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The new State Pension

By on 12 08, 2014 in Money

The State Pension is changing.

1. Overview

The new State Pension will be a regular payment from the government that you can claim if you reach State Pension age on or after 6 April 2016.

You’ll be able to get the new State Pension if you’re eligible and:

  • a man born on or after 6 April 1951
  • a woman born on or after 6 April 1953

The new State Pension will replace the current State Pension scheme. You’ll get your State Pension under the current scheme if you reach State Pension age before 6 April 2016.

You can still get a State Pension if you have other income like a personal pension or a workplace pension.

How much you can get

The full new State Pension will be no less than £148.40 per week. The actual amount will be set in autumn 2015.

Your National Insurance record is used to calculate your new State Pension.

You’ll usually need 10 qualifying years to get any new State Pension.

The amount you get can be higher or lower depending on your National Insurance record. It will only be higher if you have over a certain amount of Additional State Pension.

You may have to pay tax on your State Pension.

Working after State Pension age

You don’t have to stop working when you reach State Pension age but you’ll no longer have to pay National Insurance. You can also request flexible working arrangements.

Find out more here

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Visbuzz shares a recent blog from Age UK: Older, not colder

By on 11 24, 2014 in elderlyHealth and Wellbeing

Age UK Blog: Older, not colder

The weather may still be relatively mild, but there’s no doubt that winter is just around the corner and for many older people, this is a huge worry. Age UK’s new research has found that 1 in 3 older people are concerned about keeping their home adequately warm this coming winter, and 70 per cent of older people are concerned about the high cost of energy.

THE OLDEST HOUSES IN THE EU

Sadly, it’s the same story every year: rising energy bills, winter health problems and excess winter deaths. Every winter, 25,000 older people in England and Wales don’t survive the cold weather – that’s 206 deaths a day, or one death every seven minutes.  Why is this? Because we live in cold homes.

The UK has the oldest houses in the EU, which over half built before 1960. On average, older UK homes require at least twice the energy to stay warm compared with many much colder European countries.

So what can we do about it?

Age UK has today (November 12th 2014) launched its campaign for warm homes, which is calling on the Government to make millions of homes much more energy efficient. We believe that an ambitious energy efficiency programme to bring all our housing up to standard is the only sensible and long-term solution to fuel poverty and excess winter deaths.

ENERGY EFFICIENCY IS THE SOLUTION

This means upgrading 2 million low income households with an energy performance rating of D, E, F or G to Band C by 2020, and upgrading all houses to an A or B rating (like today’s newly built housing) by 2030, starting with the poorest and most energy inefficient homes.

We’re calling on the Government to drive forward a major energy efficiency programme, which should be area-based and locally driven, targeting the poorest and most energy inefficient homes first.

We also want local authorities and Health and Wellbeing Boards to take action to reduce the risk of death and ill health associated with living in a cold home

To find out more and read our new report, Older, not colder, visit our website now.

lizzie-lindsay-2

 

Stay fit and healthy this winter

By on 10 13, 2014 in ActivitiesHealth and Wellbeing

It may be cold (and rainy!) outside but winter needn’t be the unhealthiest time of year for you and those around you.

Here are five ways to make sure that even when your body is telling you to hibernate you can keep healthy and fit, no matter what the weather’s like:

1. Eliminate your sleep debt

“On average we sleep six-and-a-half hours a night, much less than the seven to nine hours recommended,” says Jessica Alexander, spokesperson at the Sleep Council, which aims to raise awareness of the importance of a good night’s sleep to health and wellbeing. But in winter, we naturally sleep more, due to the longer nights. “It’s perfectly natural to adopt hibernating habits when the weather turns cold,” says Jessica. “Use the time to catch up.”

2. Keep exercising in the winter months

Make exercise a winter priority to make sure you stay fit and healthy as the weather gets colder. Find a winter buddy to exercise with at least once a week, or someone to be accountable to. You can keep each other motivated during this period. Trick yourself by making your goals more achievable by telling yourselves that you are going to exercise for just, say, 15 minutes per session. Most likely, when you get to that stage, you will want to keep going.

3. Eat more fruit and veg

When it’s cold and dark outside it can be tempting to fill up on unhealthy comfort food, but it’s important to ensure that you still keep your diet healthy and include five portions of fruit and veg a day. If you find yourself craving a sugary treat, try a juicy clementine or satsuma instead, or sweet dried fruits such as dates or raisins.

Winter vegetables such as carrots, parsnips, swede and turnips can be roasted, mashed or made into soup for a comforting winter meal for the whole family. Explore varieties of fruit and veg that you may not normally eat.

4. Try new activities

Don’t use the cold winter months as an excuse to stay in and lounge around. Instead, why not try out a new activity, maybe ice-skating, taking a bracing winter walk on the beach or exploring your local park in the different seasons. Regular exercise helps to control your weight, boost your immune system and is a good way to break the tension and boredom that can result from being constantly cooped up inside the house.

5. Have a hearty breakfast

Winter is the perfect season for porridge. Eating a warm bowlful on a cold morning isn’t just a delicious way to start your day, it also helps you to boost your intake of starchy foods and fibre, which give you energy and help you to feel fuller for longer, stopping the temptation to snack mid-morning. Oats also contain lots of vital vitamins and minerals. Avoid adding sugar or salt. Instead add a few dried apricots, some raisins, a sliced banana or other fruit for extra flavour and to help you hit the five-a-day target.

With thanks to the NHS and the Telegraph.

Warm in Winter

 

The British Red Cross

The Red Cross is a volunteer-led humanitarian organisation that helps people in crisis, whoever and wherever they are. You may be aware of the work they do abroad, but did you know that they offer a range of services across Britain?

A crisis can happen to anyone. The British Red Cross helps more than a million people in the UK every year, supporting them in emergencies, providing care in the home, and teaching life-saving first aid skills, among other services.

Independent Living:

  • Support at home
  • Mobility aids
  • Transport Services
  • Hand, arm and shoulder massage

Support in UK emergencies:

When emergencies occur, the Red Cross supports the police, ambulance and fire services, local and health authorities and utility companies. They also provide advice on preparing for emergencies, and information on Emergency response volunteering.

First Aid:

The Red Cross offers First aid training courses throughout the UK, and online, They provide teaching resources for teachers to build a generation of life-savers, and have a team of trained first aiders to provide support at public events across the UK.

Refugee Support:

The Red Cross has a long tradition of providing practical and emotional support to vulnerable refugees and asylum seekers in the UK. As a leading humanitarian organisation, they often need to respond quickly and effectively to crises. For example, they can support large-scale arrivals or give emergency provisions to those facing severe hardship.

Teaching Resources:

Looking for imaginative teaching tools that are simple to use? You’ll find them here – free resources, ideal for citizenship and PSHE teaching, tutor time and across the curriculum. With topics ranging from severe weather and flooding to Child soldiers and War the resources cover important topics using a variety of activities.

For more information please visit: British Red Cross

BRC

Life made easier 2

Carrying on from the last set of great innovations and products that could help the life of an elderly person, we have some more inventions that could come in very handy!

So we’re going to start off with a step stool with handle. When you struggle to reach high, to that book right on the top shelf, many people would use a step ladder or stool. But for some, balancing can also be very difficult, so that’s where the step stool with handle comes in! It lets you reach further while also giving balance and security.

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Patterson-Medical-Chrome-Plated-Handle/dp/B0056PPR9S

Next up is the button helper! For many people with arthritis doing up buttons can be near impossible: like trying to nail jelly to a tree it can be intensely frustrating. With the use of the button opener the task can be made simple and easy and will save a lot of pain. Doing up the buttons on a shirt or wherever can be a difficult task for even the most dexterous, but for people with shaky hands, unsteady fingers, arthritis or any other similar problem it is far too difficult, but this makes it nice and simple.

http://www.elderberrydirect.co.uk/button-helper.html

Many elderly people struggle to touch small fiddly buttons, some suffer from arthritis, and to aid these people Big Button Phones are available. With these large buttons dexterity is not needed to operate these machines, making calling loved ones far easier for them. Some of the new phones are ridiculous, you can hardly see the buttons on the phone let alone press them, so a big buttoned phone is a very welcome addition to elderly friendly gadgets.

http://www.argos.co.uk/static/Product/partNumber/5528666.htm

Lastly is another aid for those who struggle to grip and twist. Turning a stiff tap handle can be a real struggle, but with a tap turner it can be easy. Providing more leverage, anyone can easily put the tap on, or turn it off. Maybe you or someone you know can turn a tap on fine, but struggles to tighten it back up again so it doesn’t drip. If that’s the case then this could be perfect.

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Pair-Easy-Turn-Crosshead-Turners/dp/B008ATCCGI

We have selected an sample of the devices and suppliers out there but there are many more if you have time to explore.

InnovationThis blog post has been contributed by our work experience student, Jamie Cox.

30 Days of Adventure

Adventures make us grow and laugh and learn about the world and ourselves.

On Friday, Psychologies Magazine started their 30 Days of Adventure Challenge.The team decided they needed to practice what they preach, shake up their own routines and inject a little excitement into their everyday lives, so I thought I would join in. The challenge is to have an adventure every day for 30 days, no matter how big or small. Examples given include sleeping on the opposite side of the bed, taking swing dance lessons or packing your case for a spontaneous trip.

Easy peasy then…. or so I thought. If I sleep on the opposite side of the bed, my radio and plug will be on the wrong side, and after a sky dive and the Yorkshire 3 peaks, I would like to be adventurous in a non-costly kind of a way.

Now we are 3 days in, and the ideas are already running out! I have eaten Squid (having never done that before it was quite an adventure for me!), I have started a paint by numbers (nearly finished) and I went to a dog show with friends and even entered into one of the show categories (with a four legged friend). My other ideas include being more crafty, joining some meet up groups and finding a new curry house. Another way to increase your adventures is to say yes a little bit more. I tend to say no to things if they do not fit into my routine, or because I am too busy, or because it doesn’t sound like my kind of thing. This month it will be yes – well mostly!

Psychologies offers some other helpful  ideas to guide along the way including waking up early and going for a walk just after dawn, wearing a colour you never usually wear, watching a film you wouldn’t usually watch,  visiting somewhere local you have always wanted to go but hadn’t got round to. Follow their progress here: https://lifelabs.psychologies.co.uk/

Adventure

The Mature Marketing Summit 2014

By on 07 07, 2014 in Uncategorized

We have had 16 year old Jamie Cox on work experience with us for a week.  He came along with us to the Mature Marketing Summit and this is his write-up…

On Monday 30th June, the Visbuzz team attended the first Mature Marketing Summit. The aim of this summit was to spread ideas and advice about how to include the elderly section of the demographic in marketing strategies, and for us to raise awareness. The Visbuzz team arrived in plenty of time, and took the opportunity to grab what we considered to be the best table to set up our display.

To kick off the morning’s festivities Jamie West, Deputy Managing Director of Sky Media, delivered a talk on the new Sky Adsmart. He told us of how, if you were a company looking to show an advert to only people residing in West Sussex, who have three children, a dog with black spots and drive a car with a tax band of D or higher, Sky Adsmart could be the very thing you need. He linked it back to mature marketing by showing how it could be used to help direct adverts to be specific and more relevant for the elderly.

After the Sky-guy, Prof Jeremy Myerson told us of the work he had been doing at the Royal College of Art (though he said himself, its more design than art). He delivered a very interesting speech on the challenges of designing for the elderly. From recognising that the life of an elderly person is not the slow fade to grey that it is seen as, and how designs can account for this, to the challenges of designing public space that works for all.

Helenor Gilmour gave a presentation about the problem of the far too unspecific globular term of ‘mature’ or ‘50+’. Her company (DC Thomson) had done a terrific amount of research on dividing the term 50+ into many different categories, this would then make it easier for companies to make their marketing endeavours more relevant and fitting to the diverse range of elderly.

Following up Helenor was Bob Shennan, controller of BBC Radio 2. He talked about the importance of the elderly to Radio 2’s huge success, and how their musical taste isn’t always as presumed. He also talked about how the elderly usually think of themselves as being younger, for at heart they always keep their youth. A very tasty lunch ensued and we had a great chance to have a chat with the others who were attending.

After lunch the eloquent John Redwood, Chairman of Conservative Economic Affairs Committee, gave a speech on the economic situations regarding the EU, China and the US, and their marketing implications and opportunities. He directed the attentions of marketing to specific groups of the 50+.

Next Professor Tom Kirkwood gave a presentation on how innovation is greatly needed for the ageing population. He talked of how when something is designed for the elderly it ends up becoming a great invention for all, be it families or teenagers.

The penultimate talk was given by Joe Twyman from YouGov. He presented some interesting statistics, information about the general operations of YouGov.  The research he is involved in will provide a wealthy base for marketers to refer to. He spoke about the differences between those under 60, and those above, and some of their similarities.

Finally, Elaine Draper Director Process Transformations at Barclays talked about the way that banking was made more inclusive and accessible for the elderly. She talked about the different services that could and are being provided, and the attitudes that should be used to help the elderly. She spoke of developments in Barclays that could be used across all businesses to assist the elderly.

The First Mature Marketing Summit was a fantastic experience for us at Visbuzz, we learned many things and the things we already know were validated, and hopefully we raised a bit of awareness about Visbuzz!

Forgetfulness

By on 06 02, 2014 in Health and Wellbeing

Many of us have those moments where you walk upstairs to get something, get to the landing and have no idea what it was you went upstairs for! We put the kettle on, get our favourite mug out ready for a nice cup of tea, only to come back into the kitchen an hour later with the tea still unmade. Someone gives us directions and within seconds we can’t remember whether it is left or right at the post box.

The causes of forgetfulness are numerous. They run from being overwhelmed with responsibility and demands to not paying close enough attention – we simply didn’t “hear” the instructions in the first place. Other times we are so distracted by everything that is going on around us that we are on overload and have too much to remember and can’t. But when should we worry that it is becoming more serious?

Forgetfulness results from changes in the brain and can be a normal part of aging or a symptom of another condition or disease. When you experience forgetfulness, you may find it harder to recall information or events, learn new things, or form new memories. As people get older, changes occur in all parts of the body, including the brain. As a result, some people may notice that it takes longer to learn new things, they don’t remember information as well as they did, or they lose things like their glasses. These usually are signs of mild forgetfulness, not serious memory problems. Abnormal forgetfulness isn’t only about failing to remember; it’s more complex than that.

Be concerned when you see a pattern of deteriorating functioning, not just correctable incidents of forgetting. Loss of previous abilities or negative changes in long-established, characteristic behaviour and personality patterns indicates a need to seek help. Understanding normal forgetfulness can help us adjust more gracefully to the challenges of healthy aging. We need to give ourselves and our loved ones more time to recall events, names, and words as we age, because “normal” recall can take longer. Knowing that can help us plan to build in extra time for certain events or tasks.

http://www.nia.nih.gov/health/publication/forgetfulness

http://www.patient.co.uk/health/Memory-Loss-and-Dementia

http://www.ehow.com/about_5137621_causes-forgetfulness.html#ixzz32X7tjZtD

http://psychcentral.com/lib/when-to-worry-about-forgetfulness/00013100

Mr F

The benefit of asking questions.

By on 04 28, 2014 in communication

I recently attended a couple of ‘Hackathon’ events hosted by AgeUK. I had never heard of one before, so was interested to find out what happens. My interpretation of a Hackathon is an event in which computer programmers and others collaborate on projects to find innovative solutions to shared challenges. With the events that I attended, a major emphasis was on involving the end user, or beneficiary, to identify these challenges and involve them in coming up with solutions.

I was lucky enough to have the opportunity to speak to a couple of people, who were over 50 and fitted the end user profile, about how the lives of the over 50s could be improved by using technology. I discovered many interesting things which reinforced my notion that no two people are the same, and different people use technology in different ways, however, if you find a solution that helps one person, it is likely to benefit many, many more.

One discovery effected me most of all. During our discussions, we looked at solutions already available, things which had already been invented to bridge a gap and make life easier. One of these was the folding walking stick. Not only was it able to fit in your bag, but it came in a range of FUN and INTERESTING colours.

Hold on: fun, interesting, colourful? Those hadn’t been on my list of requirements, but why not. We don’t reach a certain age and say “oh well, now I must be serious and only buy things which are dull, functional and fit a purpose”. It might just be me, but sometimes we can look at problems in society and put our fix on them, decide how we want to solve the challenges and think we know best. We must make sure we ask those that we are helping. This will enable them to feel included, and ensure that we find answers that not only fix problems, but are also wanted.

Laughter

Audiobook

The benefits of audio services

Audio books can be used to increase the pleasure and learning of many people in society, and have been found to have many benefits. They can be used to introduce students to books above their reading level, model good interpretive reading, and provide access to subjects and literature while on the go. Audio books can additionally help to reduce loneliness.

Listening to audio books can open up whole new worlds, and bring stories to life for people who may have failing eyesight, or find it difficult to sit, hold and read a book. You can become engrossed in a whole new world. The sense of achievement that can be experienced by learning a new subject or the joy of getting wrapped up in how your favourite character will develop. These feelings can be addictive, a welcome distraction and wonderful company, enabling you to experience a raft of emotions and feelings as you journey along with your new companions.

Listening Books is a charity that provides audiobooks to people across the UK who find it difficult or impossible to read due to illness or disability. Find out more here

It is not only books. Newspapers and magazines can also be provided in audio format. Being able to connect to the world, hear what is going on and keep up to date with current issues and good news stories helps us to feel connected and feel less isolated.

The Royal National Institute of Blind People (RNIB) offers several reading services, giving access to books, newspapers and magazines in a variety of different formats. RNIB benefits a wide range of audiences, find out more here

Audio books are available in a number of different media including cassette tape, CD, mp3 downloads and can also be found at local libraries, as well as to buy in most bookshops.

Audiobook

Goal Setting

By on 04 14, 2014 in Health and Wellbeing

Goals

It can be difficult to sit and think about what we actually want from life, and it is sometimes easier to stay with what we know and within what we feel comfortable. Goal setting can be a personal way of helping you to realise where you want to go in life, and achieve the things you want, turning your (possibly unknown) desires and dreams into reality.

Goals can be as big or as small as you want, however this works better if the goals are realistic. You can have a completely different list for ‘win the lottery’. We can look at that another week!

It may be your goal to meet more people. In order to achieve this, we would need to identify the steps needed to reach this end goal. They may be:

1. To check if there is a local book group

2. Find out when and where they are meeting

3. Plan how to get to the location on time

4. Speak to at least 2 people before you leave at the end of the evening

All of these steps are achievable with a little planning, and in case you get cold feet, give yourself a deadline.  This is a very simple example, and goals will be very specific to you and what you want for life. Some of you may want to go on a tour of the world, or become a famous writer and it’s important to know that even the biggest of goals can be broken down into smaller achievable steps.

The key is taking the time to think about where you are and where you want to be, and then you can work out how to get there. Having your goals written down is a big part of achieving them. You can monitor progress, amend them depending on any changes in circumstances, and check off your steps as you complete them.

In last week’s blog we looked at writing to your future self, and this can be a great way of keeping track of your goals. You can write down your goals for the future in a letter to yourself and re-open it in a 1, 5 or 10 years time. There is even a website that will send you your typed letter by e-mail whenever you choose: http://www.futureme.org/  

So why not have a go at some goal setting – you never know where you might end up!

 

 

 

Links to useful websites

By on 03 10, 2014 in loneliness

There is some amazing work going on to reduce and end loneliness. Here are some websites that you may find useful. 

www.campaigntoendloneliness.org: The Campaign to End Loneliness is a network of national, regional and local organisations and people working together through community action, good practice, research and policy to create the right conditions to reduce loneliness in later life.   

www.royalvoluntaryservice.org.uk: Royal Voluntary Service wants to help create a society where everyone feels valued and involved whatever their age. They have over 40,000 volunteers who help older people stay active, independent and able to continue to contribute to society. They do this by providing practical and emotional help where and when it’s needed.  

www.ageuk.org.uk: Age UK believe in a world where everyone can love later life and is here to inspire, enable and support older people to help people make the most of later life.  

www.jrf.org.uk: The Joseph Rowntree Foundation wants lasting change for people and places in poverty, communities where everyone can thrive and a more equal society. Now and for future generations. 

www.mygeingparent.com: A website aimed at helping you to help your  elderly parent, older friend or relative. Packed full of information, it is a proactive site, which helps you find the answers to all the questions you might have.  

www.contact-the-elderly.org.uk: National charity Contact the Elderly organises free monthly Sunday afternoon tea parties for small groups of older people aged 75 and over, who live alone. Contact the Elderly recruits volunteer drivers, hosts and group coordinators to arrange the teas.   

www.generationboomer.co.uk: with a range of products, tips, news and advice all aimed at helping you stay independent, productive and confident you can cope with whatever life throws at you.  

 www.silversunday.org.uk : Held on the first Sunday of October, Silver Sunday is a celebration of older residents and their contribution to communities. Through a variety of free activities we are offering people over 65 a chance to keep active in body and spirit, try new things, meet their neighbours and, ultimately, overcome loneliness. 208 days to go! 

www

 

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