Smart energy for all

Just over a month ago, Smart Energy GB published a consultation paper as part of its work to support the roll-out of smart meters in an inclusive and engaging manner.

In ‘Smart energy for all’, Smart Energy GB set out what it has learned from research about the potential difficulties which might challenge the programme amongst some sections of the population, and what it does not know and where it would welcome more evidence.

The consultation paper is thorough and comprehensive. The point is that here we have, within the next five years, the opportunity to really change the way the British public thinks about and uses energy, and we ought to get it right from the start.

What about older people 

Older households make up a third of the national total. We know that older households see advantages in understanding more about their energy use, so that they can use it with confidence to keep adequately warm, without worrying about unwelcome and unexpected bills.

The end of estimated bills, and the ending of meter readers’ visits, will be applauded.   But can the simple process of installing a new meter and a domestic meter display unit help older people to take maximum advantage from the new technology?   Continue reading

Queen’s Speech 2015

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There were few surprises in this year’s Queen’s Speech which sets out the Government’s to do list for this parliament.  As always, we await further details as the full Bills and proposals are published.  A number of welcome plans were announced, mostly representing a continuation of promises made before the General Election –increasing investment into the NHS by £8bn a year by 2020, a seven-day NHS and increased integration of health and social care.

The Government also reconfirmed its manifesto commitment to maintain the triple lock for the basic state pension for the remainder of this Parliament, and to continue to protect Winter Fuel Payments, free bus passes, TV licences and free prescriptions for pensioners. Continue reading

Testing times for older drivers?

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On 26 June, Age UK is supporting a free conference at the Mobility Roadshow looking at how we can improve road safety for older drivers. Joe Oldman, Age UK’s Consumer and Community Policy Advisor, explains the current issues in the older driver debate. 

For many of us, continuing to drive as we get older is essential – a car may determine our ability to remain active and independent. The thought of having to give up driving can be distressing, especially in places where alternative forms of transport are limited or non-existent.

Challenging the myths about older drivers

With an increase in older drivers, there is growing concern about the implications for road safety.  Media coverage about older drivers and safety can be unhelpful or even insulting – dealing in lazy stereotypes rather than considering the evidence. The vast majority of older drivers, with many years of experience, are often safer than younger drivers. Those drivers aged 75 and over make up 6% of all licence holders, but account for just 4.3% of all deaths and serious injuries on the road. By contrast, drivers aged 16-20 make up just 2.5% of all drivers but 13% of those killed and seriously injured.

Continue reading

Guest blog: Long-term care and support- how does it work in the US?

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Age UK has been sharing a series of guest blogs with the AARP Public Policy Institute. Our latest post comes from Donald L. Redfoot, Senior Strategic Policy Advisor. AARP is a nonprofit, nonpartisan organisation, with a membership of more than 37 million older people across the USA.

Even experts find it challenging to understand the United States’ fragmented system of providing long-term services and supports (LTSS) to older adults and people with disabilities. Those who need services are often utterly baffled. The following discussion is designed to help international observers comprehend US public policies designed to support people with LTSS needs. Continue reading