Resources for Older People's Organisations in London
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A new report “Generation Stuck”  from the International Longevity Centre – UK looks at the benefits of and obstacles to older people downsizing to a smaller home. It is partly intended to counteract some reports suggesting older people are harming younger generations by selfishly “hoarding” housing. The title “Generation Stuck” refers to many older popele being essentially stuck in their present home because of various obstacles to downsizing which the report discusses.

While previous research has explored the extent to which older people live in under-occupied properties, this report informs the debate on downsizing in later life by providing new survey research on older homeowners’ actual experiences and expectations in this respect. Amongst the key findings are:

  • One in three homeowners aged 55+ (32.6%) are considering or expect to consider downsizing. This figure rises to nearly one in two of all homeowners aged 55+ (48.2%) when factoring in those who have already downsized (15.6%). This is therefore an area worthy of greater policy focus, while the current policy debate is focused almost completely on first time buyers and starter homes.
  • Lower maintenance was the most important reason people downsized or would consider it (56.0%).
  • Close to a third (29.3%) of those who had downsized or are considering it did or expect to to release more than £100,000 in equity. Purchases from one specialist retirement housing provider, McCarthy & Stone, allowed its customers to release almost £60,000 on average from each move, with 19% releasing more than £100,000.2 Together, these figures show that releasing substantial equity can be a reality when downsizing.
  • The most prevalent way that people did or will use the equity released from downsizing is to put it into a savings account (35.2% overall) or, for those aged 55-59, to put it towards a pension (34.0%).
  • Specialist retirement housing could have a major impact on freeing up a larger housing market, with nearly 3.5 million older people interested in downsizing and buying a retirement property.

The report calls for a number of policy reforms to encourage downsizing and moving in later life, focused on the categories of adequacy, affordability and awareness, and contributes to the growing public debate on the state of the housing market in the UK.

You can download the full report from the ILC-UK website

Lloyds Bank has published its UK Consumer Digital Index 2016 – the first of its kind. It explores consumers’ digital and financial capability and finds that for example, there are 13.1 million people in the UK (adults of all ages)  with low financial capability and 11.1 million with low digital capability, and 3.2 million people with low capability in both these areas. Digitally excluded people, the report suggests, could save £3.7 billion annually by improving their digital skills. Two thirds of digitally excluded people are aged 60+, and the report explores the reasons for this.

You can read the full report on the website.

The Healthwatch directory is a specifically tailored online service aimed at directly helping people in their search for health and support services around the City of London.

This unique and specialist service offers information on a wide range of facilities from local GP information to advice and support on money problems. The simple search buttons assists you in navigating around the website, allowing you to search your nearest dentists’, walk-in clinics and even the local gyms. The free service also provides you with up to date information, including accurate maps and handy web links directly to the relevant service.

What makes this directory different is that it is impartial and the directories only concern is offering the best information possible on the services that the City can provide. If you are concerned about your health and lifestyle, then it is easy to find the most appropriate information on healthy living and eating, as well as information on local sport activities that you can attend.

Instead of painstakingly searching individual services, the Healthwatch directory has all the latest information and links compiled into one easy to use, free online service.

If you find the Healthwatch Directory useful, then please share using the Share Button, and more people can benefit from this handy service!

You can visit the website here.

The Centre for Ageing Better recently launched a new website at www.ageing-better.org.uk which the Centre plans to use for emerging news about its work programme in the next few months.

A new report by the Ready for Ageing Alliance, a group of major charities interested in our ageing society, seeks to bust the widely touted myth that there is a uniform group of older people in the UK – so called baby boomers – who have benefitted at the expense of younger age groups.

The report presents compelling evidence that baby boomers (in this report defined as between the ages of 55-70) are in fact a diverse group of people in virtually every aspect of their lives. Inequality affects them similarly to other people in our society leading to a wide range of outcomes in their lives. You can read the report here.

HelpAge International has just published the Global AgeWatch Index 2015. It looks at how countries across the world are responding to the increasing number of older people, and ranks them in a league table according to the economic and social wellbeing of older people. You can read the report here 

Skills for Care has published “Support to people with dementia and other conditions”, a case study based guide to support the social care workforce working with people with dementia and also other conditions. It is specifically aimed at leaders and managers in services supporting people with dementia. Skills for Care is the employer-led workforce development body for social care in England.

You can read the guide at http://www.skillsforcare.org.uk/Document-library/Skills/Dementia/Supporting-people-with-dementia-and-other-conditions-WEB.pdf

Positive Ageing in London, with the UK Age Friendly Cities NetworkGreater London Authority and Manchester City Council, jointly held this event which was well received and attended by older people, policy makers and local practitioners from all over the UK and Ireland. It aimed to spread best practice on how cities and local authorities respond to ageing and to help build the Age Friendly Cities Network.

Discussions approaches to making local areas age friendly, the built environment, culture and economic development.

All of the papers from the conference, programme, speaker biographies and other information can be found here.

The Commission’s final report has been published and can be found here. It has been described (not by its authors) as a “really good succinct and punchy report with great infographics and plenty of food for thought for the whole voluntary sector NOT JUST the ageing sector”

Decision time makes a range of suggestions aimed at the voluntary sector, funders and government, to help civil society negotiate the opportunities and pitfalls posed by the UK’s ageing population. These include:

  • Charities must adapt how they work with older volunteers and donors. Today’s retirees are more discerning and discriminating than ever before about giving time and money, and charities should maintain more interactive, reciprocal relationship with the people who support them.
  • The voluntary sector should market itself as the ‘sector of choice’ for people shifting jobs in the last year before they retire. Charities could lead retraining for teachers, care-workers and other under-staffed professions.
  • Government can support the efforts of charities by considering incentives to volunteer. This may include piloting tax breaks for volunteers or carer credits.
  • Funders should pilot more early intervention projects, to identify the most effective work and prevent future problems before they emerge.

Trustees will have a key role in helping charities adapt to the changes in demographics. On 20 April 2015, New Philanthropy Capital are running a seminar for charity  trustees to explore the findings of the report, and how trustees should take forward its recommendations. Further details can be found on the event website: http://www.thinknpc.org/events/preparing-for-the-future-changing-demographics/

 

I’m Still Me: a narrative for coordinated support for older people has just been published and sets out how coordinated – or integrated – care and support looks and feels to older people and is written from their point of view.

You can download and read the full report from this webpage.

The publication, developed by older people working with UCLPartners, National Voices, Age UK, Alzheimer’s Society, British Geriatrics Society and partners including Age UK London who contributed an initial literature review and arranged the participation of many of the interviewees, challenges health and care services to work together and improve the outcomes older people say are most important to them – things like independence, social interaction and relational support.

I’m Still Me outlines five themes that older people say are key to coordinated support: independence, community interactions, decision making, care and support and terminology.

It also sets out a series of ‘I statements’ that summarise what older people have said that they want their support to look like. These include:

“I can maintain social contact as much as I want”
“I am recognised for what I can do rather than assumptions being made
about what I cannot”
“I am supported to be independent”

I’m Still Me discusses implications for health and social care services and asks professionals, at all levels, to reflect on whether they are truly addressing the issues identified as being important to older people.

The publication also calls for a national debate on the use of the word ‘frail’. This word is often used to define groups of older people who could be vulnerable to a crisis, however it is emphatically rejected by older people themselves because they don’t see themselves in this way. The older people involved in the development of I’m Still Me did not want their lives to be defined by their health conditions and consistently disliked the terms ‘frail’ and ‘frailty’. Health and social care services have the challenge of identifying people at risk of ‘frailty’ to ensure that they get the right support, but this needs to be in a way that is acceptable to the very population they are trying to support.

It is hoped that this publication will generate such debate, and that this conversation continues to be led by the views of older people.