When Should We Start Discussing Retirement?

At the start of December, a landmark event for those planning to retire occurred almost without anyone noticing. The 6th of December was the first day that someone turning 65 was no longer eligible to collect their state pension but would have to wait; see https://www.yourpension.gov.uk/when-will-i-get-it/ for more specific details. The State Pensionable age is going to rise in phases until between 2037 and 2039 it equalises at age 68 for all.

If you are a UK citizen and interested in finding out when you will be eligible for your state pension you can also go the following Government page: https://www.gov.uk/state-pension-age

On the 6th of December, the Centre for Better Ageing published a new report indicating that a significant number of people are worried about leaving work which highlights a lack of planning and preparation for retirement across society. Unfortunately, that’s not a new finding but what is worrying is that the poorest prepared are those on the lowest incomes. It also shows that women tend to engage in planning for life after paid work even less than men.  Very concerning when you consider the current Women Against State Pension Inequality (WASPI) campaign and the continuing plight of women born during the 1950’s.

The Centre for Ageing Better is calling on employers to consider the role they play in improving peoples’ transition into retirement and to provide their staff with a supportive environment in which to discuss, plans and prepare for retirement.  The government should also play its part by promoting existing guidance and support employers to have more open workplace discussions about age and provide employees with the tools they need to plan their transition towards retirement.

You can see their full report at  https://www.ageing-better.org.uk/news/transition-to-retirement-rapid-evidence-review

The Ongoing Tragedy of the UK’s Excess Winter Deaths!


In common with other countries, more people in the UK die in the winter than in the summer. Health Protection Scotland and other agencies point out that the deaths can often be attributed in part to cold weather directly (for instance deaths following falls, fractures, and road traffic accidents), in part to cold weather worsening chronic medical
conditions (for example, heart and respiratory complaints), and in part to respiratory infections including influenza.

Last winter though was carnage though particularly if you were a woman or aged 85 and over (See Excess Winter Deaths England and Wales)

If you combine the England, Wales and Scottish figures the number of excess UK winter deaths last winter was 54,879.

Sadly, our national disgrace continues and if anything things might slowly be getting worse after many years of improvement when the overall trend had been downwards since 2013-14 there has been a rising trend.

To give this more of a context in Scotland the  +4,797 deaths considered to be excess was the largest number since winter 1999/2000. The +50,100 deaths in England and Wales was the highest recorded since winter 1975 to 1976.

Research released by the E3G group in February 2018 indicates not just why this happens but why this should be a source of national embarrassment. Iceland, Finland, Norway and Sweden all have fewer winter deaths per capita population than we do and there is little doubt that they are colder. To learn more and access the E3G group report CLICK HERE

I agree with the authors of the report that this preventable tragedy must end. It’s time for the UK Government’s (England Wales and Scotland) to get a move on and do something significant to provide the capital investment necessary to make many more UK’s homes warmer and safe for human habitation.






“Alexa… What does Gran/Grandad want for Christmas this year?”

What about Tablet?

This week saw the release of a New NIHR Themed Review called “Help at Home”.

Help at Home brings together recent National Institute of Health Research (NIHR) and other government funded research which has a focus on the use of technology in the home and designing better environments for older people.

This review features the work of 40 published studies. It also sets about giving care providers questions to ask about how technology can support older people living with complex conditions and what designs could help create an ageing friendly environment.

I am a big fan of making use of technology when it can help people to stay living well and safely at home as they get older. However my caveat is always that it has to be the right technology, tailored to the individual. BUT that alone is not enough, the person its for has to be willing to use it (and capable of learning how to use it), or you quickly find its a waste of money, time and effort.

There has been considerable investment recently in developing and evaluating assistive technologies for older people. However this is a relatively new field and there are still important gaps in what we know.

What is in the review has been selected with help from an expert steering group who focused on research around the use of technology in the home, remote monitoring systems and designing better environments for older people. You can read more at:

Help at Home Review

I am hoping this is arriving in your inbox just in time for Christmas. Christmas isn’t just for children

“Alexa… What does Gran want for Christmas this year?”

Maybe her own smart speaker or tablet!