberries!

Unless you go to Wimbledon of course where they are currently costing 25p each!
Spanish and Italian researchers fed 12 healthy volunteers half a kilo of strawberries over two weeks.
Results showed that eating strawberries regularly can boost levels of antioxidants in the blood and also help prevent red blood cells undergoing haemolysis, a process which sees them fragmenting.
Scientists from Marche Polytechnic University in Italy and the University of Granada in Spain say that the power of strawberries lies in the high levels of phenolic compounds they contain, which have antioxidant properties.
Oxidative stress can also occur as we age, when we exercise or even give birth, highlighting the potential of the humble soft fruit.

Are you too old to be an apprentice?

Not according to the latest G'ment figures. There has been an increase overall in apprenticeships which just may have something to do with the fact that University education now needs a special app to work out whether the investment of time and money is worth the effort of paying it back compared with the pluses of having a degree.
Statistics from the Department of Work and Pensions showed an increase of 103,000 adults taking part in apprenticeship schemes over 2010 and 2012. he Government has pledged investment for a further 360,000 apprenticeships in 2011.
But Chris Ball, chief executive of The Age and Employment Network (TAEN), said: "The figures for 2009/10 show that only 1.8% of those people enrolled on apprenticeships are over the age of 50.
"While this percentage figure may seem small, it is an increase over the previous year. The overall numbers of people aged over 50 enrolled on apprenticeships increased from 5,376 in 2008/9 to 8,900 in 2009/10.
"Employers who are giving older workers the opportunity to undertake apprenticeships should be applauded."

Monday, 20 June 2011

So what are our favourite pastimes?

Men and women in their 50s rate sex more highly than those in their 30s, a survey revealed yesterday. 
It found that after gardening and eating out, passion is the third most popular pastime for people in their 50s. For nearly one in five of them (18 per cent), it topped the list.
For those in their 30s, the most popular pastimes were going to the gym, eating out and watching television.
Sex came tenth on the list in this age group, with only 3 per cent rating it as their favourite activity.
The favourite pastimes of the over-50s reflect a trend towards simpler pleasures in tough economic times. 
Traditional middle-age treats such as cruises and holidays did not feature in the top ten, while exercise did. Walking came fourth.

Sunday, 5 June 2011

Tough times finding a job when you are 50+

The Institute for Public Policy Research (IPPR) found that nearly half (46 per cent) of those out of work over 50 have been unemployed for at least a year, a total of 182,000 people, and up from 31 per cent in 2009.
In recent years companies such as B&Q, Marks & Spencer, BT and Sainsbury's have led the way in employing older workers – the so called "grey panthers" – but the analysis suggests that fewer are finding jobs amid harsh economic conditions.

Tuesday, 31 May 2011

Is your memory failing?

Many people tell me how concerned they are about their memory not being as good as it used to be. Interesting to see Keith in this video who is worried about it at 45! He did the right thing in checking out if there was a physical problem here. There was not. So he proceeded to get advice on what to do to improve his daily memory. All of his ideas might not be right for you but listen with an open mind. Now exactly what did he say ..............

Sunday, 29 May 2011

Ageing Muscles Benefit from Post-Exercise Protein Drinks

As a runner I was particularly interested in this research study which claims that we will benefit most from exercise by drinking protein drinks after aerobic activity.  This will increase the training effect after six weeks, when compared to carbohydrate drinks. Additionally, this study suggests that this effect can be seen using as little as 20 grams of protein.

I shall be remembering this as I train for my annual Jane Tomlinson 10k charity race in Leeds on June 19. I am running for the Stroke Association this year after my wife Valerie was struck down with a severe stroke last October and currently cannot walk properly and cannot talk. If you would like to contribute go to

Monday, 25 April 2011

"Don't smoke, don't get fat - and don't retire!"

 A quote from Aubrey de Grey, the Cambridge scientist who is pioneering ideas of tissue repair strategies to rejuvenate the body and allow a long lifespan. This is quoted in an excellent article by Lois Rogers in this weeks Sunday Times. Unfortunately now I cannot give you a direct link because of the new online charging policies of the paper. Its called 'Life begins at 90'. It emphasizes that however old we are it is never too late to shape up physically and psychologically not just to live longer but to get so much more out of our lives.

Saturday, 23 April 2011

Number of Over-65s in Work Doubles over Past Decade

There were 870,000 people over 65 in employment between October and December 2010, compared with 412,000 in January to March 2001
- now making up 3 per cent of the UK workforce.

Self-employment has become an increasingly popular option for older workers with 43 per cent of men and 25.5 per cent of women working past 65 now classified as self-employed.

One of the reasons for this, however, is likely to be age discrimination which makes it more difficult for older workers to get full or part time jobs.

Older workers also show strong loyalty to their employers with 83 per cent of those working past 65 staying with the same employer for the past five years and 41 per cent staying for over 20 years.

Tuesday, 12 April 2011

Generation Y think we quite cool!

A survey has revealed that young generation find people over 50s as 'friendly' and 'knowledgeable'.
Youngsters actually have a rosier impression of their elders than older people give them credit for.
While the over 50s typically think members of the iPhone generation see them as "past it", that is not the view held by most 18-to-24-year-olds.
A survey has found that today's young people think those of their parents' and grandparents' generations are friendly, knowledgeable and - for want of a more up-to-date expression - "with it".
"Around 67% of over 50s believe 18-to-24s perceive them as 'past it', but the reality is that just 18 % of 18-to-24s actually have that perception," the Telegraph quoted Ros Altmann, director general of Saga, which commissioned the poll, as saying.
"And while only 11% of over 50s think younger people perceive them as friendly, the reality is that around 29% of 18-to-24s do actually think older people are indeed friendly.
"Just 17% of over 50s think 18-to-24s consider them knowledgeable. However, the truth is that 42% of this age group perceive oldies as being great founts of knowledge," she added.
YouGov conducted the research for Saga, which interviewed 1,148 adults in February.

Friday, 8 April 2011

Generation Alzheimer's: The Defining Disease of the Baby Boomers

Yesterday I met a friend and his wife and she has just been diagnosed with Alzheimers. I was so impressed how they were both dealing with it and with listening to their plans to get the most out of life while she was still capable of doing so. I was especially interested therefore to get details of a new US report on this issue which is of course increasingly prevalent as we age and live much longer. Have a look.

Thursday, 7 April 2011

Forced retirement ends today!

At long last you cannot be sacked just because you are 65.

Such a step has been needed for years, and can surely only be a positive move for the 900,000 people – and rising – who already work beyond age 65.

Sunday, 3 April 2011

Age Unlimited Scotland

We always like to emphasis the opportunities for older people in setting up their own businesses. They tend to fail less often than those set up by the under 50's. Whether this be what G'ment sources rather patronisingly call 'lifestyle businesses' which usually involve one person pursuing an interest for profit or setting up a business with the potential for growth and employing others - the opportunities are there.

The Scottish operation explores ways to help people in their 50s and 60s to become social entrepreneurs. As such they can play a central role in the design and delivery of innovative new services, which improve their local communities. And they can continue playing an active role in society.
The NESTA funded agency supported 15 new ventures including Mamie Donald, who at 73 is a self-professed video games addict. Mamie spotted an opportunity to provide video gaming workshops for older people, introducing them to the benefits of IT and online social networks, thus reducing social isolation in the very old. Another older convert has just bought himself an iPad so that he can read the digital edition of his newspapers at 5am each day.
The programme takes a different approach to traditional enterprise support which focuses solely on the idea the would-be social entrepreneur puts forward and often uses off-putting business terminology. Instead, they develop the idea and the individual simultaneously through group workshops which offer personal development training as well as practical advice about how to make their idea a reality.
They give participants practical skills to challenge and improve the quality of their venture idea, to help make it feasible and sustainable. Through peer sessions with like-minded individuals the programme raises confidence and builds ambition levels, which in turn drives the idea forward.
This year they are introducing mentoring into the programme – training more established social entrepreneurs in mentoring techniques and then pairing them with the new 'older entrepreneurs'.

From the start of the programme they encourage ventures to think about commercial style business models rather than relying on public sector funding. This forces participants to think about long term sustainability early on.
Through Age Unlimited Scotland, NESTA has reached people who wouldn't see themselves as social entrepreneurs; many doubted their own abilities and wouldn't normally have put themselves forward for this opportunity – they are modest and just had "a bit of an idea". Participants describe the programme as a worthwhile but emotional journey, fast-paced and a huge learning curve. NESTA is learning a lot too. Supporting new older entrepreneurs is time intensive - start-up challenges can seem like huge barriers and many like ongoing reassurance that their idea is credible and a worthy investment of their time.

Sunday, 20 March 2011

Is there a limit to life expectancy?

An excellent summary article on the new statistics of life expectancy on the BBC website.

The one liner is that all recent research suggests that as yet there is no discernible limit to how long we can live. Looks like we will be joining the turtles and parrots yet.

Saturday, 12 March 2011

Our ageing population

An ageing population will lead to an increase in such illnesses as dementia and diabetes. In the UK today, 700,000 people are affected by dementia. This number is expected to double within a generation. Dementia currently costs the UK economy £20 billion per annum and a 2008 King’s Fund study projected a rise to £50 billion by 2038. There are 2.6 million people in the UK with Type 2 diabetes and this is expected to increase to 4 million by 2025. The costs of diabetes are high because of associated complications such as heart disease, stroke, visual impairment , kidney disease, nerve damage and amputations...

Well there are some stats to cheer you up on a wet Saturday afternoon.

Monday, 7 March 2011

Using brain games to delay dementia

Researchers at Queen's University Belfast have developed an application to discover the true effectiveness of brain training exercises in 50-plus people.
The Brain Jog application, which is available to download free for iPhone, iPod or iPad, is the product of 18 months of work by researchers at Queen's School of Music and Sonic Arts to find out what the over 50's are looking for in a brain training app.
The researchers are encouraging as many people as possible to download and use the application. During the process, users will be asked to give feedback on their experience of playing the game.
Using this information to determine what makes a good puzzle experience, the research team will continuously improve and adapt the games to make them as user friendly as possible-thereby maximising the number of people who play on a regular, long-term basis.
In the next stage of the project, the researchers hope to track the experience and performance of these long-term players to help clarify the effects of regular brain training on ageing minds.
Lead researcher Donal O'Brien of the Queen's Sonic Arts Research Centre said: "Brain Jog consists of four enjoyable mini games specifically designed to test and improve four areas - spatial ability, memory, mathematical ability and verbal fluency."
"This is achieved through problem solving, puzzles and reverse arithmetic, allowing users to be challenged in an engaging manner, and improve their performance with regular practice," he said.
He added, "By downloading this app, you can help us create a fantastic game experience for those over 50 and bring us one step closer to finding out whether or not brain training can help prevent cognitive decline and dementia.
"Plans are in place for a future study on dementia prevention using the app; but before that can happen, people of all ages are encouraged to get downloading and have fun while providing vital information to our researchers and keeping their brain active."

Thursday, 3 March 2011

Alcohol can help to prevent dementia!

Good news for a change!

A German study found for people over 65 years old, drinking small amounts of alcohol appears to lower the overall rate of dementia and Alzheimer's disease.
Previous research has suggested long-term alcohol abuse is detrimental to memory function. Evidence had indicated alcohol-related dementia accounted for about 10% of all cases.
But the new study indicates light-to-moderate drinking as people age through their senior years may actually help keep their memories intact.
The study interviewed 3,327 patients without dementia and then examined their alcohol consumption and cognitive function at 1 1/2 years and three years.
About 50% of the participants avoided alcohol during the study while the rest drank varying amounts. At the end of the study, 217 (6.8%) of the participants had been diagnosed with dementia -- most of them were non-drinkers.
The study found that the drinkers were 29% less likely to have developed dementia and 42% less likely to have developed Alzheimer's.
The analysis found light-to-moderate alcohol consumption was particularly beneficial for those 75 years old and over.
"The idea that a drop of your favourite tipple could reduce risk of dementia will come as welcome news to many," said Anne Corbett, research manager with the Alzheimer's Society.
But Corbett cautioned against using the study as a "green light to hit the bottle."
Though the study adds to a growing argument alcohol is beneficial for the older population, there remains evidence heavy drinking is linked to an increased risk of dementia, she said.
The researchers suggest the alcohol consumption may be helping by lowering cholesterol and improving insulin sensitivity. Non-alcoholic components in most of the beverages also have antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties, the study says.
It's not clear if different alcoholic beverages -- such as beer, wine or spirits -- have different outcomes.
The study is published in the journal of Age and Ageing.

Monday, 14 February 2011

50+'s still into romance and sex

As Valentines approaches the over 50’s are reporting higher levels of satisfaction with their health and relationships than their younger counterparts, according to Saga Health.  However despite agreeing on the state of their health, the old adage that men are from Mars and Women are from Venus is still going strong, with Men twice as likely to admit dissatisfaction with their sex lives as women (21% versus 12% for women).    

Despite their sex lives being a point of contention, it does not appear to directly correlate to peoples overall satisfaction with their relationship.  In fact  84% of over 50s are confident that they think they will be with their partner forever. 

Saga panellists were asked to compare their sex life today with their sex life in their 20s and 30s. While 85% said sex was less frequent now, 82% said there was less pressure to have sex and 61% said it was more fulfilling. 68% of respondents disagreed with the statement ‘It is more boring’. In fact almost half (42%) of sexually active Saga panellists have sex at least once a week, with a further quarter saying fortnightly.
When asked how satisfied people were with other aspects in their lives, it was clear from the results that with age, comes happiness, confidence and contentment. Over 50s in general are much happier with the way they look, their relationship and their overall health compared to the younger generations. Almost three fifths of over 50s are satisfied or completely satisfied with their health, compare to only a third of under 50s. And when looking at life overall, 79% of over 50s are satisfied or completely satisfied, compared to just over half of under 50s (57%)