Author Archives: Age UK

Healthy ageing: a vision of the future?

On the International Day of Older Persons the World Health Organisation (WHO) has published a new ‘World Report on Ageing and Health’. Here Ken Bluestone, who leads Age International’s policy and influencing work, looks at the findings from the report. 

An astonishing transformation is taking place that has until now been absent from mainstream development thinking: global ageing. Its absence is even more surprising as the evidence makes clear that demographic changes are affecting developing countries the most.

Currently about one in ten of the population is aged 60 or over; but within a generation – 2050 – this ratio will soar to one in five.  Two-thirds of the 868 million older people alive today are in developing countries; and of the 2 billion people expected to be over the age of 60 by 2050, over three-quarters will live in low and middle-income countries. The rate of change is phenomenal.

What we do with this information will determine whether this new reality is something to welcome or be feared. This is why the World Health Organisation’s new ‘World Report on Ageing and Health’ released today on the International Day of Older Persons is so important. Its message is clear: celebrate our longer lives; invest in older people; but most importantly – be prepared. Continue reading

How music can help people living with dementia


Our first blog of the week looks at how music can be used as a way to help care for and support people living with dementia. It was contributed by Doctor Victoria Williamson, Director of Music and Wellbeing, at the University of Sheffield. 

Music is powerful, multi-functional, ageless and universal: one of the greatest human inventions.

You will, no doubt, know music that instantly transports you back in time to a treasured memory. Lyrics pop automatically to your mind. You remember music from decades ago but struggle with the names of people you met just days before.

Psychological studies support these anecdotal accounts of the power of music in long-term memory. Individuals who face extreme challenges to their memory, such as amnesia or dementia, rarely lose these musical connections.

I run the ‘Music and Wellbeing’ research unit at the University of Sheffield and for the last year my team has been looking at the impacts of live music sessions in dementia care*. Nine South Yorkshire care homes opened their doors to us and we recorded remarkable moments between the community of individuals living with dementia, their carers and loved ones, and the visiting musicians. Continue reading

Closing the gender pay gap

This week’s blog was contributed by Joanne Sawyer, Policy Adviser, at Age UK.  

Whilst older women are a vital force in today’s workplaces, they tend to fare poorly in the labour market.  They are more likely than men to be in lower paid, lower skilled, insecure or part time work and to have had one or more periods out of the labour market (such as to care for children or older relatives).

We are pleased that the Government is currently looking into how to support women throughout their working lives.  It is proposing to require larger employees (of which Age UK is one) to report their gender pay gap (i.e. the percentage gap between men and women’s pay within their organisation).

For women under the age of 40, there is reason to be cheerful as the gender pay gap has broadly disappeared.  But for those in their 40s and beyond, the picture is far less rosy.  Women working full time in their 40s or those aged over 60 earn nearly 14% less than men.  And women in their 50s earn 18% less than men, the highest of any working age group.

Not only is the gender pay gap significant during a women’s working life, but it affects her financial security, such as her pension, in later life.

Age UK believes that publishing gender pay gap information will help to shine a light on women’s lower pay throughout their working lives and their financial wellbeing in retirement.  However, publishing information alone will not be enough, unless the Government and employers focus on the reasons for the pay gap and how to address them. Continue reading

Guest blog: Changing the way health and care is delivered

Older people chatting

This is the first in a series of blogs on Age UK’s Integrated Care Programme. Here Kelly from Age UK’s ‘Living Well’ integrated care service in Portsmouth talks about the difference it’s making to older people’s lives.

A new service is changing the way health and care is delivered in Portsmouth.

‘Living Well’ is an integrated care service which sees Age UK Portsmouth working with the NHS Portsmouth Clinical Commissioning Group, Portsmouth City Council, Solent NHS Trust and Portsmouth Hospitals NHS Trust. Together our aim is to support older people to lead a more fulfilling life.

The service is targeted at people over the age of 50 with multiple long-term health conditions who have found themselves going in and out of hospital.

We have a great team here working on the service, full of staff and volunteers who want to enable some of the most vulnerable people to become more independent and fulfil their goals in life. We have already had some amazing successes with the people we have worked alongside so far. Continue reading