Centre for Ageing Better Newsletter – Lots of good reading!

How can we use design to innovate in the healthy ageing sector?

For some of the start-up and scale-up projects currently working in the Healthy Ageing domain, embedding design effectively in the development of their products and services is crucial for their future success.

This report, from Ageing Better, UKRI and Creative Venue, describes the key insights and learnings from a programme of activity rolled out to increase the understanding of design amongst solution providers in the healthy ageing market.

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Click on the headings below to quickly access each section:

Fulfilling work

Learning in late career stages in Europe – gendered effects of retirement policies

Melesk K, Ageing and Society, 41 (10) October 2021

This study, conducted across 26 European countries including the UK, suggests that the chances of women participating in later mid-life learning is higher in those countries where the retirement age is higher. However, for men, retirement age alone is not a statistically significant factor. The study also finds that men aged over 50 with lower levels of education are at particular risk of labour market exclusion.

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Do aging employees benefit from self-regulative strategies?

Mauno S, Minkkinen J, Research on Aging, 43 (9-10) October-December 2021

Selecting, optimising, and compensating (SOC) strategies are said to be important self-regulative resources, predicting wellbeing, health, and stress adaptation. This study explores whether employees use SOC strategies differently at different ages and whether age moderates the relationships between SOC strategies and wellbeing.

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Pensions and finance

Scheme funding analysis 2021

The Pensions Regulator – July 2021

This is the 2021 update to The Pensions Regulator’s (TPR) annual funding statistics for UK defined benefit (DB) and hybrid schemes.

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Homes, neighbourhoods and communities

Age-friendly cities and communities – a review and future directions

Torku A et al, Ageing and Society, 41 (10) October 2021

Age-friendly cities and communities are an area of increasing research interest, particularly in the UK, Canada, the USA and Hong Kong. This review of research identifies four main themes – ‘conceptualisation’, ‘implementation and development’, ‘assessment’ and ‘challenges and opportunities’. It suggests that future considerations should include ‘older adults as place-makers’ and how to ‘maximise the participation of older adults’ in research.

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Care and support

National disability strategy

Department for Work and Pensions – July 2021

This strategy sets out the actions the government will take to improve the everyday lives of all disabled people. In this publication, departments and agencies in every corner of government set out how they will help bring about practical and lasting change to disabled people’s lives.

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A group-based walking study to enhance physical activity among older adults

Liu Y, Lachman M E, Research on Aging, 43 (9-10) October-December 2021

Does social interaction and engagement help promote physical activity in older age? This randomised study compares older people who used an app to record their activity with a similar group who both record the activity and share their experiences in a group. The group who share their experiences engage in greater physical activity both during and after the trial.

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Elderspeak in acute hospitals? – The role of context, cognitive and functional impairment

Schnabel E-L et al, Research on Aging, 43 (9-10) October-December 2021

‘Elderspeak’ is difficult to define. It includes simplifications, diminutives, ‘speaking down’ and the use of collective pronouns and familiarities. For example ‘How are we feeling today dear?’. This German study finds that functional impairment in a patient may be a stronger trigger for this stereotypical reaction from hospital staff than cognitive impairment.

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Health and wellbeing

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The Mercers’ Company – June 2021

This research, commissioned by Independent Age, aims to understand the experience of befriending during the COVID-19 pandemic and to identify lessons for the future.

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Wider impacts of COVID-19 on physical activity, deconditioning and falls in older adults

Public Health England – August 2021

This report looks at how the wider impacts of COVID-19 have affected people over 65, with a focus on deconditioning and falls. The report also summarises recommendations aimed at mitigating these impacts and improving older adult mental and physical health

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Impact of COVID-19 on older people’s mental and physical health: one year on

Age UK – July 2021

This research finds that lockdowns, social distancing measures and loss of routines and support – as well as limited access to services to manage pre-existing or newly emerged health conditions – mean millions of older people had seen their physical health and function decline.

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Health and socio-economic inequalities by sexual orientation among older women in the United Kingdom

Bécares L, Ageing and Society, 41 (10) October 2021

This UK study of older women, using data from ‘Understanding Society’, compares older openly LGBTQ women, heterosexual women and LGBTQ women who prefer not to disclose their sexuality. Findings include that openly LGBTQ women are generally younger and wealthier than their heterosexual counterparts but much more likely to engage in harmful alcohol consumption. Older LGBTQ women who hide their sexuality are on average older, less well off and have worse physical and mental health.

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