Resources for Older People's Organisations in London
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An ageing society presents both opportunities and challenges to businesses. The past stereotypes of older people’s purchasing patterns are becoming outdated as our marketplaces become increasingly sophisticated and diverse. Social change, globalisation, de-regulation and technological advances have changed the commercial landscape. Many older consumers feel left out or at least, left behind. Old values such as loyalty and personal relationships appear no longer to have currency. Our high streets are changing and the fast moving on-line market place, whilst comfortable for the younger consumer, may not be as welcoming to older consumers.

South East Age UKs and SEEFA – the South East England Forum on Ageing – have joined forces to examine:

  • How older consumers are disadvantaged and what barriers they face.
  • Why, given the scale of demographic change, older consumers don’t appear to be a high priority for business.
  • What does an ‘age friendly’ future look like? What may need to change?

Culminating in a Symposium at the Palace of Westminster, this high profile debate is intended to make a real difference to the way older people are viewed as consumers. The project will bring together experts with experience of later life, policy makers, stakeholders in the business world and research. We will make suggestions to policy makers and influencers for encouraging ‘all age friendly’ multi generational business approaches.

We’ll be starting things off with a joint South East Age UKs and SEEFA Policy Panel event on 31st October 2016 to develop the key issues to put to policy makers.

For further information please contact: Julia Pride: juliapride@gmail.com 07771941290

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

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 

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/

 

Two articles have recently been published  in Health and Social Care in the community,  resulting from research by the University of York’s Social Policy Research Unit. Full references and links:

 

Gridley, K., Brooks, J. and Glendinning, C. (forthcoming) Good practice in social care: the views of people with severe and complex needs and those who support them, Health and Social Care in the Community, (Available online from 3 April 2014). http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/hsc.12105/abstract

 

Gridley, K., Brooks, J. and Glendinning, C. (2014) Good practice in social care for disabled adults and older people with severe and complex needs: evidence from a scoping review, Health and Social Care in the Community, 22, 3, 234-248.   http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/hsc.12063/abstract

 

Age UK London has just launched a report outlining recommendations for getting more of the 2.1 million older people in London online.

View the report on the Age UK London website here. 

78% of Londoners aged over 75 are not online and a total of 661,000 people over the age of 55 in London have never used the internet; Wealth of the Web: Broadening Horizons Online tackles the issue of how to decrease these figures. Specific recommendations are made for older people themselves, the Age UK London Network, voluntary sector organisations, regional and local government, funders and those in the private sector.

The report was launched at an event organised by Positive Ageing in London attended by some 65 people including representatives from the Cabinet Office, Department for Work and Pensions, GLA, Ofcom, Lloyds Bank, IBM UK and Digital Unite as well as a wide range of academics, older people’s organisations and voluntary bodies.

The Department for Work and Pensions latest monthly bulletin, the DWP Later Life Newsletter, is now out. The newsletter includes the latest news on policy changes, good practice and initiatives and their impact on older people.

You can view the newsletter, and sign up to receive it monthly, here.