More choice for pension savers, but will the products follow?

Scrabble pieces spelling 'ANNUITY'Last week George Osborne confirmed the Government’s intention to implement the surprise tax changes he announced in the Budget in March. At the same time the Government and the Financial Conduct Authority have set out more detail on what guidance will be available to people to help them make their choices at retirement.

Continue reading “More choice for pension savers, but will the products follow?”

Tackling witchcraft accusations in Tanzania

Tanzanian womanThis blog post is from Natalie Idehen, Communications Manager at Age UK. Natalie is undertaking a three-month secondment with HelpAge Tanzania.

In Tanzania between 2005 and 2011, approximately 500 older people were murdered due to suspicions that they were witches. Worryingly, these numbers are increasing.

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How good design can help people with sight loss and dementia

Lighting in drawer
Lighting in drawers can help older people to navigate their homes

This is a guest blog from Sue Cooper, media advisor at Thomas Pocklington Trust. Sue shares with us new insights into how to improve the independence of people with dementia and sight loss.

New advice was published last month on ways to make our homes – whether private homes or care homes – easier and safer to live in for older people. Continue reading “How good design can help people with sight loss and dementia”

Ageing policy in 2013/14 – curate’s egg or turning point?

DorothyAge UK has just published its annual overview of how public policy is meeting the needs of our ageing population, Agenda for later life 2014. It reveals that the answer is a bit of a curate’s egg: parts of it are excellent, my lord. Continue reading “Ageing policy in 2013/14 – curate’s egg or turning point?”

Financial resilience in later life

An older couple cycling through the countrysideYesterday, Age UK launched a new report, Financial resilience in later life, which calls for regular financial check-ups for the retired and people approaching pension age. Age UK believes that these check-ups are critical to help the growing number of people aged 60 and over navigate later life.

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The Care Act

This blog was contributed by Angela Kitching, joint Head of Public Affairs, at Age UK

The Care Bill’s conclusion in May brought to an end years of reports, commissions and draft Bills intended to turn a patchwork system of social care legislation into an adequate legal underpinning.

As a result of these changes there should be real improvement, such as:

But this is not the end of the journey for social care – it must be the foundation on which improvements to the system as a whole are laid.

Critically, funding for social care now falls so far short of what is needed to meet demand that many of the provisions in the Care Act, such as support for carers or a system aiming to focus on aspiration rather than need.

These necessary aims cannot be realised unless more money is made available. Coupled with increasing numbers of older people and younger disabled adults needing care, politicians of all stripes must now take steps to adequately fund social care services.

In the long term without this investment, we will not save money, we will merely shunt costs onto emergency care services, more expensive types of residential care and onto overstretched family carers who may be forced to leave their jobs, possibly becoming ill themselves, in order to manage their family’s care crisis. Continue reading “The Care Act”

Missing out under new pensions rules

Pound coinsMargaret (not her real name) has been married for over 30 years. She worked part-time for many years but this work was low paid, and only during teaching terms, so she never built up her record of NI contributions.

During periods of unemployment Margaret did not claim benefits (and therefore credits which would have counted towards her NI record) because her husband was working. Margaret gave up work to look after her husband when he became chronically ill to help him remain working for as long as possible.

They felt they could manage without claiming carer’s benefits (which again would have protected her NI record), but when he did eventually have to give up work as his condition worsened they made sure that he claimed incapacity benefit, purely so that his NI contributions—and therefore, they thought, Margaret’s pension—would be protected.

Margaret’s husband will reach pension age under the present system, with a full contribution record, which they were always promised would also cover Margaret. However at 59 Margaret finds that the pension she had relied upon will no longer exist.

Continue reading “Missing out under new pensions rules”