Who Said That an Ageing Population is a Bad Thing?

I’ve missed another week, but here I am back again. This week I am bringing a new report by The International Longevity Centre (ILC-UK) called “Maximising the Longevity Dividend”.  While older people and an ageing population are often painted as a risk to our economy, this new research shows that the UK’s ageing population brings economic opportunities through older people’s growing spending, working and earning power.

Their research has found that households headed by someone aged 50+ have dominated total expenditure (excluding housing costs) since 2013. And spending by older consumers will continue to rise significantly over the coming decades, from 54% (£319 billion) of total consumer spending in 2018 to 63% by 2040 (£550 billion).

Those 50+ also shift their spending towards non-essential purchases such as leisure, transport, household goods and services.

People aged 50+ are also making an increasingly significant contribution to the economy by continuing to work.. The share of the workforce aged 50 and over rose from 26% in 2004 to 32% in 2018, and it could account for 37% by 2040. People aged 50 and over earned 30% of total earnings (£237 bn) in 2018 and this is expected to rise to 40% by 2040 (£311 bn). The ILC have said that supporting people aged 50 and over to remain in the workforce could add an additional 1.3% to the UK GDP a year by 2040.

To read and download the report CLICK HERE.

AS David Sinclair, Director of the ILC, says

As the population ages there are enormous economic opportunities, but these are currently being neglected. We’ve become accustomed to hearing our ageing population talked about as a bad thing – but the reality is it could be an opportunity. However, we won’t realise this ‘longevity dividend’ through blind optimism about ageing. Instead, we need concerted action to tackle the barriers to spending and working in later life.”

Improving Well-being Exercise Again!

So twice within a month I am going to post about the same thing and yes you’ve guessed it its exercise. The National Institute for Health and Care Research (NIHR) have released their latest themed review looking at physical activity today.

Their report brings together recent evidence on ways to influence physical activity behaviours in individuals and populations. It focuses on studies funded by NIHR so it is not a comprehensive review. However this is a UK organisation and its research conducted in the UK aims to raise awareness of their collective findings and relate to them to a broader body of research relevant to this country. The breadth of their work is also quite impressive when you consider that the report covers Early Years, Children of Primary School Years, Adults, Older Adults, Workplace Changes, and Changes to the Built and Natural Environments.

What is says about older adults is quite revealing. The review states that

“We don’t know enough from the research about the kind and intensity of intervention which works best, but qualitative evidence suggest the importance of social aspects of exercise, and reassurance around safety and health beliefs. More effort needs to be directed at certain groups most likely to benefit and least likely to take part in initiatives, including those with lower starting fitness and health problems or with weaker social networks.”

Time for health professionals to take heed and focus on these groups then.

To read the report online or download a copy go to: http://bit.ly/2Nm8LGD

I promise that next week I’ll look at something else!

Improving Well-being: Step 1-Physical Activity

Public Health England have recently published new evidence and online guidance to help healthcare professionals embed physical activity into daily life.

Called Physical Activity: Applying All Our Health  the resource aims to help health professionals prevent ill health and promote well-being as part of their everyday practice.

The information provided aims to help front-line health and care staff use their trusted relationships with patients, families and communities to promote the benefits of physical activity. It also recommends important actions that managers and staff holding strategic roles can take.

It includes examples to help healthcare professionals understand specific activities or interventions which can:

  • prevent physical inactivity
  • protect through physical activity
  • promote healthier more active lifestyles

Also in the post is a link to an eLearning version of the information provided by eLearning for Healthcare (Worth signing up to because of the number of resources you can access).

The NHS Scotland equivalent page can be found at http://www.healthscotland.scot/health-topics/physical-activity/physical-activity-overview

but its perhaps not as interesting.

Older People Are Concerned About Climate Change Too!

Thousands of young people are taking part in school strikes across Scotland and around the world today to demand urgent action on climate change. The protests are the latest in a series of strikes started a year ago by 16-year-old Swedish schoolgirl Greta Thunberg, which have have now spread across 150 countries. Today’s action is the largest so far. Events are planned in all of many of the UK’s major cities, many towns and some islands including Iona and Skye.

What is often forgotten though is that older people are disproportionately affected by climate change.

The relationship is very clear. In cold weather extremes and in heatwaves and in any other kind of extreme weather or natural disaster, its older people that experience the most morbidity and mortality. Essentially older people have fewer resources to deal with disaster and they can’t get out of harm’s way fast enough.

For an example nearly half of the individuals who died during Hurricane Katrina in 2005 were 75 or older. When Hurricane Sandy hit New York in 2012, almost half of those who died were over 65.

A New York Times article, reproduced recently in the Independent called them the “forgotten generation”. Not just because they were forgotten in disasters but also because they were an untapped resource. Baby boomers, because of their huge numbers and voting power have great potential to make a difference to this protest movement.

Age International and Help Age International have been very aware of the problems of older people during disasters and even a quick look at Age Internationals Emergency Aid page (CLICK HERE) and this article by Help Age International (CLICK HERE) will give you a clearer idea of just how disproportionately they are effected.

Rather ironically the best resource that I could find explaining the impact of climate change on older people’s health is from the United States Environmental Protection Agency. Called ‘Climate Change and the Health of Older  Adults’ you can download it here!  

Reducing Type 2 Diabetes Through Weight Loss Alone

This is a bit of a departure for me as I have picked something that’s not necessarily relevant to older people but more relevant I think to the people who might read this Blog. Thanks to UNIVADIS for bringing this to my attention.

We often hear that Type 2 diabetes (T2D) can be avoided by losing weight and altering your diet, See Understand Your Risk but what if you have Type 2 diabetes already!

How much weight reduction is required to achieve T2D remission?

A recent paper published by a team from the University of Cambridge, School of Clinical Medicine, conducted a study that looked at this question and found that achieving weight loss of ≥10% within a few years of getting a T2D diagnosis is strongly associated with remission at 5 years. About a third of people who managed this achieved remission.

Why this matters

  • About 422 million people worldwide have diabetes, a number likely to more than double in the next 20 years. Type 2 accounts for around 90% of all diabetes worldwide. Reports of Type 2 diabetes in children have increased globally (WHO 2019)
  • Previous studies have shown that T2D remission is possible with intensive caloric restriction/lifestyle intervention, but few have addressed less-intensive interventions.

Study design

  • Prospective cohort study of 730 people aged 40-69 years newly diagnosed with T2D

Key results

  • Diabetes remission (HbA1c <48 mmol/mol; 6.5%), without any diabetes medication or bariatric surgery, was achieved in 257 participants (30%).
  • Those achieving remission were more often male, smokers, and with full-time education beyond age 16 years.
  • Compared with no weight change and after adjustments, people who lost ≥10% of body weight in first year after diagnosis were significantly more likely to achieve T2D remission at 5 years (risk ratio, 1.77; P<.01).
  • Remission likelihood was non-significantly increased for 5%-10% weight loss (risk ratio, 1.24; P=.17).
  • In subsequent 1-5 years, ≥10% weight loss was also associated with remission (risk ratio, 2.43; P<.01).
  • No consistent patterns of associations between unit changes in health behaviours (energy intake, physical activity, etc.) and T2D remission.
  • The study was conducted within a primarily white population.
  • Funding was published by Wellcome Trust; Medical Research Council and the UK National Institute for Health Research.

You can access the whole paper via

Dambha-Miller H, Day AJ, Strelitz J, Irving G, Griffin SJ. (2019) Behaviour change, weight loss and remission of Type 2 diabetes: a community-based prospective cohort study. Diabetic Medicine. 2019 Sep 3 [Epub ahead of print] at  doi: 10.1111/dme.14122. PMID: 31479535

Are You Ready for 64? What about 86 and Maybe More?

I quite liked this as an introduction to this weeks topic. Today’s fifty-year-olds are likely to have an astounding 36 or more years to live. So if you’re approaching later life, you need to think very differently about what those extra years will hold.

So two things that you will have to consider in this weeks. A plan for your future at work and help in achieving the goal of a fabulous later life. Interesting you can find guides to both on the Centre for Ageing Better’s website this week.

Firstly they have published a new report on Employers, suggesting that they should do more for workers in their 40s and 50s to help them plan for the future.To read more about their findings and to download the full report follow THIS LINK 

The Centre for Ageing Better says

…providing mid-life support is an essential part of how employers can respond to the changing nature of the workforce. Workers over the age of 50 now make up a third of all UK workers, but there are more older people leaving work than younger people coming in to replace them. Supporting staff to plan ahead could help employers avoid potential staff and skill shortages, as well as ‘cliff edge retirements’ where people are working one day and stop work entirely the next.

The second item is a new book that the Centre helped to produce called When We’re 64 by Louise Ansari

The book is a friendly, practical guide to preparing for what could be the best years of your life – from the essentials on work and how to fund retirement, to volunteering, where to live and what kind of housing you’ll need The book aims to provide knowledge, tips and pointers to help you think very differently about opportunities that a long life can bring. You can find out more about the book and how to purchase it by CLICKING HERE. 

Everyday Ageism! Time to #retireageism

According to a new report published last week, which surveyed 4,000 UK adults and analysed thousands of tweets and blogposts in the UK one in 30 people admitted to regularly discriminating against anyone aged over 50 – and more than one in 10 admitted that they don’t even know if they were ageist or not.

More than a third of British people admit that they have discriminated against others because of their age, according to new research on everyday ageism, with those in their 30’s most guilty.

The Ageist Britain? Report published by the Sun Life Group aims to shine a light on the issue of casual ageism and the impact it has.

The report shows that people over 50 are  bombarded with phrases and behaviours which imply that life as an older person must be awful. Language is particularly revealing with “Old fart”, “little old lady”, “bitter old man” and “old hag” used frequently in conversation and on social media

Everyday ageism has an impact on mental health with growing awareness that this ageist societal narrative negatively impacts on our personal experiences of ageing and perhaps even our health and well being it can also hasten the onset of dementia and even shorten life expectancy.

The report also found that 40% of British people over 50 regularly experience ageism, with one in three commonly experiencing it at work, one in 10 on public transport, and one in seven while shopping.

As Shelley Hopkinson, public affairs manager at Independent Age said, “Part of the problem is that people often don’t even realise that the language they’re using can be ageist or cause offence”

So what should people in the UK do about this. Well the reports says a good bit more but when the public were asked the top 3 most popular ways people think we can combat ageism are:

• If more brands used different models of all ages for their advertising campaigns (37%)
• If the issues associated with ageism had the same level of attention as racism and sexism (33%)
• If people were more aware of the use of ageist language and avoided derogatory terms (33%)