Top women in 50s join “Age of Possibility” campaign

A group of fifty high profile women over 50 has been assembled by television retail giant QVC in the US as it turbocharges efforts to engage older women. They include the former tennis star and Wimbledon champion Billie Jean King and lifestyle guru Martha Stewart. The initiative stems from a YouGov poll showing only 31% of 50+ women “felt supported by brands and 62% of those aged 50-70 feel that society viewed life after 50 as a time of decline. The company said its “Age of Possibility” campaign was designed to help women over 50 “seize what’s next from a life stage that is too often ignored and under supported by mainstream brands”. It aimed to reflect 50+ “for what is really is: a vibrant stage of life, full of new questions, changes, opportunities and hopes”. Other big names in its “Quintessential 50” group include  those of music stars Petti LaBelle and Queen Latifah, and actor Christina Applegate.

(Image by Jonathan Exley via Wikimedia Commons)

Election manifesto for silvers launched

A silver manifesto for the winners of the coming General election has been launched by Age UK. The charity calls for income security through tetenion of the pension triple lock, a reliable NHS enabling older people to see their GP quickly, get treatment “within a reasonable timescale” and decent long term care when needed – plus a long term plan to seize the opportunities and tackle the challenges of an ageing population. It says older people’s voices should be heard when big decisions that affect them are taken. The manifesto has been drawn up on the basis of widespread polling among over-50s and input from 16,700 online campaigners. As a country, it says, “we are yet to fully grasp the realities of an ageing population, or take the steps required to fully realise the benefits”, arguing that publication of a White Paper – or similar mechanic” – on the topic is long overdue. And it notes that “we cannot continue to discount all tht the over-50s offer in the workplace and beyond. It’s not fair and it’s a criminal waste of talent and experience at the time when out economy is stuttering and every contribution counts. Ageism is holding many older people back and needs tackling once and for all”.

How to pick an age inclusive employer

Five tips for spotting whether a potential employer is silver friendly have been listed by Restless, the online  over-50s community. Its first warning, though it is not alone in highlighting the problem, is insensitivity to the need for an age inclusive job description. Does it use terms such as “digital native” or “highly energetic” – or “tech savvy”, which it believes also puts off younger workers? On the other hand does it simply set out the knowledge and skills needed? The advice also suggests noting whether the firm’s 0lder employees are represented on its website or via its social media and checking whether itoffers age relevant initiatives such a menopause support, flexible working and “midlife MOT programmes”. Rest Less chief executive Stuart Lewis says: “We work with a range of different organisations who are in the process of revising their workplace benefits, policies and hiring practices to ensure they are inclusive of all age groups. It’s becoming commonplace for age-inclusive organisations to offer robust policies on menopause, support for individuals who need to care for their own parents – and not just their children – flexible working options for all employees, equal access to training opportunities alongside many other age inclusive initiatives. We are calling on organisations who are not yet intentionally embracing age in their teams to get in touch to find out how they can maximise the enormous talent opportunity lying right in front of us.”




Consistent walking sharpens silver minds – study

It’s less how much exercise you do – but how consistently you do it. The latest of a seemingly endless welter of research into fitness and age found the brain may stay sharper if you do the same amount each day. Participants in the ten week study – yet further evidence suggesting the  marketing of walking gear to silvers should pay dividends – were over 55, cognitively healthy and fre from significant health issues. It found that taking the same number of steps each day, rather than increasing the total, improved reaction time and flexibility of thinking.

Pam Ayres, kitten on the keys – at 77

Pam Ayres says she finds it “quite amusing” that she’s 77 – “because I don’t feel any different from the way I did in my 20s. Something of a reminder, that, to younger people tempted to write off those in the years of mellow fruitfulness. On Good Friday, Pam Ayres revealed to viewers of Channel 4’s Countdown that she was learning to play the piano, wishing she’d done it much earlier and confessing – in a memorable line of verse of course – that she might “slaughter Stravinsky”. In a new interview with the Press Association she says she’s picky now about TV appearances: “I’ve been asked to do Strictly but I look like a shire horse so I don’t want to do that”. She keeps fit walking and tries no to worry about getting older because she’s having such a good time.

(Accompanying image courtesy Roger Green via Wikimedia Commons)

International silver B2B festival is our partner

From age discrimination to the way giant companies are focussing on emerging silver markets, a wide sweep of topics is on the agenda for the latest international SilverEco & Ageing Well International Festival, to be staged in Cannes (pictured) in September. Players in the silver economy and demographic changes will meet to exchange ideas at networking sessions. Experts will speak on senior issues such as the problems of care and carers, and the challenges around older people and employment. Themes will cover the role of technology in the ethical enhancement of later lives and moves by major corporations to tailor consumer products. Plus the winners of the Great Gala SilverEco Awards will be revealed. The Silver Marketing Association is partnering with the organisers.

Can I live to 100?

What are the chances, age wise,  of scoring a century? Is it too late at 60 to undo decades of beer and barbecues? Those are the questions posed by Phil Daoust, who is about to chart his progress in a new Guardian column “Fit for Ever”. To kick off, he went for a health MOT, and while he had already started running regularly, eating healthily, and had renounced heavy drinking, was shocked to be told there were indications he  had “mild first degree heartblock” (the good news on later advice from a cardiologist was that the rhythmic abnormality detected was “a normal variant” and didn’t warrant further investigation”). He asked the doctor who examined him originally – “and spent 60 minutes discussing my physical and mental health” – how long he could expect to live. “Into your mid to late 80s, came the “underwhelming ” reply. And how much of that time would be healthy? “I’ve had 70 year olds here doing the Ironman”.  One man’s experiences hardly add up to a statistical survey, of course, but from a marketing viewpoint his reports should represent those of a growing army of silvers.

One in seven retirees back at work

One in seven (14%) UK retirees have returned to work, according to the latest resarch from Standard Life. The proportion of men who have already “unretired” (16%) or are considering doing so (5%) is higher than that of women (12% and 4%). Nearly two thirds (64%) of over 55s who have gone back to work cite income issues as the driving force. Almost one third of them (32%) say prices have risen more sharply than they anticipated. However, roughly the same number (31%) simply want to boost their finances in order to squeeze more enjoyment from their retirement.

Surge in silver start up loans

Start up loans to silver entrepreneurs have surged since the pandemic, according to the Government owned British Business Bank. The bank’s start up programme has provided a total of more than  £140m to over-50s since its launch in 2012, at an average of £10,427 per business. Nearly half of that amount (£64m) has been loaned since the first Covid lockdown. Recipients, who also get free mentoring and support, have included 54-year old Eduardo Barreto, founder of Bermondsey based Boy Next Door Productions, whose £10,000 loan helped him develop his theatre business. It is funding and productions including Tennesee Williams Rose Tattoo, scheduled to open in April at London’s Arcola Theatre. Mr Barreto said: “I founded the company four years ago, but it had a slow start due to a health incident. Now that I’m well again, the funding has enabled me to get back to doing what I love most – producing successful shows. It wasn’t only the loan that was important to me, however – Start Up Loans introduced me to Giuseppe, my business mentor and my rock. I wouldn’t have succeeded in my application without him, so I am eternally grateful. To anyone else of a similar age thinking about starting their own business, my advice would be to find something you are passionate about and go for it. Keep your left foot in dream world and your right foot in the real world and you’ll find the balance needed to succeed.”

Jobless silvers rue waste of talent

The all too frequent reluctance of companies to recruit experienced workers bounced out of jobs in their 50s or 60s has been highlighted by BBC Radio 4’s Today programme. In the later of two interviews 61 years old Sheila Hooper told Amol Rajan that after being made redundant from her position in the financial service sector she had applied for “hundreds of jobs – and very often I am one of hundreds of people applying for those jobs”. She had since self funded some research on “hot topics” such as customer loyalty and sustainability so had “kept really current”. The problem was probably a mix of ageism and sexism, but she also felt that “people think that age is catching”.