Insurer scraps upper age limit on single trip policies for Europe

Over 50s insurance specialist Staysure has announced the removal of its upper age limit restrictions on its European single trip travel insurance policies.

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Recognising the challenges older travellers face when searching for affordable travel insurance, Staysure will now expand its cover options to include customers aged 85 and over when travelling to Europe, enabling even more holidaymakers to fulfil their travel plans regardless of their age. While an upper age limit will still remain on some long haul destinations, the company has removed the restriction to allow its older customers to continue visiting their most popular holiday destinations, such as Spain, Turkey, Greece and Cyprus.

Staysure Head of Product Alison Longdon said: “We pride ourselves on being able to react to our customers’ needs and go the extra mile in creating products and services that suit their lifestyle. Getting affordable travel insurance in your 80s and 90s can be very difficult and expensive, whether due to age or existing medical conditions, so this change in our service offering for our most popular destinations is yet another step towards making our customers’ travel dreams come true and opening doors that were previously closed to them.”

Staysure CEO Ryan Howsam said: Since the launch of our Sure You Can! campaign, our customers continually tell us of the amazing things they do and what they get up to on their holidays and we’ve genuinely been impressed by the stories they share with us. It just goes to show that our customers really do want to live life to the full and fulfil their travel aspirations and our cover can enable them to achieve it.

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Staysure’s single trip travel insurance is ideal for holidaymakers looking for a great value, straightforward policy to cover one trip. Comprehensive single trip travel insurance includes cover for medical emergency and repatriation, up to ÂŁ10m; cancellation, curtailment and trip interruption, up to ÂŁ5,000; baggage loss, up to ÂŁ2,000; personal liability, up to ÂŁ2m and legal protection to cover up to ÂŁ25,000.

More information can be found at Stayure.co.uk. Terms and conditions apply to the age limit for long haul destinations. There is no upper age limit for single trip policies unless you are travelling to the United States of America, Canada, the Islands of the Caribbean, Bermuda, Mexico, Thailand, China or Hong Kong, where you must be 85 or under at the time of purchasing your policy.
Changes will be taking effect from February 2015.

www.staysure.co.uk/travel-insurance/single-trip

Friendship more valued than money after retirement

Friendship, good health and avoiding supermarkets at weekends are the biggest unexpected pleasures of retirement for Britons, new research has revealed.

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According to a study by the Oddfellows Friendly Society, we significantly underestimate the value of each of these joys as we approach a life of leisure.
It’s only when we finally reach retirement that we come to realise the true worth of companionship, staying active and steering clear of the aisles on a Saturday.

The research surveyed almost a thousand over-50s to gauge how near-retired and retired people view their place within their own communities and society as a whole.
Just under half of those who took part were members of the Oddfellows, which was founded more than 200 years ago and is one of Britain’s largest friendly societies.

Its annual Friendship Month will see the Society’s 146 branches stage scores of special events to connect old and new friends throughout September.
Oddfellows Chief Executive Officer Jane Nelson said: “What our research shows is that it’s perfectly possible for life to begin at 50, 60 or even 70.

“The very simple message that emerges is that if you approach retirement in the right way you can become happier as you get older.”

Some 45% of study respondents aged in their 50s said spending time with friends was what they were most looking forward to about being retired.
Yet nearly two thirds of participants aged in their 70s said they considered it the most enjoyable element.

Similarly, only 31% of those in their 50s said they were most looking forward to a healthier life – while 56% of those in their 70s said it was the thing they valued most.
The biggest disparity was for not having to visit supermarkets at weekends, which was chosen by just 12% of non-retired participants but 24% of retired respondents.
Selected by over 60% of those questioned overall, less stress was the aspect of retirement that was both most looked forward to and most enjoyed.

The research also highlighted the strong links between friendship, happiness and a sense of worth within the community for Britain’s over-50s.
Some 80% of Oddfellows members described themselves as happy or very happy, and 49% recommended joining societies or clubs as the best way of making new friends.

In addition, only 9% of 70-somethings said they didn’t feel they had a meaningful role to play in their own community, compared to 22% of 50-somethings.
Mrs Nelson added: “Our research shows that the reality of retirement doesn’t necessarily meet expectations for a lot of people.

“Many simply look forward to having a lot more time on their hands, but that can translate into loneliness, a lack of purpose and a longing for social interaction.
“Above all, people often discover that they miss the kind of camaraderie and everyday engagement that they took for granted in the course of their working lives.
“As our own members attest, membership of clubs and societies can bridge the gap between expectation and reality by providing friendship and a genuine sense of belonging.”
The Oddfellows helps 280,000 members in the UK enjoy the social side of life, as well as providing care, advice and support in times of need.

Professor Tarani Chandola, of the University of Manchester, a leading expert on the links between work, stress, friendship and happiness, backed the findings.
He said: “There’s a wealth of research on how people with stressful jobs get a temporary boost in happiness upon retirement, but this boost isn’t sustained by everyone.
“Older adults who remain socially active in community and voluntary organisations like the Oddfellows are the ones most likely to maintain their happiness in retirement.”
 
Life can begin at 70: the Oddfellows’ tips for a happy retirement
 
·        Maintain existing friendships and build new ones
·        Join clubs and societies to expand your social circle
·        Stay mentally and physically active
·        Acquire new skills
·        Shop on a Wednesday!
 
The Oddfellows Society is one of the largest and oldest friendly societies in the UK. Its branches organise active social programmes and provide help and support to members in local areas. Members also have access to an advice line, care support and a range of financial benefits. Membership is just ÂŁ30 a year (or ÂŁ28 by direct debit).

Women’s emotional intelligence grows with age, says expert

Women improve with age by becoming even better at relationships of all kinds, clearer communicators and have even greater emotional intelligence according to Cognitive Neuroscientist and Business Improvement Strategist, Dr Lynda Shaw.

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With much talk in the media about the drawbacks of ageing, Dr Shaw says women naturally reinvent themselves as they mature. 
Dr Shaw explains: “Both genders can relish that experience brings confidence and we learn to enjoy the here and now more as we age.  We have realistic expectations and have probably invested heavily in great relationships with friends and family. Most of us care about our appearance, but have also learnt to place importance on other things.  That said, women are quite extraordinary as they get older.”  
“As our oestrogen supply runs down around the time of the menopause and we have been around the block a few times and picked up a few bruises along the way, women are more able to observe, read a situation, evaluate and communicate.  They are more likely to have strong relationships and as children grow up, the female needs to find other investments to satisfy her needs.  This is when her attention moves further outside the home and at this stage women are stronger than ever, and can contribute enormously to the economy, community and society as a whole.”  
Women tend to talk more in order to feel bonded to her female friends.  A female is hard-wired to seek out her network in readiness for times of trouble but is also able to ‘read’ situations with greater clarity.  Shaw continues: “It is quite typical for men to think women are almost spooky in the way they intuitively understand things.  The female will ‘see’ problems that males are oblivious to.  Take the scenario of a party   A woman will notice if a couple have fallen out, or if there is an attraction between two people who have spent the evening avoiding one another.  Men rarely notice such things.  There is nothing spooky going on, females are just wired differently to males and they get even better at it with age.”
So why are women different to men?
THE FACTS
• At 6 – 12 weeks gestation a foetus is exposed to a flood of hormone secretion.   This is either a surge of testosterone, oestrogen or progesterone depending on the genetic code of whether we’re male or female. Therefore, this hormonal output results in our sexual differences both physically and in the brain which leads to different patterns of behaviour.
• Scientific research has repeatedly found that the hypothalamus is different in a male and female brain.  This region controls body temperature, hunger, thirst, sleep as well as affecting the endocrine system that also controls sexual activity.
• Studies have also found that men have larger brains, but we now know that size doesn’t matter as there is no difference in intelligence!
• The male brain has more grey matter and the female brain has more white matter so we think differently.  Grey matter is rich in active nerve cell bodies and white matter consists more of bundles of nerve fibres which are the connections between neurons.
• The female brain has a larger limbic system, which means that females tend to be more in touch with their emotions. In addition, the language centres are larger in women and females tend to respond better to auditory stimulation. 
Dr Shaw continues: “Both typical male and female brains have their own strengths, but we are products of our biological genetic code, chemical make-up including hormones, environment and social upbringing. Discussing typical gender characteristics must not inflict unnecessary limitations on any of us.  That said, the world is beckoning for the mature women who have improved with age to embrace and enjoy the wonderful resources and experiences they have.”
www.drlyndashaw.com 
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Pollen extract cuts menoapause symptoms – new study

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Pollen extract could be used to help ease menopausal symptoms for women during the time of the menopause, new research has revealed*.

The 10 month trial, published in a recent issue of Genesis: The Journal of Genetics and Development, studied 417 menopausal women taking two tablets a day of Femal – a specialised formulation of nutritional flower pollen extracts – at Bordeaux University in France.

The results indicated:

A significant reduction in the frequency of hot flushes by 65%
A reduction in the frequency of night sweats by 64%
The intensity of hot flushes was reduced amongst participants by 64%
The discomfort of night sweats was also reduced by 67%
A clear improvement in irritability and fatigue was noted and quality of sleep improved by 47%
93.5% of the participants felt the supplementation was effective in improving discomfort of symptoms associated with the menopause

Christian Lebreton from Hirapharm which manufactures Femal, commented: “Adding to an already impressive body of evidence supporting the benefits of pollen extract for women experiencing PMS or the menopause, this study confirms the extremely positive indications of supplementation for the 75% of Western women who suffer with menopausal sysmptoms”.

Femal contains two special extracts of standardised pollen combined with vitamin E, formulated to support womenÂ’s health throughout the life stages from the start of womanhood to maturity. Femal is available from Boots and independent pharmacies priced around ÂŁ16.00. For further information about Femal, contact UK telephone number + 44 (0)1372 379828.

References:

* Assessment of the tolerance and effectiveness of a food supplement Serelys (Femal) for menopausal women. Elia, D., and Mares, P., 2008. Genesis, 135, November 2008

Femal

Femal, ScandinaviaÂ’s number one selling formula, is the result of 10 years of research and development that began with the biochemical analysis of more than 400 plants. Clinical research and development has consistently established the health benefits of seven specific nutritional flower extracts and their role in supporting womenÂ’s health.

Flowers are glorious manifestations of natureÂ’s healing and balancing power, offering us health and vitality. Pollen is nutrient-dense and guarantees the proliferation of the plant world and our healthy existence. Femal gives you the essence of pollen in 100% bioavailable form.

Vitamins, carotenoids, flavonoids, minerals, amino acids, fatty acids, enzymes phytosterols and prostaglandins all form a part of pollen, making it the perfect building material for our cells. Femal helps safeguard the intake of these nutrients on a daily basis.

Frequently Asked Questions

Will pollen cause an allergic reaction?

The pollen extracts in Femal have been specially treated to ensure minimal risk of allergic reaction. Most allergic reactions to pollen are caused through airborne particles that then cause irritation of the airways. Since food supplements are digested, this reaction would be unlikely.

How many do I take?

It is recommended that two tablets per day would be the best intake, particularly when taking Femal for the first time. This intake can be adjusted to one tablet per day to suit individual requirements. This may be most comfortable with a glass of water or fruit juice in the morning.

Can I reduce the intake?

Everyone is different and therefore will have different requirements. However, some women find that they can reduce their long term usage down to one tablet a day once they have been taking Femal for a time. If at some point you feel that your requirements have changed and you feel reverting to a higher dose would be appropriate than it is perfectly acceptable to take two tablets for a three month period. It is not advised to exceed the recommended intake.

How long can I take Femal for?

As with many food supplements Femal is intended for use regularly over time and on a daily basis. Most women find that after three months the two tablets per day dose can be adjusted to one tablet per day. Femal is designed to be taken throughout a womanÂ’s adult life and may therefore be used during the monthly cycle and during and after menopause. As a food supplement, it should be taken in addition to a varied and balanced diet and healthy lifestyle and should not be a substitute for either of these important aspects of healthy living.

Can I take Femal alongside medications?

It should be OK to take Femal alongside any medicines. However, should you have any concerns do consult your doctor.

Can I use Femal whilst pregnant and or when breastfeeding?

It is recommended that pregnant women and those breastfeeding should stop taking the product during this time. Whilst this is precautionary, if in doubt you should consult your doctor.

What other measures can I take?

You have already taken some steps in reading this. Supplementing your diet may provide your body with additional nutrients during its natural changes.

This may also be the time to look at your lifestyle and how this may affect your dietary needs, such as eating at least five fruit and vegetable servings per day and maybe reducing caffeine and alcohol consumption. Exercise is another important aspect in helping to keep your body in optimum health and you may want to consider how this may be incorporated in your daily routines. Keeping a diary may help to monitor your success.

MENOPAUSE

Life begins at 60 for Madonna & Co

London: A new report released today reveals a significant shift in the way 50 to 65 year-olds are viewing retirement, showing how role models such as Harrison Ford and Madonna are giving rise to a generation of ‘grandad-olescents’.

The study, by leading pensions’ company AEGON, shows retirement in the ‘noughties’ is becoming a second adolescence, and more likely to include a world trip or a new career, than a carriage clock and a pair of slippers. A clear indication this generation of ‘baby boomers’ has more in common with their teenage grandchildren than their own parents.

Over 2,000 people between the ages of 50 and 65 were surveyed to gauge their attitudes towards retirement and to see what sort of financial provision they have in place.

The survey reveals that 56% expect to carry on working in some capacity after they reach retirement age and, for most, not because they have to. More than one in ten (11%) said ‘love of the job’ made them want to stay in the work force while 14% argued that they were simply ‘too young’ to retire. Interestingly, 12% said they would like to try out a completely different career in their retirement.

For those who don’t plan to keep working, the lure of far flung destinations beckons. The report shows that more than a fifth (21%) plans to use their ‘grandad-olescence’ for a holiday of a lifetime. Taking inspiration from teenagers heading off on GAP years, 14% of all those surveyed said they wanted to take a long-haul touring trip, 15% fancied travelling around Europe and 7% were after an adventure or action holiday.

Improved health and increasing life expectancy mean that many reaching retirement age do not regard themselves as ‘old’, and therefore seek more active interests in their ‘golden years’. Nearly a third of respondents (30%) saw retirement as the chance to do all the things they’ve wanted to do ‘but never had the time’, and a quarter (26%) plan to use their free time to take up new hobbies and leisure activities.

If their role models are anything to go by, these hobbies are going to be anything but sedate. According to the report, young-at-heart celebrities like Sir David Attenborough, Dame Judi Dench and the Queen of Pop, Madonna, are setting the standard for those at retirement age.

So while attitudes to retirement have clearly shifted with a greater emphasis on work, travel and leisure, are people approaching retirement better financially prepared?

Thanks to exceptional social and economic factors, ‘baby boomers’ should be in a better position financially to enjoy retirement than any previous generation. In fact, 42% think they will be better off than their parents in retirement and 32% think they will be better off than their children. Understandably, securing a guaranteed income during retirement is at the top of the wish list, with 87% of respondents saying this is most important to them.

With all these adventurous ambitions, a secure income is going to be essential. Yet the report highlights a significant knowledge gap when it comes to planning, as 42% of respondents have no clear idea about how much income they will have in retirement. Of the remainder, 44% expected to get an income less than ÂŁ15,000 a year and only 14% thought their pension savings would produce over ÂŁ15,000 a year.

Interestingly, 33% are relying on their pension alone, with no other savings or investments and more than half (51%) admit that they could have been better prepared had they thought about planning sooner.

Rachel Vahey, Head of Pensions Development at AEGON, comments: “Retirement isn’t the abrupt cliff edge it once was and, for many of today’s “baby boomers”, retirement age marks a new and exciting chapter of their lives. But if you want to make adventurous life choices and have a more flexible approach to retirement, it requires careful planning. Younger generations should take note and make sure that they have enough income to enjoy their second adolescence.”

Other research findings at a glance:

· 67% of people surveyed have some savings and investments, other than in a pension. 33% say they have no savings or investments outside their pensions.

· 47% of respondents don’t expect to have any outstanding mortgage or other debts at retirement. However 13% expect to have debts greater than £20,000 at retirement.

· 86% say they would at least “get by” financially if they were to stop working at retirement age. However, 14% say they would struggle to cope financially

· 21% of respondents say they will use the tax-free cash sum from their pensions to pay for the holiday of a lifetime. 15% say they will use the money to pay off their mortgage and 14% will use it to support their children financially.

· Over a quarter (27%) of respondents state their biggest fear in retirement is not being able to take care of themselves, while 22% fear running out of money in retirement

· 79% of respondents expect to need access to additional money in retirement for things such as long-term care, health emergencies, their children and home improvements

About AEGON

· AEGON commissioned Onepoll in to carry out research in May 2008, surveying 2,140 people aged between 50 and 65 who have not yet retired.

· In 2010 the number of pensioners will have exceeded the number of children in the population for the first time. Currently there are 11.3m people over state retirement age, projected to reach 12.2m by 2010 (Source: Office of National Statistics, October 2007).

· The proportion of people over the state pension age has grown from 16% in 1971 to 19% in 2004. By 2031, this figure is projected to have increased to 23%. (Source: Office for National Statistics).

· One hundred years after their introduction, British pensions are now the lowest in the European Union. A recent survey found that the basic state pension of £90.70 a week is equivalent to 17 per cent of the average earnings, compared with the EU average of 57 per cent.

· Current legislation dictates that between 2024 and 2026 the retirement age will rise to 68 for both men and women.

· AEGON UK is one of the top 5 life and pension providers in the UK, employing around 4,500 staff and with assets under administration of £53.2 billion. AEGON UK is part of the AEGON group, which is one of the world’s largest insurers and has assets under management of £245 billion.

70-year-olds can’t get enough sex!

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Gothenburg: Older people are having more sex than ever, according to a new survey from Sweden.

At a time when the health of many older people is in decline, it seems that an active sex life is on the rise.

Not only are they more likely to have sex at least once a week, they are also much more likely to report high rates of satisfaction, says research carried out among the 70+ age group of the Swedish city of Gothenburg.

The research was carried out in four different time periods – 1971-72, 1976-77, 1992-93 and 2000-01 – for the study which is published in the British Medical Journal.

Men in their eighth decade are less likely to have erectile dysfunction than men the same age 30 years ago, while women aged 70 are much more likely to report having orgasms.

The responses from the four groups, totalling more than 1500 people, showed that over the 30-year period, the proportion of married 70-year-old men reporting sexual intercourse in the past year increased from 52 to 68 per cent, while for married women, the figure increased from 38 to 56 per cent.

Among unmarried men and women, the proportion rose from 30 to 54 per cent for men, and from 0.8 to 12 per cent among women.

Those reporting sex at least weekly rose from 10 to 31 per cent among both married and unmarried men, and from 9 to 26per cent among all women.

The proportion of men reporting high satisfaction with their sex lives rose from 58 per cent in 1976-77 to 71 per cent in 2000-01. Among women, the satisfaction rating rose from 41 to 62 per cent.

Men were much less likely to report being impotent (down from 18 to 8 per cent), while women were more likely to say they “always or usually” had an orgasm (up from 59 to 83 per cent).

Older Americans wealth and age grows, says new US report

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Chicago: Older Americans are richer than ever before and are expected to live far longer than prior generations, a new US government report reveals.

They said the average net worth of older Americans, aged 65 or older, has increased almost 80 percent over the past 20 years.

And those who reach the age of 65 are now expected to live an average of 19 more years, or seven years longer than people who had reached age 65 in the year 1900.

The findings are part a report released on Thursday called Older Americans 2008: Key Indicators of Well-Being, which features data from 15 federal agencies on trends in population, economics and health issues.

“It gives you a status report of the older population,” said Richard Suzman of the National Institute on Aging, a part of the National Institutes of Health.

“We’ve seen significant improvements in poverty. The percent of those with low income has gone down, education has increased, life expectancy has increased,” Suzman said.

“But there are some notes of concern. Obesity has gone up quite significantly. And there are some large disparities. The life expectancy gap between whites and blacks has narrowed but is still large. There is a big wealth gap between whites and blacks,” he said in a telephone interview.

The report forecasts that by 2030, the number of Americans over the age of 65 will nearly double to 71.5 million, or 20 percent of the U.S. population, up from 12 percent, or 37 million people, in 2006.

It found that older adults in the United States are far better educated than prior generations. In 2007, 76 percent of those over 65 had high school diplomas, and at least 19 percent had a bachelor’s degree, up from 24 percent with high school diplomas in 1965 and just 5 percent with bachelor’s degrees.

But much of those gains in education were enjoyed by non-Hispanic whites over the age of 65. Eighty-one percent of non-Hispanic whites age 65 and older had finished high school in 2007, compared with 72 percent of Asians, 58 percent of blacks and only 42 percent of older Hispanics.

And while the proportion of people with incomes below the poverty line fell to 9 percent in 2006, down from 15 percent in 1974, median net worth for households headed by white people aged 65 and older in 2005 was six times that of households headed by blacks.

Not surprisingly, older Americans, like many other groups, are getting fatter, the researchers said. In the 2005-2006 study period, 37 percent of women aged 65 to 74 were obese, and 24 percent of women age 75 and over were obese. This is up from the 1988-1994 study period, when 27 percent of women age 65 to 74 and 19 percent of women age 75 and over were obese.

Despite many studies touting the benefits of exercise, the report found no significant change in the percentage of older people engaged in physical activity between 1997 and 2006.

While the report noted that Americans are living longer than ever before, life expectancy in the United States still lags many other industrialized countries, including Canada, France, Sweden and Japan.

For example, women in Japan who reached the age of 65 in 2003 could expect to live 3.2 years longer than women in the United States. Men in Japan who reached age 65 lived 1.2 years longer than men in the United States.

The full report can be viewed online at www.AgingStats.gov

Average person’s heart is five years older than their real age

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London: The average person’s heart is five years older than their chronological age, according to a new study.

Based on an analysis of heart health checks conducted at branches of Lloydspharmacy, and using a protocol developed by Unilever and Boston University, the study shows that people’s hearts are aging faster than they should.

The research is based on a sample of more than 3000 tests conducted on adults less than 60 years old. The study should be a real wake up call for smokers in particular. The findings reveal that puffing away results in a heart age which is a full 14 years older than smokersÂ’ actual age. The figure for non smoking men is 4 years. Women, however, fare better. The average Heart Age of non-smokers in this age group is the same as their chronological age.

Recently it emerged that while death rates from coronary heart disease are falling among the old they are levelling off or rising among people aged 35 to 54, suggesting that there is a middle aged heart disease bulge caused by over-indulgence and sedentary lifestyles.

The findings of the research coincide with the launch of a tie-up between Lloydspharmacy and Flora pro.activ. The initiative was launched by Gloria Hunniford who has been working with Flora pro.activ on a number of heart health campaigns.

Heart health is an issue that Gloria feels passionate about. She lost her first husband, Don Keating, as a result of an undetected heart condition and then her husband Stephen Way suffered a heart attack just after they got married.

Gloria herself had raised cholesterol (6.35mmol/l), and these experiences alerted her to what she describes as, “the silent killer cholesterol”, and made her realise that she needed to take serious steps to protect her own heart.

As part of the link between Lloydspharmacy and Flora pro.activ, people can get a free Cholesterol test and Heart Check worth ÂŁ15 at more than 600 branches of Lloydspharmacy nationwide in return for two proofs of purchase of any Flora pro.activ products.

The Lloydspharmacy Cholesterol and Heart Check is a 10-15 minute consultation involving, amongst other things, cholesterol and blood pressure tests and a lifestyle assessment. Based on these results a percentage risk score of developing heart disease over the next ten years is estimated.

Heart Age

Heart age is calculated using a range of factors including blood pressure,
blood cholesterol, diet and lifestyle. The Heart Age Calculator was
developed through collaboration between Unilever (the parent company of
Flora) and the Boston University Statistics and Consulting Unit, the department that was involved in identifying the factors that increase peopleÂ’s risk of heart disease in the world-famous Framingham Heart Study.

About Lloydspharmacy

Lloydspharmacy has 1,700 pharmacies across the country. These are based predominantly in community and health centre locations. The company employs over 16,000 staff, of which 80 per cent are women and dispenses 120 million prescription items annually. The pharmacies have over two million visits per week by customers who are also predominantly women.

Lloydspharmacy is the trading name of Lloydspharmacy Ltd, a wholly owned subsidiary of Celesio AG based in Stuttgart. Celesio is the leading pharmaceutical distribution company in Europe and is represented in 15 countries. With its three divisions, Celesio Wholesale, Celesio Pharmacies and Celesio Solutions, the group covers the entire scope of pharmaceutical trade and pharmaceutical-related services.

Lloydspharmacy which is a community pharmacy has primary care at the heart of its business. This is why has launched a range of products aimed at community health such as affordable blood pressure monitors, Solar Safe products and is a supporter of NHS initiatives such as NHS Choices by providing terminals in-store for patient information.

Over 50s taking sex risks, says Saga survey

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London: The over-50s may be retiring from the boardroom, but they are not giving up on the bedroom, reveals a new Saga survey today.

According to the Saga/Populus survey of nearly 8000 people over 50, two thirds of those surveyed said they were sexually active (65 per cent), with almost half of those (46 per cent) saying they got between the sheets at least once a week.

Sex is less pressurised after 50 according to a large majority (85 per cent), and seven out of ten find sex a more fulfilling experience than in younger years.

The survey also dispelled a widely touted myth, with three quarters (76 per cent) saying that sex does not become more boring as you get older.
However, respondents said they had sex less often than in younger years, with 84 per cent having sex less often in their 50s than in their 20s or 30s. A minority (16 per cent) also admitted using performance enhancing drugs such as Viagra to help things along.

Worryingly, over one in ten (12 per cent) sexually active over-50s do not use contraception with their current partner to avoid sexually transmitted infections (STIs), while also not knowing about their partnerÂ’s sexual history. Recent research has shown increasing cases of STIs in older age groups*.

These findings came as part of a wider survey into the health of the nationÂ’s over-50s, with other notable findings below:

· 38 per cent of those 65 and over exercise every day, compared to just 29 per cent of 50-54 year olds

· 76 per cent try to eat their ‘five a day’ of fruit and vegetables’

· Problems at work were likely to be the greatest cause of stress followed by relationships, but

· a quarter (24 per cent) would keep any feelings of stress, anxiety or depression to themselves rather than tell their family or seek medical advice

Emma Soames, Saga Magazine editor, said: “These findings shatter the myth that once you hit fifty your sex life is over – there is less pressure than when people were younger and it is likely that you feel more comfortable about your body.

“Forget about the ‘dirty thirties’ or the ‘naughty forties’. The frisky 50s are having the most fun by swapping the boardroom for the bedroom.

“However, while a healthy sex life is a good thing, the over-50s must be wise to their sexual health, as well as their overall health.”

Over 50s are able to contribute to this issue on the social networking site Saga Zone, and receive sexual health advice from SagaÂ’s health webpages at www.saga.co.uk/health

Help the Aged Spring Walk Fundraiser 25-27 April UK

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A host of celebrities including, Kirsty Gallacher, Penny Smith and Amanda Lamb are calling on everyone to join the Help the Aged annual fundraising event, The Big Spring Walk, which takes place from Friday 25th April to Sunday 27th April 2008. Now in its second year, the national event will see people across the UK walking anytime over The Big Spring Walk weekend to raise vital funds for the Charity.

There are a number of ways that individuals can put their best foot forward and take part in The Big Spring Walk whether it is walking to work, school or the shops whilst making a donation or fundraising to make a difference.

Alternatively, there is the option to organise a walk over The Big Spring Walk weekend which could involve anything from a 5 mile hike to a mile long ramble in the countryside – a great way to bring friends and family together!

Help the Aged is also organising 6 walking events which are taking place across the country this spring, including the flagship event in LondonÂ’s Hyde Park on Saturday 26th April.

Walking is one of the best ways to stay fit and healthy and The Big Spring Walk offers people a fun day out whilst raising money for a worthwhile cause – perfect reasons to lace up those walking boots!

All money raised from this yearÂ’s event, sponsored by Abbey, will go towards funding the work of Help the Aged, including helping the Charity in its fight to combat poverty among disadvantaged older people.

For further information and a FREE fundraising pack, please contact The Big Spring Walk hotline on 020 7239 1922 or visit www.helptheaged.org.uk/walk

More information:
1. This is the second Big Spring Walk which is being repeated in April 2008 after a successful inaugural year in 2007, and is the annual national fundraising event from Help the Aged.

2. The event will see individuals walking for the Charity on 25th, 26th and 27th April. To find out more, call The Big Spring Walk hotline on 0207 239 1922 or visit www.helptheaged.org.uk/walk

3. Help the Aged is organising a series of flagship events in London and the North-West, including Hyde Park, London on Saturday 26th April, Lyme Park, Cheshire on Saturday 26th April, Carsington Water, Derbyshire on Sunday 27th April, Downham, Lancashire on Saturday 3rd May, Troutbeck, Cumbria on Monday 5th May and The Wirral Way, Merseyside on Saturday 10th May. For more information, call The Big Spring Walk hotline.

4. AbbeyÂ’s community programme covers a broad range of activity including employee fundraising, corporate donations and social sponsorship. Staff are involved in fundraising for hundreds of local and national charities, and Abbey supports a small number of these causes every year by sponsoring key events. The Abbey Charitable Trust provides donations to projects that support disadvantaged people through: education and training; local regeneration projects; and financial advice. In 2007, AbbeyÂ’s total contribution to the community was valued at ÂŁ3.2 million.

Abbey is a wholly owned subsidiary of Banco Santander Central Hispano, S.A. (“Santander”) (SAN.MC, STD.N).

Help the Aged Spring Fundraising Walk April UK

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A host of celebrities including, Kirsty Gallacher, Penny Smith and Amanda Lamb are calling on everyone to join the Help the Aged annual fundraising event, The Big Spring Walk, which takes place from Friday 25th April to Sunday 27th April 2008. Now in its second year, the national event will see people across the UK walking anytime over The Big Spring Walk weekend to raise vital funds for the Charity.

There are a number of ways that individuals can put their best foot forward and take part in The Big Spring Walk whether it is walking to work, school or the shops whilst making a donation or fundraising to make a difference.

Alternatively, there is the option to organise a walk over The Big Spring Walk weekend which could involve anything from a 5 mile hike to a mile long ramble in the countryside – a great way to bring friends and family together!

Help the Aged is also organising 6 walking events which are taking place across the country this spring, including the flagship event in LondonÂ’s Hyde Park on Saturday 26th April.

Walking is one of the best ways to stay fit and healthy and The Big Spring Walk offers people a fun day out whilst raising money for a worthwhile cause – perfect reasons to lace up those walking boots!

All money raised from this yearÂ’s event, sponsored by Abbey, will go towards funding the work of Help the Aged, including helping the Charity in its fight to combat poverty among disadvantaged older people.

For further information and a FREE fundraising pack, please contact The Big Spring Walk hotline on 020 7239 1922 or visit www.helptheaged.org.uk/walk

More information:
1. This is the second Big Spring Walk which is being repeated in April 2008 after a successful inaugural year in 2007, and is the annual national fundraising event from Help the Aged.

2. The event will see individuals walking for the Charity on 25th, 26th and 27th April. To find out more, call The Big Spring Walk hotline on 0207 239 1922 or visit www.helptheaged.org.uk/walk

3. Help the Aged is organising a series of flagship events in London and the North-West, including Hyde Park, London on Saturday 26th April, Lyme Park, Cheshire on Saturday 26th April, Carsington Water, Derbyshire on Sunday 27th April, Downham, Lancashire on Saturday 3rd May, Troutbeck, Cumbria on Monday 5th May and The Wirral Way, Merseyside on Saturday 10th May. For more information, call The Big Spring Walk hotline.

4. AbbeyÂ’s community programme covers a broad range of activity including employee fundraising, corporate donations and social sponsorship. Staff are involved in fundraising for hundreds of local and national charities, and Abbey supports a small number of these causes every year by sponsoring key events. The Abbey Charitable Trust provides donations to projects that support disadvantaged people through: education and training; local regeneration projects; and financial advice. In 2007, AbbeyÂ’s total contribution to the community was valued at ÂŁ3.2 million.

Abbey is a wholly owned subsidiary of Banco Santander Central Hispano, S.A. (“Santander”) (SAN.MC, STD.N).

Life expectancy in China continues to grow

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Bejing: Chinese people are living healthier and longer lives as medical and sanitary conditions in the country have greatly improved, according to the latest report from the Ministry of Health.

Residents’ average life expectancy, a key measurement of economic development and health care levels, increased to 73 years in 2005 from 71.4 years in 2000.

In addition, the infant mortality rate decreased to 1.53 percent in 2007 from 2.55 percent in 2003. Last year, 36.6 people per 100,000 women died during pregnancy or childbirth, compared to 51.3 women per 100,000 in 2003.

According to the report, the improvement in Chinese people’s health conditions was attributed to increased spending on medical care and enhanced medical services provided across the country in the past five years.

In 2007, China was estimated to have spent 1.05 trillion yuan (US$144.43 billion) in healthcare, accounting for 4.82 percent of the gross domestic product, with the per capita medical expenditure standing at 781 yuan.

The government is shouldering more of the medical expenditure in the past five years. Government spending, as a proportion of the country’s total medical expenses, increased by one percent from 2003 to 2006, while residents’ spending dropped 6.5 percent in the same period.

As a result of increased investment in medical care, people are able to enjoy better medical services. By the end of last year, a total of 315,000 medical institutions were established, 24,000 more than that in 2003. The number of medical practitioners, including assistant practitioners, rose to 1.56 per 1,000 people in 2007 from 1.48 per 1,000 in 2003. The number of registered nurses per 1,000 people climbed to 1.12 from one nurse during the same period.

The report adds China has made much effort to improve the public health and medical system in the past five years, covering maternity and childcare, disease prevention and medical insurance in both urban and rural areas.

Longevity accelerating, says new research

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London: Longevity is accelerating and there are more 100 year olds than ever before, according to a new report by the Cass Business School.

They say that men born in 1985 can expect to live to an average age of 91, according to a new forecast of life expectancy which concludes that all existing projections are too low.

The GovernmentÂ’s key forecast for longevity, which is also used in the pensions and life insurance industry, has seriously miscalculated how long men will live in the future, they also say.

Life expectancy is currently 76.6 years for men and 81 for women. The new research suggests that life expectancy for men born in 1985, who turn 65 in 2050, could be as high as 97 under the most optimistic scenario, although 91 is its central forecast. That is six years higher than the Office for National StatisticsÂ’ projection. The new Cass model has been applied only to men so far, but the next phase of the research will cover women.

The new calculation has serious implications for the Government and the pensions industry, who face having to pay an extra ÂŁ160,368 per person in state benefits and occupational pensions, Cass calculates.

David Blake, director of the Pensions Institute at Cass Business School, said: “Our calculations demonstrate that longevity is accelerating far beyond what is currently predicted, and there is considerable uncertainty surrounding future life expectancy. This will present a huge challenge for long-term healthcare providers and intensifies the problems faced by both government and the pensions industry. They need to update the projections they use before the pensions deficits reach catastrophic proportions.”

Professor Blake said that the Office for National Statistics had a history of underestimating new trends: “It completely underestimated the scale of the postwar baby boom, which had serious implications for the provision of schools and hospitals, and it has continually underestimated longevity of elderly people.”

The Government has voiced concerns about the ageing population and has taken some steps to make provision for more older people. The retirement age is rising from 65 to 68 by 2044. Those actions were promoted by the ONS forecast that the proportion of over65s will go from 15 per cent now to 25 per cent by 2050. However, less provision for the older population has been made in healthcare.

The new centurions

– There are about 9,000 men and women over the age of 100, but the numbers are rising by 7 per cent a year

– By 2050, more than 150,000 people will be centenarians

– The costs of treating dementia and caring for sufferers have been calculated at ÂŁ17 billion (and rising) per year

Half a million elderly abused in UK, says Help the Aged

London Half a million elderly people in the UK are suffering some form of abuse or neglect, according to Help the Aged.

A major survey by the charity claims they face physical, emotional, sexual or financial mistreatment.

But campaigners say that, despite the size of the problem, more than one-third of people have never heard of elder abuse.

And a quarter of those questioned admitted they would not know how to spot if an older person was suffering.

Help the Aged is launching a national campaign – Enough is Enough – to draw attention to the problem.

Supported by TV presenter Esther Rantzen, it aims to raise awareness of the warning signs and give advice on how to help.

Ms Rantzen told BBC News 24: “As a nation we’re not very good at valuing older people. They’re sort of detritus, they’re a bit of sort of rubbish.

“It’s all about younger people these days and when you start getting white hairs and wrinkles on your face you’ve had your time… why don’t you push off to a care home.

“If we treat older people with respect, if we value them and treat them as precious the way we regard children now, that would do a great deal to provide the comfort and protection that vulnerable old people need.”

Help the Aged says many people in Britain wrongly believe elder abuse is most likely to be carried out in care homes by professional staff.

In fact, it claims the largest proportion of abusers are related to their victim and that 64% of abuse occurs in the older person’s own home.

Paul Cann, director of policy at Help the Aged, said: “These figures signal a frightening ‘Not in my back yard’ public attitude, fuelling existing myths that abuse of older people is largely carried out in professional settings, or by primary carers and never close to home.

“We know this simply isn’t the case. Elder abuse can happen anywhere and by anyone, and is more likely to occur within the family home, by someone in a position of trust.

“If more people understood what elder abuse is and its impact on those affected, instead of treating it as a taboo, we’d be one step closer to tackling this national scandal.”

Elder abuse in the UK

46% of abusers are related to their victims
25% of abusers are sons and daughters
80-89 year olds are most at risk

A new booklet produced by Help the Aged lists tell-tale signs which concerned friends and relatives should look out for.

These include the person becoming withdrawn or depressed, changes to their appearance such as weight loss or an over-emphasis on insisting everything is fine.

Ms Rantzen added: “Elder abuse not only has a devastating effect on older people, it shocks and appals their loved ones and indeed the whole nation.

“What kind of country allows older people to suffer and looks away?”

Help the Aged is also calling for:

* a zero-tolerance approach to all forms of elder abuse

* compulsory training in the prevention and recognition of abuse for anyone working with the elderly

* elder abuse to be given the same priority as child abuse

* greater awareness among the legal profession to ensure abusers are brought to justice

To support the campaign, Help the Aged has also produced a moving documentary in which an actor tells the story of an abuse victim in her own words.

Story fromBBC News

Discrimination against older workers grows in UK

London: Britain has the second highest number of unemployed older people in Europe, according to a recent report from the main trade union body.

The Trades Union Congress (TUC) which carried out the report also demands that UK companies must ditch sterotypes of older people.

In the report the TUC reveals that more than a million job hunters in the UK in their 50s and 60s are being forced on to state aid because businesses believe they are past their prime.

According to the survey, many businesses simply refuse to hire older workers or
pay to train middle-aged staff.

Frances O’Grady, the TUC’s deputy general secretary, said: ‘ Companies need to
ditch stereotypes of 50 and 60-somethings and capitalise on the value of
experienced staff by offering retraining and flexible working.’

Euopean Union rules aimed at ending age discrimination at work will come into force in October giving those who want to keep on working beyond 65 the right to ask to stay on. But companies can turn them down without giving a reason.

By 2046, the Government wants the state pension age – currently 60 for women and 65 for men – to have gone up to 68 for everybody. But the TUC says any savings will be swallowed up by state handouts to the unemployed

Britain has one of the highest rate of older people who want to work but cannot
find a job, says the report Ready Willing and Able. Only Austria has a greater percentage among the main European economies.

US senior citizens set to double by 2030

Washington: The number of senior citizens in the US is expected to almost double within the next 25 years, says a new census report from the National Insititute on Aging.

By 2030, almost one in five Americans will be 65 or older, up from the current 12 percent.The eport does not project growth by state or county, but in 2000, Cook County had 630,265 people over 65, the second-largest elderly county in the nation, trailing only Los Angeles County. About 12 percent of Cook County residents are 65 or older.Statewide, Illinois had 1.5 million seniors, or about 12 percent of the total population. The number grew about 4 percent between 1990 and 2000.

TOP 5 CAUSES OF DEATH

FOR PEOPLE 65 AND OLDER (2000)
1. Heart disease
2. Cancer
3. Stroke
4. Chronic respiratory diseases such bronchitis, emphysema and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.
5. Pneumonia and influenza

LIFE EXPECTANCY
1900: 47
1950: 68
1960: 70
1980: 74
1990: 75
2000: 77

It’s a baby boomer-fueled phenomenon, as the oldest begin to turn 65 in 2011. The growth will affect several facets of America, from family life to health care to public policy, note the authors of the report, “65 + in the United States: 2005.”

The growth likely will be expensive, as the ratio of younger, working people supporting older people shrinks, the researchers say. In 2000, there was one older person for every five working-age people; in 2030, there will be one older person for every three workers.

Other findings include the fact that Americans are living longer the average is now 77 years. The population older than 85 has almost doubled since 1980.

The health of older Americans is generally improving – in 1982, about 26 percent of senior citizens reported having a disability; in 1999, that dropped to about 20 percent. Many have quit smoking. But obesity is on the rise: 33 percent of men and 39 percent of senior women. And about 80 percent of seniors say they have at least one chronic health problem.

Tomorrow’s retirees will be better educated, which has been linked to longer life expectancy and health.

*Finances: About 10 percent of Americans over 65 were living in poverty in 2003, a significant improvement from 1959, when 35 percent were officially poor. (Of all American age groups, 12.5 percent live below the poverty level.)

About 19 percent are in the labor force; that number is projected to increase.

*Living alone: More seniors are divorced, mirroring American society as a whole. In 1960, only about 1.5 percent of senior Americans were divorced, but by 2003, that number grew to about 8 percent.

The median income for older households was $36,006 in 2003, though that number drops by half for elderly living alone, including widowers. More than one out of three women over 65 in Illinois live alone.

About half of the people over 65 need assistance with everyday activities. Marriage creates a larger social network of relatives and friends who can provide vital support at older ages, the researchers say.