Wednesday, 30 June 2010

More 50+'s using the internet

The UK Online Measurement Company (UKOM) found that the net audience now stands at 38.8 million, up from 36.9 million at the same time last year.
The majority of internet newbies were made up of over-50s, with more men than women joining up.
Net services are increasingly targeting the older generation.
"The internet is getting older in more ways than one. Not only is the medium itself maturing but the audience is shifting towards older age groups," said Alex Burmaster, speaking on behalf of UKOM.
"There is a still a perception that the net is youth-centric but this is clearly not the reality," he added.
Over-50s account for 31% of the UK net audience. Men over 50 accounted for 38% of the 1.9 million new surfers.
Women over 50 accounted for 15%, women aged 21-34 for 14%, while girls aged 12-20 made up 12% of the total.
The older generation are attracted to a range of sites, including travel, genealogy, fashion, video and community sites, according to UKOM.

Tuesday, 29 June 2010

TV station just for the over 50's

Yes we are to get our own special TV station!
Vintage TV will focus on music and popular culture from the 1950s to 1980s and feature some original programming.
The station, due to begin broadcasting on Sky and Freesat on 1 September, will also show new music videos for 500 songs recorded before the video age.
Music pundit and broadcaster Paul Gambaccini will be the principal presenter for the new service.
The station will also broadcast rare concert and performance footage and revisit news and entertainment shows from numerous TV archives.
Among the new programmes will be a show based on The Antiques Roadshow and aimed at music collectors.

I am sure it will do well but are we really interested only in nostalgia as we get older? Some of us like to believe that we also enjoy participating in current cultural activities.

Monday, 28 June 2010

Making the most of an ageing workforce

Great article by Ros Altmann in the Guardian at the weekend. Well worth a read if you haven't seen it.

Are brains don't give up with age

This article in the Daily Telegraph makes it clear that long-term memory remains unaffected with age and a person’s vocabulary, emotional intelligence and social skills may all get better.
Short-term memory, learning skills and the ability to reason do decline with age, the research shows, but not all mental faculties reach their peak when a person is in their 20s as is commonly believed. 
Professor Dilip Jeste of the University of California, San Diego, said: "The fact that older people are slower to respond than younger people is widely seen as a disadvantage. But that's not always the case.
"The elderly brain is less dopamine-dependent, making people less impulsive and controlled by emotion. Older people also less likely to respond thoughtlessly to negative emotional stimuli because their brains have slowed down compared to younger people. This, in fact is what we call wisdom.

Monday, 21 June 2010

Most people want a speedy end to the DRA

Two-thirds of people support government plans to abolish the default retirement age (DRA) of 65, according to a survey of 1,011 people by charity Age UK.

The majority of respondents (70 per cent) said it was wrong to enable employers to force staff to retire when they reach a certain age.

Plans to phase out the DRA have already been announced by the coalition government but Age UK has called for an abolition deadline to be made clear when the Budget is unveiled tomorrow.

The charity has claimed that £3.5billion was wasted last year because tens of thousands of workers were forced to stop working when they reached 65. It said that people who work beyond 65 generate extra tax revenue and can reduce employers’ pension liabilities. Further government plans to raise the state pension age would save taxpayers billions of pounds, it said.

Michelle Mitchell, director of Age UK, said: "The default retirement age is a hugely unpopular law which is well past its sell-by date.

"Forcing people in later life out of the labour market when they want to work, save for their pensions and pay taxes is nonsense. It makes a mockery of the government's plans to help people work longer.

"A clear commitment to scrapping forced retirement next April is needed to end speculation and confusion among employers and employees alike. It would show how the Government was making freedom and fairness a reality for many people in later life who are denied that opportunity."

Last week Steve Webb, Pensions Minister, hinted that the DRA could be repealed much sooner than the coalition government initially suggested. He said the government’s phasing out approach would be applied “vigorously” and called the DRA an “anomaly”.

Saturday, 19 June 2010

The male menopause

Do read a wonderfully funny and pithy article on male menopause by Nicholas Lezard. Basically he makes the point that biologically we can't have one - but its the way that he says it. Enjoy!

Tuesday, 15 June 2010

Over 50's love driving gadgets..

...according to new research by Saga Motor Insurance. Far from being afraid of trying out new gadgets, the baby boomer generation believe they help them to be better drivers.
As you would expect from the safest group of drivers on the road, the over 50s tend only to value gadgets that improve their safety or enhance their driving experience such as Sat Nav systems (32%) and cruise control (20%) and are much less likely than younger motorists to have distracting devices such as iPods and Blackberries or Smartphones in the car with them.
Over 50s also prove to be the most responsible when it comes to using hand held mobiles in the car.  Just one in ten (12%) of the over 50s say they have used a handheld mobile while driving since it became illegal in 2003, this is compared to over a quarter (28%) of those under 50 and a third (33%) of 18-34 year olds.  What is perhaps even more worrying is the 22% of 18-34s who text while driving and 2% of all motorists who admit to emailing behind the wheel.
The survey has also found that some drivers find gadgets designed to aid driving a distraction.  A third of all drivers (31%) said they find hands free mobile technology distracting and 35% also said sat nav systems were off-putting.

So you now have total permission to go and buy some new toys!

Monday, 14 June 2010

Windscreen water infection risk

As if we didn't have enough to worry about in our advancing years. We are now told that if we are over 50 we stand a chance of contracting Legionnaires Disease if we don't use a proper screenwash in our cars. I promise I am not making this up. Look at the piece on the BBC news.

Wednesday, 9 June 2010

Over 50's flocking to the south west

A very interesting article by Steve Doughty quotes official statistics to show the mass migration of largely middle class over 50's and retirees to the south west with implications for the health services in the region.Two out of every five people in the region are over 50 and more than one in five - 1.2million people - are over retirement age.

Their presence has made Taunton in Somerset and Christchurch in Dorset the only towns in England where more than a third of the residents are retired, while Dorset is the county with the oldest profile in the country, with 29 per cent of its people over pension age.
And as well as the existing pensioner population, the number of over-65s in the South-West is likely to double in the next 25 years, with places such as Exeter and Westonsuper-Mare particularly affected.
Few of the West Country retirees depend on the state for their living.

Saturday, 5 June 2010

Doubt cast on the maxim that time goes faster as you get older

Fascinating research on this issue from the British Psychological Society bulletin.
Time gets faster the older you are. Or does it? When William Friedman and Steve Janssen asked 49 New Zealand undergrads (average age 21) and 50 older adults (average age 68) to say how fast time passed for them, including the last week, month and year, very few differences emerged. Most participants felt time passed quickly but it was only when considering the speed of the last ten years that the older adults said time had gone by more quickly than the younger participants, and even here the effect of age was small.

This finding, and another like it involving German and Austrian participants published in 2005, casts doubt on some of the classic explanations for time speeding up with age, including William James' suggestion that time feels slower when younger because it is packed with more memorable events. If true, you'd expect the effect to apply over time periods shorter than ten years.

Friedman and Janssen's initial study also undermined a novel explanation for time speeding up known as 'telescoping'. This is the idea that time feels faster when we look back on past events and discover that we underestimated how long ago they occurred. Earlier in the study, the researchers had asked their participants to estimate when 12 newsworthy events from the past had occurred, including Saddam Hussein's capture in 2003. By giving them false feedback on their accuracy, the researchers exaggerated or reduced the telescoping effect but this didn't have any effect on participants' subsequent ratings of how fast time goes by.

A second study, conducted on the internet, tested a novel explanation for time seeming faster to some people than others: feeling rushed. Nearly two thousand Dutch participants aged between 16 and 80 rated the speed of time and how rushed they felt in life. Once again, very few age differences emerged, with only the ten-year period being judged to have passed more quickly by older participants.

Age accounted for four per cent of the variance in how quickly participants said the last ten years had passed and just one per cent of the perception of time's speed in general. By contrast, how busy and rushed people reported feeling accounted for ten per cent of the variance in subjective speed of time. Consistent with this, women reported feeling more rushed than men, on average, and they perceived time to go by more quickly.

Quite why the idea that time speeds up with age is so widely believed requires further study, the researchers said. 'Another significant question,' they continued, 'is why age differences in the subjective speed of time are found when adults are asked to consider the last ten years but not present or only very weak when they report on the last year or more recent intervals.' The effect over ten years, they suggested, could simply be the self-fulfilling effect of the cultural belief that time speeds up with age.

'The answers to these questions,' Friedman and Janssen concluded, 'may shed light on a topic that has engaged philosophers and psychologists for more than 100 years.'

Friedman, W., & Janssen, S. (2010). Aging and the speed of time. Acta Psychologica, 134 (2), 130-141

Tuesday, 1 June 2010

Myths of ageing

This is the title of a European report which highlights 12 myths of ageing and proceeds to present the evidence which refutes them. Its about 2 years old now but still well worth downloading the report.