The Retirement Show 2010 at Olympia last weekend was its usual, sometimes startling, mix of opportunity (travel, park homes, dancing and painting lessons) and health (information about bowel cancer, diabetes) with some financial planning from the Show’s main sponsor (Prudential) thrown in.
Highlights this year for me were:
The Financial Services Authority has produced a really useful “Guide to Retirement” which promises “No selling. No jargon. Just the facts”. It aims to demystify the financial side of moving from work into retirement, explaining the steps and the choices you can make and covering topics such as pensions. entitlement, tax, saving, heathcare and bereavement. Call the FSA Moneymadeclear Helpline 0300 500 5000 for a copy or visit http://www.moneymadeclear.org.uk/
2. Fulfil your lifelong dream
Stannah, the stairlift company, have launched the Stannah Think Again Fund which is open to anyone over 50 who wants to fulfil a lifelong dream. Previous winners have included Barbara Hawthorne, 76 who fulfilled her lifelong ambition of taking to the skies and learning how to fly. Tess McMahon, 56, spent a day learning how to surf and Derek Davenport, 86, bravely jumped out of a plane at 12000 feet. Johnny Sheehan, 64, turned his dream into a reality by funding his first ever play. Apply online at http://thinkagainfund.stannahstairlifts.co.uk/
3. Artists’ materials
As our local artist and craft supplies shops has recently closed down, The SAA (Society for All Artists) catalogue caught my eye. A comprehensive 163 pages of quality painting and drawing materials plus books, DVDs and courses. There are impressive discounts for members. For more information, visit http://www.saa.co.uk/ which includes details of the dedicated TV channel and members’ gallery.
4. Fashion Show
One of the more unexpected highlights of the afternoon was the fashion show by charity, Sue Ryder Care featuring donated clothes charmingly modelled by volunteers. As my student companion commented “ The clothes were surprisingly fashionable and well put together” (which, I might add, is praise indeed from that quarter!).
5. And finally
The climbing wall. A new addition to this year’s show, sponsored by www.laterlife.com, the climbing wall certainly proved a talking point and whilst no-one was daring to scale its heights whilst I was there, I understand that several brave souls did have a go.
The Retirement Show is still a relative newcomer to the exhibition calender and is to a certain extent still finding its feet. I would have liked to have seen more technology on offer, a chance to play with the Ipad for instance and some more examples of the latest telecare solutions. I do like the “have a go” ethos, whether it’s scaling the climbing wall or trying out the samba or watercolours. Walking round a park home, does make you think whether this is the sort of place you might want to live or holiday in.
Did you go to the Retirement Show? What did you think?
The PURÉ masher designed by Alexandra Blischke, features a unique wrist support which alleviates stress on the hand by supporting the wrist during the mashing process and also protects the wrist from heat, steam and splashes. Stabilising the wrist also encourages force to be applied from the shoulder reducing damage to the more susceptible and fragile joints, making it a good design for old and young alike.
The design for the PURÉ handle allows it to be used in both a standing or sitting position without jeopardising the efficiency and support of the masher. A carefully researched ergonomic design fits a vast variety of hand sizes. Synthetic rubber anti-slip details make sure the wrist is comfortably supported, and the hand does not not slip whilst mashing. Its waterproof materials are dishwasher safe.
The spiral mashing element provides the optimum mashing surface requiring significantly less strength. Its balanced and curved surface area provides the least resistance, encouraging the flow of food through the unit giving smooth and lump- free mash.
According to Alexandra, ”The masher will bring back the joy of manual tasks and instil the user with a sense of strength and independence to once again tackle a task that previously seemed daunting”.
It’s good to see new designers tackling some of the challenges of getting older and producing products which are not only useful but look attractive too.
What do you think?
Welcome to our Summer sale where we are offering 20% off all Green People skincare products.
Green People is an award winning, leading UK organic skincare company committed to offering products that are 100% natural, certified organic and highly effective.
Treat yourself or someone special to the Weekend Pamper kit, reduced from £20 to £16. Pamper your skin and indulge your senses with pure, exotic blends of precious organic oils. Contains 5ml sizes of the Hydrating Cleanser, Firming Facial Gel, Revitalising Face & Neck Serum 5ml and Rejuvenating Facial Oil.
Or how about the Reviving Day and Night Cream (reduced to £13.20)?. This luxurious natural moisturizer is bursting with organic actives for antioxidant and anti-wrinkle action, helping to nourish and revive your skin. Beautifully scented with light floral and citrus tones, this deliciously rich day and night cream will leave your skin feeling pampered and glowing.
Everyone needs a good handcream and Help at Hand from Green People (reduced to £5.99) is light and non greasy with a delicate perfume of rose geranium and lavender.
And for those hot summer days, keep cool with this Toning Facial Mist (reduced to £15.16), fantastic after a long flight and perfect kept in the fridge as a cooling mist.
Tempted? Visit http://www.thefutureperfectcompany.com/ for more Summer offers and original gift ideas.
Tuesday saw the first Open Night for Big Society Network, the organisation which appears to have evolved out of David Cameron’s “Big Society” vision (although the organisers claim that it pre-dates the election).
In a very hot room at the bottom of the Communities and Local Government Department building in Victoria, about 150 people met to talk about, and start to define, the Big Society. The event brought together community groups, Government Departments, social enterprises and a number of civil society and new governance organisations such as the Democratic Society and FutureGov. It was a self-selected group, partly because of the short notice.
So what’s it all about? According to chief executive Paul Twivy, the Big Society is a society in which individuals feel engaged. At the moment, only 4 out of 10 of people believe that they can influence local decisions. Only 1 in 33 attend public meetings. Only a minority of people volunteer. Moreover, people feel “anger and frustration at the recent behaviour of both the City and Westminster and relatively powerless to change them”.
The Big Society Network is an organisation being set up as a partner to Government to help people achieve change in their local area. “It aims to create a new relationship between citizens and Government in which both are genuine partners in getting things done: real democracy using all the human and technological tools we now have available. This partnership will also add a third and fourth leg to its sturdy chair by involving business and the voluntary sector.
As well as helping you get things done as an individual, we also want to help you meet up with other people in your area with the aim of discussing what you want to share and change together in order to make your neighbourhood stronger, safer and more enjoyable.”
Some of the Big Society values are already being translated into Government policy, for example – parents being able to set up own schools and the 5000 expert volunteers programme.
However, The Big Society Network is proposing to go further and create the largest co-operative or mutual in Britain in which every citizen can be a shareholder (for a nominal yearly fee) and as such will be able to contribute, receive help and rewards.
The Big Society’s Network first big idea is “Your Square Mile” which is about enabling people to make changes in the square mile where they live and/or work.
Paul Twivy expects people’s initial reactions to range from sceptical to hostile and acknowledges the concern that The Big Society Network could be seen as a mask for coalition cuts on public spending but called on everyone to work together to make the idea work.
Talking to some of the people who went to the event, it is clear that the Open Night raised as many questions as it answered. There was a great deal of enthusiasm for positive social change but at the same time concern about how The Big Society Network would fit with existing structures and projects, whether people could actually be encouraged to volunteer more in their local communities and above all, how it would be funded.
What do you think?
For more information including speaker’s videos , visit David Wilcox’s excellent blog http://socialreporter.com/?p=951
Firhall, built in 2003 outside Nairn in the Highlands, is billed as “a new direction in modern country living”. The village caters primarily for those people over 45 years old who “no longer have the same direct commitment to their families” and who now wish to enjoy an active relaxed lifestyle where others handle maintenance and management responsibility. Most controversially, this means that no resident children are permitted.
Grandchildren and the children of friends can visit and stay, but there are limits on how often this happens.
Yesterday, BBC Radio 4’s Far From the Madding Child, presenter Kati Whitaker looked at how things have turned out since Firhall opened, asking if it is desirable, or even practical, to encourage the sort of settlements where older people are segregated from the rest of society.
Residents say Firhall offers peace and quiet; one resident admitted to not liking “children’s noise”.
Estate agent Lesley-Ann Fraser told the programme-makers of the media’s initial reaction to the development, saying “The media hyped it up to such an extent you would really think anybody who wanted to live in a village like this was an ogre and they hated children”.
David Eccles, chairman of Firhall Trust, said in reality nothing could be further from the truth. He said many of those who chose to live in the village have grandchildren and the youngsters were always welcome to visit. Mr Eccles added: “Living here gives a certain measure of peace and quiet which is what many of us look forward to as we are getting older.”
What do you think? One quick look at the village website http://www.caledonianretreats.co.uk reveals that Firhall is indeed a beautiful place – well built, well maintained houses and apartments are set amongst immaculate landscaped grounds amidst the stunning Highlands scenery. It is not difficult to see why people would choose to live here. And the emphasis on an active lifestyle and choice in retirement is very alluring.
However, to me there is something rather discomforting about the segregation of any part of society. I am not sure how I would feel if my children’s grandparents chose to live somewhere like Firhall where the brochure talks of residents who “no longer have the same direct commitment to their families”. As the number of people getting older rises and public funds become ever more diminished, families are likely to have to fall back on their own resources and the incidence of intergenerational dependency will rise. It may become desirable or necessary for the generations to live together to share resources, including childcare but also the care of an older person. But a village like Firhall allows no such flexibility.
I am also rather intrigued by the 45 year age requirement. Not only does this seem very young to “no longer have a direct commitment to your family” but as women increasingly have children later in life, this could mean accepting a “no children” lifestyle before your child bearing years are over.
Interested to hear what you think.