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Medway

AGE UK MAGAZINE SUMMER 2013

Arthritis warning for women smokers

Pensions The pitfalls and changes…things you need to know

Let’s talk

about money

Age UK Medway is blazing a trail with it’s information and advice service

Top tips for older drivers

Driving is a way to maintain our independence and freedom. SIMON’S EVEREST CHALLENGE + IS HOLLYWOOD GROWING UP? + PUZZLE PAGE + MUCH MORE


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16 Contents List Summer 2013 European breaks for food lovers............. 6

Food festivals have become a wonderfull reason for taking a break in recent years.

Let’s talk about money............... 6 Age UK Medway is blazing a trail with it’s information and advice service.

The Capstone Centre, our pride and joy..............9 Early April this year saw the completion of a brand new

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Is Hollywood finally growing up?.......14

service at Age UK Medway.

Emmanuelle Riva, 85 is the oldest ever winner of a BAFTA.

Top tips for older drivers............10

Arthritis warning for women smokers.............15

Driving is a way to maintain our independance and freedom.

Have you ever wondered how a charity was run, or thought you could do a better job?... .11

Age UK Medway is run accordinglyto the Charity Commission Standards of Good Practice.

Smokers are more likely to develop Arthritis than non smokers.

Pensions the pitfalls and changes.....16 Latest news about pensions.

Boosting the skills of the charity with fresh eyes..............19

Puzzle page.....................20 Exercise the brain cells and test your knowledge

Recipe page.................21 Tickle your tastebuds and lets get baking.

Simon’s Everest challenge.................. 22

61 year old Simon Knighton is climbing Mount Everest this year to raise £100.000 for Age UK and his local school.

5 ways to cut your chance of diabetes... 23

www.ageuk.org.uk/medway


Welcome,

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Medway

from the CEO

Welcome to the 1st edition of Age UK Medway’s bi-annual magazine, Engage. We hope that the magazine will prove to be an excellent way to keep in touch with our clients, supporters and stakeholders.

Cover Image © Age UK

Meet the team… Editor

John Norley Tel: 01634 572616 Email: johnnorley@ ageukmedway.org.uk

Age UK Medway

The Mackenney Centre Woodlands Road Gillingham, Kent ME72BX

Designer

Rowena Wilson Email: rowena@ lancepublishing.co.uk

Sales Manager

Laurence Rowe Tel: 01536 526679 Email: laurence@ lancepublishing.co.uk

Publisher

Lance Publishing Ltd 1st Floor Tailby House Bath Road Kettering NN16 8NL Tel: 01536 512624 Fax: 01536 515481 Email: mike@ lancepublishing.co.uk www.lancepublishing.co.uk

Printer

Lance Print Ltd Tel: (01480) 492183

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This magazine is produced on behalf of Age UK Medway by Lance Publishing Ltd. All rights are reserved by the charity and no part of this publication may be reproduced in whole or in part without the written permission of the charity. Age UK Medway will accept no responsibility for, or necessarily agree with, any claims made or views expressed in this publication, nor does the mention of any product, service or advertisement imply a recommendation by Age UK Medway. Reg. Charity No. 1133023

suppor ting older people for over 50 years

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e hope to produce the magazine twice a year initially, moving toward three editions per year. Throughout the magazine, you will see a number of helpful advertisements for local tradesmen and services which we think may be relevant to you, as well as a host of other information from Age UK Medway about its services, staff and volunteers. We hope you enjoy the magazine, and hope that you will feel able to tell us about what you have found useful, or what you think could be included in the future. Our services in Medway stretch across all of the Medway towns, and are offered either in our centres or in the community, within peoples own homes. Through our services, we hope to ensure that the older people of Medway are supported to remain in their own homes for as long as possible, and ensure that things like social isolation, falls and hospital admissions are avoided. Through the magazine, we will introduce services, key members of our staff team and provide some tea break quizzes and puzzles, but most importantly keep a channel of communication open about your local charity.

If there is something you want to know about Age UK Medway, I hope that you will find it here in our magazine, or at the very least, find a helpful way to contact us, so that we can answer your questions. Biography – John Norley has been the Chief Executive Officer of Age UK Medway since February 2012. Before joining the charity, John had worked for over 12 years within a number of national charities supporting a range of people, through many different types of charitable activity, including social housing, sports health and fitness, children’s services and International work. John commented, “I am delighted to be working for Age UK Medway, a charity with a real commitment to the older people of Medway which is locally focussed. It really is a pleasure to work with and on behalf of such a dynamic group of people, who, though often facing a number of challenges in their later lives, prove that experience and knowledge are treasures that we should all cherish and strive to maintain. I hope that the services we offer in Medway do exactly that in so many ways. In the short time I have been in the leadership role here, I have been constantly astounded by the commitment of our staff, and the positive comments and compliments that come back from our customers. As a chief executive, you can’t really ask for much more than that”.

SUMMER 2013 | 5


European breaks for food lovers Food festivals have become a wonderful reason for taking a break in recent years. And while we have wonderful examples of these festivals in the UK, there are also some gems to be found elsewhere in Europe.

Let’s talk

about money

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Set out on a gastronomic tour of Ireland For a taste of Irish cuisine and hospitality, you can take an escorted tour around Wicklow, Cork, Galway or Connemara. You can choose from a one-day tour or longer two and three day tours. On your tour, you’ll get the chance to meet the local farmers, beekeepers and cheese makers. And, of course, there’ll be plenty of opportunities to try the local and seasonal produce. Visit www.discoverireland.ie for more information on holidays to Ireland.

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Age UK Medway is blazing a trail with its information and advice service. Our two staff and small group of volunteers are achieving record outcomes for Medway’s older people through their efforts to ensure that our customers are receiving every penny that they are entitled to.

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oo often we are hearing tales of older people making very difficult choices in life, some forfeiting food, so they can switch on the heating, or staying at home alone, because they cannot afford to come out and socialise. Between September 2012 and March 2013, Our Information and Advice team worked to improve the disposable income for our customers by a massive £117,500 per year. That money will be there for those people every year, for as long as they need it, which is really good news. A further £89,000 is

well on its way too, through more efforts to help complete forms and applications for benefits and grants. The Information and Advice team is based across two of Age UK Medway’s centres, one at Gillingham, and the other at Strood, so customers are able to call in for advice, or make an appointment for an advisor to call at their home. Advice can be given on a range of issues, including welfare benefits, housing, safeguarding and access to community care. As well as face to face advice, we are able to provide a range of materials for reference, and these are available as hard copy publications or through our website www.ageuk. org.uk/ medway

If you are worrying about how to prioritise your money, or wondering how you will pay your winter fuel bill, please don’t. Get in touch with our team and find out if we can help. Our advisors will take care of the form filling if you have difficulty, and help you to navigate the processes of applying for grants and benefits to ensure you are receiving everything you are entitled to.

To find out more

about our Information and advice service, call 01634 572616

© Robert Kneschke / shutterstock

ake a French cookery course in Lyon. France is famous for its cuisine and there’s no better way to learn about it than taking a cookery course. Lyon has many famous wines and recipes, so is the perfect place to discover many of France’s cooking traditions. You can take a course in general French cookery, pastry and baking, or specialise in chocolate-making. In some centres you can combine your cookery classes with French language lessons. Class sizes tend to be small, meaning you’ll get a lot of personal attention and support as you learn. And you’ll be likely to stay in a chateau in the beautiful French countryside, so this is a must for Francophiles! Visit uk.franceguide.com for more information on French holidays.

www.ageuk.org.uk/medway


The Britannia Theatre

(Dickens World)

PROUDLY PRESENTS

TIME FOR TEA THE ULTIMATE IN MUSIC HALL ENTERTAINMENT

29th May - 3.00pm Real British Theatrical Entertainment! Enjoy a mixture of comedy and popular songs of yesteryear; live in the Britannia Theatre Victorian Music Hall. Singing some of the most well remembered and best loved songs from our unforgettable history. Followed by a VIP guided tour around Dickens World! A unique recreation of Victorian times and the life of Charles Dickens.

Tickets only ÂŁ15.50 Ticket includes afternoon tea and scones with cucumber sandwiches.

Quote Age UK at the time of booking to receive a FREE mystery souvenir!

For availability and to book, please call 0844 858 6656 or visit www.dickensworld.co.uk


Digital Design Sales and Marketing Contract Publishing

Branding Solutions

PRODUCTION Lance Publishing Ltd 1st Floor, Tailby House, Bath Rd, Kettering, NN16 8NL Tel: 01536 521126 Fax: 01536 515481 Email: studio@lancepublishing.co.uk www.lancepublishing.co.uk

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The Capstone Centre

our pride and joy Early April this year saw the completion of three months solid work by Age UK Medway’s senior staff team to open a brand new service.

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he Capstone Centre, located in Hopewell Drive, Chatham is our first centre based service dedicated to meeting the needs of those customers who are affected with the symptoms of Dementia and other memory conditions. Dementia, and other conditions affecting memory is the fastest growing need amongst the older population of our country today. The condition can very debilitating, and can cause those affected, and their cares and loved ones, a great deal of distress.

In the new centre, we offer a range of activities that are specifically designed for those with memory conditions. The activities can include cooking, crafts, outings, reminiscence, sports music and singing.

Working in small groups, with one member of care staff to every three customers, we can ensure that customers are continually engaged in activity and conversation that reduces anxiety and promotes the retention of skills and even develop new ones. We have taken care to ensure that everything in the building, and everything about the building itself takes customers’ needs into account. From furniture fabrics that reduce fall occasions to signs and equipment that assists those with memory conditions to recognise their functions. The centre is a quiet environment, where work groups are not disturbed by the general hubbub of a mainstream centre’s bingo caller or entertainer. We

suppor ting older people for over 50 years

cater a full two course hot meal each day, and provide dedicated transport to collect customers and return them home after a busy day. The centre was opened in response to our local authorities’ strategy for Older People, and we are positive it will be a roaring success. Already, the early signs are good, with customers proving that with time, care and activity, they can demonstrate their ability to engage in and enjoy a range of activities. The capstone centre uses a person centred approach to care and support that ensures that each individual can get the most from the service. Through regular communication with carers and loved ones, we can and do make adjustments to the activities to ensure our customers thrive.

For more information

about the Capstone Centre, contact the centre manager, Denise Barrett, on 01634 406058.

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Top tips for older drivers For many of us, driving is a way to maintain our independence 2. H  ave regular eye and freedom. However, negative stories in the media about and hearing tests older drivers lead some people to give up their cars too soon. If you’re prescribed

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n the other hand, some older people carry on driving even if they feel less able to do so, because they don’t like the idea of giving up or think they don’t have any alternative way of getting around. Our In the driving seat guide includes information about your legal obligations as a driver, tips on continuing to drive safely, and adaptations that can help with this. It also gives advice on alternative ways to get out and about, and explains what to do if you have any concerns about your driving, and how to decide when it’s time to stop. Download the guide now to find out more about driving safely for longer:

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Stay safe behind the wheel

There is no age at which you must legally stop driving. But when you reach the age of 70, and every 3 years after that, you’ll have to renew your licence. You’re also legally obliged to declare certain health conditions, although you won’t necessarily have to stop driving. Follow our tips to make sure you stay safe behind the wheel.

1. Declare your health conditions

If you’ve developed a health condition or disability, check whether it needs to be declared to the DVLA. Many people worry that they’ll be stopped from driving if they declare a condition, but vehicle adaptations may allow you to continue driving.

glasses for driving, make sure you wear them and ensure that your faculties are good enough to be safe on the road.

3. Maintain your car

Check your car regularly and take it for an annual MOT. If you’ve had the same car for a while, consider whether it’s still suitable for your needs.

4. Be comfortable

Drive only when you feel comfortable doing so Avoid driving in bad weather or at rush hour, for example, if it makes you feel anxious.

5. Read the Highway Code

It may have changed since you learnt to drive, so it’s worth refreshing your knowledge. Download it free from GOV. UK, or buy it from a bookshop.

6. Adapt your car

If you have a health condition or disability that makes it difficult to use your car’s controls, there’s a wide range of adaptations that can help.  Sometimes just upgrading to a newer model with power steering can make a world of difference.

7. Follow your instincts

It can be hard to accept when we’re no longer able to do something safely. However, if you feel that your reactions aren’t as sharp as they were, or your ability has deteriorated, you should consider whether it’s time to stop. Remember that an unsafe driver is a danger to their passengers, pedestrians, and other drivers, as well as to themselves. If your friends or relatives have concerns about your driving, think about whether they have a point and get a second opinion.

www.ageuk.org.uk/medway


Alternatives to driving vary from area to area, but it’s worth researching what’s available, particularly if you think you will need to stop driving soon. If you’re older or disabled you may be entitled to a free bus pass and discounted rail and coach travel. There may also be a community bus service, taxi token scheme, or dial-a-ride minibus service in your area. If you don’t qualify for the concessions, you may be concerned about the cost of public transport. Try adding up the amount you spend on car insurance, maintenance and petrol in a year, and you might find that using the alternatives works out the same, or cheaper, than running a car.

Have you ever wondered how a charity was run, or thought you could do a better job?

As a charity, Age UK Medway is run according to the charity commission standards of good practice, and reports annually to the commission about its objectives, plans and progress, as well as its financial health. But how do we do that, and how do we make sure our paid staff are getting it right?

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ell we have a board of Trustees, who have volunteered their time to provide the effective oversight of the charity, called Governance. Age UK Medway has a board of six people currently and they are hoping that some new people will join them in their role. Our trustees come from all walks of life and bring a range of technical skills and experience to the board to ensure that the Chief Executive Officer is supported and challenged in his role as the head of the organisation. We currently have up to four

suppor ting older people for over 50 years

vacancies for new trustees, and would ideally like to hear from people who have some background experience in one of the following areas; Charity law, Employment law and Human Resources, business development or fundraising. Of course if you have experience of managing services for older people, or general charity experience, you would also be very welcome. The responsibilities of a trustee are to ensure that the charity carries out its objectives and complies with all of the relevant legislation regarding charities and companies. The senior staff team assist trustees

by providing reports and guidance on particular issues, and will offer reports on key aspects like risk and finances for the trustees to scrutinise. Becoming a trustee of a charity is a great way to fill some spare time, and remain engaged in the community, especially if you have recently finished work but are keen to continue making a contribution. Our board meets 6 times a year, generally late afternoon for a couple of hours each meeting. A full resource pack of reports from the senior team is mailed out to trustees 10 days prior to the meeting to allow everyone to read and digest the information before the meeting, so everyone is enabled to make a contribution. Our trustees are also encouraged to visit our services from time to time and take part in our organisations social events.

If you feel that you could make a contribution to our governance, and would like to find out more about joining our board, contact the Chief Executive, John Norley for an informal discussion on 014631 572616

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Strood Community Project We’re looking for volunteers to help in the following roles: reception, Advice Centre staff, teaching members of the public how to use the internet and basic IT skills in our drop-in centres. Training and support will given in all these roles. It’s a chance to give something back; a chance to make a real difference to our neighbours who might be struggling with debt, housing, unemployment, etc; a chance to share your skills and knowledge; an opportunity to get out and be active; an opportunity to meet new people and make friends.

call: 01634 298747 web: www.stroodcommunityproject.org.uk email: stroodadvicecentre@gmail.com Reg.d Charity No. 1143225

Do you carry out any or all of these tasks for someone that could not manage their life without your help?

If so you are a carer

A carer is anyone who provides unpaid support to someone who would not manage their life without it. Carers can be of any age and may be looking after a relative, friend or neighbour. The person you care for may live with you or far away. They may have an illness, physical or learning disability, mental health or substance misuse issues, be elderly or frail. Carers FIRST in Kent & Medway can support you on a one to one basis through emotional support, information, advice, guidance, short breaks, training, groups, social events, benefits advice and more. Contact us on 0300 303 1555 to see if we can help you, you can email us at info@carersfirst.org.uk, get in touch via our website www.carersfirst.org.uk or find us at 3 Canterbury Street, Gillingham, ME7 5TP Registered Charity No 1085430


5 New Road Avenue Chatham Kent ME4-6AR

01634 - 830111

www.winch-winch.co.uk Home visits can be arranged where necessary Wills / Probate / Lasting Powers of Attorney / Contentious Probate The importance of a well-written Will cannot be overstressed. Wills can help manage your finances at the time of your death, but they can also protect your family. We tailor our Will writing to meet your personal financial circumstances, family commitments and possible taxation. If you already have a Will, we can help you review it to make sure it stays current as your life changes or evolves. You can appoint us as your Executors and Trustees of your will. As Executors we can identify your assets and have them valued, pay any outstanding debts, claim the benefits or exemptions and, if applicable, release from inheritance tax, and thereafter pay the beneficiaries of your estate. In addition to the above, we can prepare a Lasting Power of Attorney. This is a document by which individuals appoint someone to look after their affairs should they become unable to look after their own affairs, for example through illness or incapacity. Everyone should give consideration to making a Lasting Power of Attorney, and we can assist by guiding clients through all Court of Protection and Public Guardianship matters.

Our litigation department works closely with the private client department to bring a blend of expert knowledge in the highly specialised field of inheritance disputes, Will disputes and contentious probate. We are used to dealing sensitively with family disputes. Wherever possible we seek to achieve an early, cost-effective resolution for our clients through the use of pre-action protocols and Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR). When that does not prove possible, clients benefit from our significant litigation experience.

Divorce and Family Matters We can help you with divorce, children matters, international abduction, financial remedies for married/unmarried couples, separation/cohabitation agreements and civil partnership agreements/dissolutions. We provide other legal services such as:Residential and Commercial Conveyancing, Landlord and Tenant, and Civil Litigation. We welcome your enquiries.


Is Hollywood finally growing up? Emmanuelle Riva, 85, has delighted the film world by winning the BAFTA for Best Actress - the oldest ever winner - for her part in Amour.

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year, both here and in America? The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel, which cost £7.5m to make, brought in worldwide profits of £84m and rising. A gentle tragi-comedy devoid of sex and violence, it took everyone in the film industry by surprise. And maybe, just maybe, things are changing a little, when it comes to older people being the focus of films.

A new trend?

As well as The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel, which stars Judi Dench and Maggie Smith, we’ve had Hope Springs, in which ageing married couple Meryl Streep and Tommy Lee

Why the sudden interest?

Whether this new spotlight on age concerns is down to the decline in cinema’s previously-youthful audience, or an increase in the older audience is hard to discover. For years cinema seems to have been the preserve of the under-25s, enjoying a steady diet of popcorn, romcoms and action movies with eyepopping special effects. Now the tide appears to be turning in favour of what you might call “greycoms” with a marked absence of pyrotechnics and a more realistic and sensitive take on the human condition. ‘The recent success of The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel alerted many studios to the fact that there

is a sizeable audience for films with older protagonists,’ admits Daily Mail film critic Chris Tookey. ‘Film-makers are starting to realise there is a big market to be tapped, and that relatively low-budget films which may not attract a huge youthful audience on the first weekend of their release may nonetheless be more profitable in the long term than big budget blockbusters aimed at the under-30s.’

Acting naturally

Veteran actor Dustin Hoffman, 75, director of the upcoming Quartet, asked his 60 and 70-something star actors to forget about acting and just be themselves. He said, ‘We’re all in this so-called third act of our lives, and what we feel about ourselves in terms of ageing, what we feel about our work, is what I’d like to see on the screen.’ Meanwhile, Dame Maggie Smith, who plays an ageing diva, is in no doubt about the film’s underlying message: ‘It’s about surviving, and surviving with dignity. I think people will take away the idea that there may be life after a certain age. It’s definitely not a time to despair.’ Producer Finola Dwyer began working on Quartet before the success of The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel and The King’s Speech and was worried that it might not find an audience. ‘Now I feel a lot more hopeful because there does appear to be an audience for these films out there, according to the statistics.’ For Finola, it was a personal

© Sörn / wikimedia

ut for many, the movie business is all about big-budget CGI action films, horror movies, or teenage comedies. Hopefully, that’s about to change. An unexpected trend for films focussing on ageing issues, in which older people take the leadings roles, seems to be taking hold. Nick Smurthwaite talks to some experts in the film industry to get their view on cinema and the older generations. Who’d have thought a film about a bunch of genteel English pensioners retiring to India would have been one of the biggest screen successes of the

Jones seek therapeutic help with their moribund sex life. Meanwhile, there’s Amour, a French film about a couple in their 80s, coping with the inevitable deterioration of their mental and physical powers. January 2013 also saw the film version of Ronald Harwood’s play Quartet (main picture), set in a retirement home for opera singers, and starring Maggie Smith, Tom Courtenay and Pauline Collins. Then there’s Song for Marion– inspired by the American rock choir for oldies Young@Heart. In this picture, Terence Stamp stars as the disgruntled husband of a woman in terminal decline (Vanessa Redgrave), who nevertheless manages to rope him into her lively pensioners’ choir.

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www.ageuk.org.uk/medway


crusade, too. ‘I wanted to make Quartet an aspirational film in terms of the retirement home itself. I’d recently gone through the business of finding a home for my mother in New Zealand and it was depressing seeing all these places, the way they were furnished and set up. I despaired of what was on offer. ‘The one in the film, Beecham House, is definitely somewhere you feel you’d like to finish up. I hope the film will spark a debate about the quality of care homes and the way they present themselves.’

No rose-tinted glasses

Meanwhile, Michael Haneke’s award-winning film Amour, which opened in cinemas in November 2012, is an uncompromising look at a married couple. Both are retired music teachers in their 80s, trying to come to terms with frailty and death. Its truthfulness and lack of Hollywood gloss makes it harrowing yet engrossing. Asked why he thought so few films dealt with end-of-life issues, director Haneke told one interviewer, ‘I think lots of people are afraid a film dealing with the prospect of death won’t sell. For me, Amour is about how you deal with the suffering of someone you love, not about whether or not they are going to die.’

‘At times Hollywood forgets them, but invariably comes back and realises how steady and dependable they are,’ says Rob Moore, vice-chairman of Paramount Pictures. On their way across the Atlantic next year are new films starring Billy Crystal and Bette Midler, both now in their 60s, Arnold Schwarzenegger, 65, Jane Fonda, 74, and Barbra Streisand, 70. While we baby boomers may not be interested in crude, campus high-jinks or robotic alpha males blowing each other to smithereens, we’re more than likely to turn out for an intelligent yarn well told by actors we admire and respect, hence the massive box office success of The King’s Speech, War Horse and The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel. Chris Tookey of the Daily Mail puts it down to the power of the baby boomer generation: ‘Some are still in positions of power and influence within Hollywood. Even more have grown into relatively affluent consumers demanding to see films they find involving.’

Baby boomer boom

There seems to have been a change of heart even in Hollywood where studio executives are talking about the baby boomer generation who grew up going to the pictures.

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Arthritis warning

for women smokers

Light smoking can make women more than twice as likely to suffer from rheumatoid arthritis (RA) as those who have never smoked a cigarette, according to new research.

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study carried out by a team of researchers in Sweden found that women who have between one and seven cigarettes a day are 2.3% more susceptible to developing the disease, and the risk is still twice as great in women who smoked when they were younger but have managed to stop for 15 years. The research discovered that 219 out of the 34,101 women between the ages of 54 and 89 involved in the study suffered from RA, a disease that attacks the joints of the body and is caused by the immune system. At its worst, RA can cause intense pain and disable sufferers, leading them to lose mobility and function of various tissues and organs in the body. However it manly affects the parts of the body known as synovial joints. It should not be confused with osteoarthritis, as this condition also affects the joints but is caused by wear and tear or injury.

Risks for women from smoking

The study, which has been made public in the Arthritis Research & Therapy online journal, suggests that the likelihood of having RA decreases over time after giving up tobacco, but the risk also increases depending on how long a woman has been smoking. For example, a woman who has smoked for 25 years is 1.6 more times likely to develop RA than someone who has been smoking for just a year. Women who have managed to quit smoking and have not had a cigarette for 15 years were found to be 30% less likely to develop RA than women who managed to kick the habit a year ago. RA is just one of many risks that are linked to tobacco, according to lead researcher Daniela Di Giuseppe, from the Karolinska Institute in Stockholm, but she said not only does it provide another compelling reason for women to stop smoking, it also shows how important it is for them to not take it up in the first place. Copyright Press Association 2013

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Pensions

the pitfalls and changes…things you need to know

Nearly 1 in 4 lose track of pension pots New research for Age UK shows 23% of UK adults have lost track of at least 1 pension, creating confusion and uncertainty over retirement saving plans

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shift in working cultures and confusion around retirement planning is resulting in a pension ‘black hole’, with almost a quarter (23%) of UK adults stating they have lost track of at least one pension scheme – according to a new online poll for Age UK. The poll, commissioned to understand more about people’s attitudes and plans for retirement, reveals that nearly a third (30%) of UK adults would try to trace a pension if they realised they had lost track of it. However, people are unsure about how and where to start hunting these pensions down. 23% of younger workers (25-34) have already worked for 5-6 employers – matching the average total for those aged over 65.

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Reasons behind the UK’s missing pensions

• Nearly half (47%) of people missing pensions are unclear how they lost track of them. • 1 in 5 (20%) people missing pensions say they have lost their pension paperwork • 10% blame the fact that they’ve moved jobs too many times to keep track of their pensions. • Younger generations are more likely to have lost track of a pension, with 37% of those aged 18-44 already having experienced this.

Lost pensions: a symptom of the times

The trend for adults to have a variety of employers over a lifetime, often resulting in multiple workplace pensions, is one of the root causes of the emerging pension ‘black hole’.

Tellingly, the average person over 65 has worked for around 6 (5.6) employers in total, while a quarter (23%) of those aged 25-34 have already worked for a similar number - yet have more than approximately 35 years left before they are likely to retire. This indicates that the younger generation will almost certainly have a variety of pension pots as they get older. With the UK’s financial situation remaining precarious,

the findings revealed a mixture of scepticism and uncertainty about longterm financial planning: • 12% of those surveyed said they don’t think that there is any point as ‘nothing is guaranteed’. • 9% didn’t know how to start out planning for retirement. • Worryingly, 24% of adults said that they were aware that they should be financially planning for their retirement, but currently can’t afford to.

With the number of jobs we have over a lifetime increasing, it’s likely that people will accumulate several small pension pots. In many cases these bring a less fruitful income in later life than one large pension pot www.ageuk.org.uk/medway


Tracing a pension

Age UK’s research shows that there is much confusion and uncertainty about how to trace a pension: • If they realised that they’d lost a pension, nearly a quarter (23%) of potential pension-hunters would ask previous employers for help. • 15% would consult the government or tax office. • 11% would look online for advice. • 7% would turn to a friend or relative for help. Commenting on the findings, Lucy Harmer, Head of Services at Age UK, said: ‘It’s really important we all set aside time to keep on top of our personal admin, such as organising paperwork and keeping details of any financial products safe and secure. This is especially crucial for pensions as it may be some years down the line until they need to be accessed. ‘With the number of jobs we have over a lifetime increasing, it’s likely that people will accumulate several small pension pots. In many cases these bring a less fruitful income in later life than one large pension pot.’ Lucy Harmer continued: ‘While some measures are being taken by the Government to account for smaller pension pots likely to be created under automatic enrolment, existing pots that we may already have are not being accounted for. This makes it more important than ever that we keep on top of what we have already accumulated. ‘We strongly advise people to seriously think about planning for retirement and the kind of lifestyle you want - it’s never too early. At Age UK we have a range of information and services available to help with pension preparations, including a pension planner, help and guidance, as well as information on the state pension.’

Tips from Age UK on how to find a lost pension • Collect as much information about your previous employer as possible including names, the type of business it ran, previous addresses and scheme dates. • Search for any paperwork that you may have received with the pension. • Type of pension - try to remember if it was a workplace or personal pension. • Call the Pension Tracing Service which can help to track down your lost pension on 0845 600 2537.

More information about planning for retirement

Age UK offers free, friendly, and impartial advice to people in later life, their friends, family and carers. Browse the links to relevant topics on our website www.ageuk.org.uk or call Age UK Advice free on 0800 169 6565 to find out more about retirement planning. In addition, the Age UK Annuity Service, provided by Premier Retirement Services, enables people to shop around and compare annuity rates from leading providers. For more information call 0845 600 9269.

alongside the Government’s initiative to automatically enrol people into workplace pensions to encourage more to save for their retirement.

Report recommendations In its report, the committee argued that it is ‘vital’ the Government addresses how it will communicate the changes by the time the Pensions Bill comes before Parliament in early summer, including how the internet can be used to explain how people will be affected. The report said: ‘It’s particularly important that groups of people who may lose out, or who believe that they may lose out, are given accurate information so that they can assess whether they need to take remedial action, which might include making additional National Insurance contributions.’ The committee warned that, although the system will

be simpler in the long term, its roll out will undoubtedly hit a few teething troubles. Ultimately, the reforms are intended to reduce people’s reliance on means-tested benefits and give them more confidence about the benefits of saving into a private pension scheme.

Pension misconceptions

The report said there are already several ‘misconceptions’ about who stands to gain or lose from the changes and it is important that concerns are ‘allayed as far as possible by the provision of accurate and understandable information’. It agreed that those closest to retirement have the most immediate concerns. The committee found that many people wrongly believed the reforms would mean everyone received a state pension of £144 per week because they did not yet understand the criteria for

Call for clarity on pension changes

The Government must do more to explain how people will be affected by the shake-up of the state pension system, a committee of MPs has warned The success of the simplified flat-rate state pension, which will come into effect in April 2016, hangs on the Government stamping out any confusion over the changes sooner rather than later, the Work and Pensions Committee said. The new single-tier pension will affect about 40m people of working age and be worth around £144 a week in today’s money. It will run

suppor ting older people for over 50 years

SUMMER 2013 | 17


entitlement to the full amount. Others feared they may lose any higher state pension entitlement that they had built up. Committee chairwoman Dame Anne Begg said: ‘It is vital that the Government decides on its high-level strategy for communicating the changes to the public by the time the finalised bill comes before Parliament in the summer.’ Copyright Press Association 2013

What the new State Pension reforms mean for you

On 14 January 2013 the Government published a White Paper setting out proposals for State Pension reform for people reaching State Pension age in the future. But what does the proposed new single-tier State Pension really mean and how will if affect future pensioners?

The main changes announced in the White Paper are set out here, but they still need to be agreed by Parliament: • A single-tier, flat-rate State Pension. This will replace the basic and additional pensions for people reaching State Pension age from 6 April 2016 onwards. • An increase in State Pension age from 66 to 67 between April 2026 and April 2028 and provision for 5 yearly reviews of State Pension age.

Who wins and who loses with the new reforms? Single-tier State Pension Why is a flat-rate pension being introduced? The existing system is complex, has high levels of means-testing and produces inequality, eg women tend to have lower

State Pensions than men. The reforms are intended to address these issues and the aim is to introduce a simpler, fairer system where people have a clearer idea about what the state will provide making it easier to plan their retirement savings. The Government has said that the new pension will apply to people who reach State Pension age after the changes are introduced so will not affect people who are already pensioners. The new single tier pension will affect people reaching State Pension age from 6 April 2016, as announced in the 2013 Budget.

Key features of the single-tier pension

When the single tier pension is fully introduced it will have the following features: • The current basic and

We strongly advise people to seriously think about planning for retirement and the kind of lifestyle you want - it’s never too early.

additional pensions will be replaced by a single pension worth around £144 a week in today’s prices. • The full single-tier State Pension will be based on 35 years National Insurance (NI) contributions or credits. • As with the current basic pension, the law will require this to be uprated annually in line with earnings, but the aim is to increase it in line the ‘triple lock’ that is the higher of earnings, prices, or 2.5% (again as with the current basic State Pension). • To qualify for any State Pension, people would need a minimum number of contributions – the model in the White Paper is based on 10 years. If this is the minimum, then someone with less than 10 years would receive no pension, while someone with between 10 and 34 years’ contributions would receive a proportion of the pension. • Contracting out will end. This will only affect people in defined benefit occupational schemes as it has already ended for people in defined contribution schemes. • It will be an individual entitlement, so there will be no special rules for people who are married, bereaved or divorced. • Pension Credit and other means-tested benefits will continue to provide a safety net, but the savings credit element of Pension Credit will be abolished. • The proposals are intended to be cost neutral every year – meaning that spending on State Pensions will remain the same – so there will be winners and losers as compared to the current system.

The transitional period

Although in the future everyone with at least 35 years of contributions would receive £144 from their State Pension it will take some

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www.ageuk.org.uk/medway


Boosting the skills of the charity with fresh eyes At Age UK Medway, we have made a commitment to ensure that we never rest on our laurels. Sometimes the best way for an organisation to challenge itself about how it works and why it provides the services it does, is to open the charity up to scrutiny from new people.

N time to move to this position. During the transitional period some people will receive a State Pension which is higher than £144 a week and some people will receive less. When the single-tier pension is introduced anyone who has already built up a NI record will have this translated into an amount described as a ‘foundation amount’. State Pension already built up will be protected. If the ‘foundation amount’ is more than the level of the single-tier pension, any amount over £144 will be protected and paid in addition to the single-tier pension once an individual reaches reach State Pension age.

Contracted out

In some instances, people will have been contracted out of the additional State Pension and will have been paying lower NI contributions, while building up a private pension instead. If this is the case, then those people will start to build up years of single-tier State Pension from 2016 to State Pension age. However for some people

the final State Pension will be less than £144 if, for example, they had been contracted out of the additional State Pension and paying lower NI contributions for many years.

Transitional help from means-tested support and inheritance

Currently Housing Benefit and Council Tax Benefit which provide means-tested help with rent and council tax - are paid at higher rates to people aged 65. This is linked to the level of savings credit. Savings credit will be abolished for people reaching State Pension age after the single tier is introduced. However as a transitional measure, for the first 5 years, there will be additional support with rent and council tax for those who would have received higher support with these costs had savings credit still been in place. Although the singletier pension will be an individual entitlement there will be some provision for inheritance of protected payments and additional State Pension already built up.

suppor ting older people for over 50 years

ew staff and visitors to the schemes and services are an invaluable source of feedback for us, asking questions as basic as “why do you provide that service?” Or “Why do you care for someone in that way?” Are often the questions that can lead to service innovation and redesign to meet changing attitudes and aspirations of our customers? To ensure we have a continual source of “fresh eyes” looking at our charity, we have partnered with a locally based training organisation to offer a rolling 1 year programme for 1st year apprentices. We have now created the post of business administration apprentice, which is based in our head office location, the post is part funded by the apprentice grant scheme. We welcomed our first apprentice after a round of competitive interviews and Emma Barnes began working with us in March 2013. Emma’s role covers a range of tasks across the organisation, including cash counting, customer service, data collection, general administration, recruitment administration and support for the campaigns manager. Emma has settled well into the role and is working hard with her training provider to gain her NVQ2 in Business Administration, which we hope, along with her experience gained at Age UK Medway, will set her on a solid foundation

for her future career. “It is great to be able to support a young person in the 1st year of their apprenticeship training at Age UK Medway”, says Justine, finance manager. “Emma has been very hard working, and has learnt new tasks very quickly. She is always keen to ask for the next job, and make herself available to support head office staff in their various roles.” “It’s good to have a young person so interested in the work we do for the older people of Medway, says John Norley, CEO. “Emma is full of questions, and full of fun, and she has quickly become a real asset to the team. It has been good to see her confidence grow and at the same time, hear her ask the important questions of us, which we crave as feedback.” As a direct result of the success of Emma’s new post, Age UK Medway is considering recruiting additional apprentices for others areas of the organisation’s work.

SUMMER 2013 | 19


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e are looking to create a ‘Engage with us’ page where readers write into the Magazine with their thoughts, views on topics raised in the magazine or support they have received from Age UK Medway or your story. Please write to the editor at Engage Magazine, Age UK Medway, The Mackenney

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1. In which year was the unitary authority of Medway founded?

Centre, Woodlands Road, Gillingham, ME7 2BX. We look forward to hearing from you next time… the next edition will be the Autumn edition so if you have any thoughts, concerns or stories to tell please write in and we will feature it in our next magazine. It could be about your summer holiday, new years or Valentine’s day.

3. Which of Nelson’s ship was built and launched at the Historic Royal Dockyard, Chatham in 1765 4. A former house of Charles Dickens still exists in which Medway town’s high street? 5. Born in Rochester in 1979, which model was a co-hostess on The Big Breakfast in the 1990s? 6. Medway is twinned with which region of northern France? 7. William Adams, from Gillingham was the first recorded Englishman to reach which Asian country in the sixteenth century? 8. Which Medway football team won promotion from League 2 in April 2013? 9. Designer Zandra Rhodes lived in which Medway town? 10. After announcing the general election on 6th April 2010, Gordon Brown visited the Morrisons supermarket in which Medway town? 11. The Sweeps festival in Rochester takes places in which month? 12. Which former Gillingham Grammar School pupil is famed for his interview with Richard Nixon, the subject of a 2008 movie?

www.ageuk.org.uk/medway


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SUMMER 2013 | 21


Simon’s Everest challenge 61-year-old Simon Knighton is climbing Mount Everest this year to raise £100,000 for Age UK and his local school.

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f successful, Simon will become the first British person over 60 to reach the summit of Everest by the North Ridge. We caught up with Simon to find out more about his Himalayan adventure:

Have you ever taken on a big personal challenge like this before?

I think in terms of physical activity there is no question this is the biggest challenge I’ve ever undertaken. But I have sailed across the Atlantic twice. There are those who say, ‘But isn’t that risky?’ But I believe the risks are calculated, and that has proved to be the case. And that will be the same with Everest: I’ve never climbed that high, and been at that altitude for that long, but I do believe I can do it.

When did you first decide you wanted to climb Everest?

I’ve wanted to climb Everest since I was a teenager and I read a book called ‘Seven

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years in Tibet’. I had this vision of how wonderful it would be to be in the Himalayas. When you’re climbing at altitude in wild places, there is a sense you get of being at one with your surroundings which is very powerful. So for me it’s as much about being there as it is about getting to the top.

How have you been preparing for your climb over the last year?

I started getting fit 18 months ago in preparation for climbing Aconcagua in 2010 – a 7,000m peak in the Andes. When I started training, I was overweight and had a back problem, so although I’m fit now, I’ve built up to that over a long time. Over the last year, I’ve done cycling, walking, swimming and running. Now, I spend a couple of hours exercising every day, and one day a week I do something for longer – for example, a walk or jog with my back pack on.

Would you say you’re in the fitness of your life?

I would absolutely say that. There’s a real age range in our

group, including people in their early 30s, late 20s, and even one 16-year-old, and I’ve felt very comfortable training with them.

You’re attempting to be the first British person over 60 to reach the summit of Everest by the North Ridge. What particular challenges does the North Ridge pose?

If my attempt is successful, I’ll be the second Brit over 60 to make it to the summit – Ranulph Fiennes was the first about 2 years ago. But I believe I’ll be the first British person over 60 to reach the summit of Everest via the North Ridge. The North Ridge is a bit more technical and involves more climbing than the more commonly-taken southern route. Above 8,300m there are 3 steps which involve a bit of climbing, and you do go up a knife-edge ridge. It’s also said you get a better appreciation and aspect of the mountain than from the south. The North Ridge was the route chosen by George Mallory and Irvine, and the route on which they died, so for Brits it’s shrouded in history (although a lot of climbers have made it to the top by this route successfully since then).

Tell us about the plan for the climb...

I fly to Kathmandu on 2nd April. From there, the team will spend a few days acclimatising on the south side of mountain. We’ll then cross into Tibet on 10 – 11 April, moving around to the north side, and going up to base camp, which is at 5,200m. We’ll then climb the East Rongbuk Glacier, setting up Advance Base Camp (ABC) at 6,400m. From ABC, we’ll trek up to Camp 1 and then come back down again. We’ll then go on to Camp 2, so you’re increasing your altitude exposure, while all the time the returning to ABC to recover from the strain of setting up camps. Eventually, you get to point where you can get to Camp 2 from ABC easily. All that process of acclimatising takes about a month. You’re then waiting for a window of 3-4 days of good weather for your summit attempt. You move up to camp 2, and if the weather remains good you keep going up to camp 3, at 7,800m, high up on the North Ridge. Above Camp 3, you have to use oxygen tanks, so you have to really go for it from here. It’s 6 hours from Camp 3 to Camp 4, which at 8,300m is 9 hours from the summit.

www.ageuk.org.uk/medway


the NHS runs a free stop smoking service.

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Eat healthily

A diet that is low in fat, sugar and salt and contains a lot of fruit and veg will reduce your cholesterol levels – a simple way to reduce your risk of diabetes. Studies published in 2009 revealed that eating processed meat ups your risk of diabetes by 40% and more recent research has shown that vegetarians are a third less likely to suffer from heart problems, a stroke or diabetes.

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ways to cut your chance of diabetes

he older we get, the more likely we are to get diabetes, specifically type 2. Around 1 in 7 older people have diabetes and these numbers are likely to rise. Although no-one completely understands the causes of diabetes, if you control the risk factors, you can reduce your chances of getting it.

don’t know the causes, there are a number of factors that can increase your chance of developing type 2 diabetes, so by taking simple steps, you can lower your chances of getting it.

The facts about diabetes

Since 1996, the number of people with diabetes has increased from 1.4 million to 2.6 million. By 2025, it’s estimated that more than 4 million will have diabetes in the UK. 9 out of 10 of these cases are type 2 diabetes, the preventable form of the condition. Although we

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Lose weight

Quite simply, shedding pounds will drastically reduce your chances of getting type 2 diabetes. 80% of people who have diabetes

suppor ting older people for over 50 years

are overweight, so if you are overweight or obese, it’s time to think about cutting back. A good measure is your waist size. More than 31.5 inches (80cm) for a woman and 37 inches (94cm) for a man and you need to start thinking about cutting back.

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Increase your exercise levels

It goes without saying that increasing the amount of time you spend exercising will make you feel better and help towards losing weight. Research has found that regular exercise can reduce your risk of developing by up to 64%, so it is backed up by science. Talk to your GP for an idea of some suitable exercises for you.

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Stop smoking

Most people are aware of smoking’s link to cancer, but not as many understand how it’s connected to diabetes. Smoking has been proven to increase blood pressure levels, which are known to be a major cause of diabetes. If you need help giving up,

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Cut down on alcohol

Drinking alcohol can contribute towards the conditions that cause diabetes. Booze can increase your chances of putting on weight, as it is essentially empty calories. A pint of beer, for example, can be equivalent to a bar of chocolate. Heavy drinking can also lead to conditions such as chronic pancreatitis, which has a side effect of diabetes. There’s nothing wrong with a little alcohol in moderation, but excessive drinking can definitely lead to an increased risk of developing type 2 diabetes.

What next?

Get checked out: Type 2 diabetes is, by and large, a condition that affects people over the age of 40, so it’s important to get a check up from your doctor. They can advise if what sort of risk you have and what action, if any, you should take.

SUMMER 2013 | 23


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The Alzheimer’s Society, in Medway, has a range of support for those affected by dementia and their carers. Carers Support Group: A monthly meeting, run by a trained facilitator, for anyone caring for someone living with dementia to receive support, information and friendship from those in a similar situation. Hoo The Walter Brice Centre, Tilley Close, Hoo, ME3 9AE 2nd Wednesday of the month 10am -12pm Free teas and coffees Hoo Dementia Café Red Cross Hall, 9 Stoke Road, Hoo, Rochester ME3 9BE 3rd Friday of the month 1-3pm

Dementia Café: A friendly and supportive drop-in facility for anyone living with dementia and their carers, family and friends. Rainham St Paul’s Church, Long Catlis Road, Rainham ME89PN 1st & 3rd Tuesday of the month 1-3pm Free refreshments and parking Chatham The Harbour Room Amherst Court, Palmerston Road Chatham ME4 6LU 2nd Friday of the month 1-3pm. Free refreshments and parking

Peer Support groups: A place for people who are newly diagnosed with dementia to discuss their feelings and offer each other practical and emotional support. Our Peer Support Groups are held in Rochester, Rainham (opening soon) and Gillingham (opening soon). Anyone wishing to attend a Peer Support Group should contact Sylvia Wolfson to organise a place, her email address is sylvia.wolfson@alzheimers.org.uk Tel 07557111060


Engange Medway  

Summer 2012