Happiness is not in the mere possession of money; it lies in the joy of achievement, in the thrill of creative effort.
Posted: August 31st, 2011 | Author: admin | Filed under: About retirement - Howard Croft, Health | No Comments »
I have always found the notion of the perfectibility of man implausible, and possibly dangerous, and I am staggered that politicians believe that human beings can be moved closer to perfection by legislation.
This has been going on for as long as I can remember, but the latest bout of this nonsense, coming from the LibDem wing of the Government of all places, is particularly crass. The plan is to tax “bad” or unhealthy food and in doing so tackle the obesity epidemic.
I have always taken the view that the only purpose of taxation should be to raise revenue, and that attempts to use it to change people’s behaviour is both unfair and bound to fail. Taxes on tobacco and alcohol have increased steeply over recent decades, with every increase being followed by a temporary dip in consumption. Tobacco consumption has fallen since the sixties, largely as a result of social pressure, health awareness and changing attitudes. It has taken two generations. Even recent legislation outlawing smoking in various places has done little more than move smokers to other locations. We have seen the preposterous spectacle of council officers, accompanied by police officers, stopping cars on the M11 in attempts to catch people smoking in company cars, which is illegal.
Laws should be easy to apply, enforceable, and generally regarded as sensible. So how will they, the zealous food police, go about implementing this new idea? Their first problem will be to identify the target foods, and to set a level of taxation that might deter their consumption. This will be difficult, because almost any food could be so categorised. Fish and chips, I suppose, might be first up, along with burgers and fries, and most people would agree that any diet that consists predominantly of these dishes is an unhealthy one, but in the context of a balanced diet they are unexceptionable. And this is the point – there no are bad foods, only bad diets. There is no way of knowing which people are eating cod and chips three or four times a week and which eat them occasionally, on a trip to the seaside or on bonfire night, say. Would a 10% – or even a 20% – tax on a fish supper convert the former to fresh fruit and grilled chicken, and even if it would why should the five-a-day enthusiasts who fancy a trip to the fish shop a few times a year be fiscally coerced?
And what about those tasty cheesecakes from Waitrose – would Mrs Clegg be happy to see them hammered too, for surely three or four of those a week would turn you into a porker in no time? And what about profiteroles, and soft French cheeses? I suspect that there’s a bit of a class thing going on. We see it in other areas – planning for example. In the fifties and sixties TV aerials sprang up first and mainly in prosperous residential areas because televisions were very expensive, so much so that people without the funds for a telly would scrape together enough cash for an aerial only, which would proclaim to the neighbours that you were doing well. Now it’s satellite dishes, which are commonly found in poorer residential areas such as council estates, and attitudes have changed – they are seen as infra dig, a sign that you watch too much telly, not “one of us”. Try getting planning permission for a dish in a conservation area (and you will need it) and you’ll see what I mean, but you don’t even need permission for a TV aerial, because watching Channel Four News and Panorama is OK. It will be working class foods that will take the hits.
I assume that the lawyers in the Civil Service will try to warn the politicians about the problems they face in taxing bad food, but you cannot be sure – after all, such complex and unenforceable legislation will require many lawyers for many years. Pity Arnold “Two Dinners” Goodman isn’t still around to talk sense on this one.
Posted: August 24th, 2011 | Author: admin | Filed under: Care, Legal - employment, Wills, Lasting Powers of Attorney | 1 Comment »
Paying for nursing home or care home fees is a big worry for many people.
Typically, the worries are:
>Spending all one’s savings on fees.
>Having to sell one’s home to pay for the fees.
>Not having enough money.
>Protecting savings and house against claims from the local authority.
There are no easy answers. This really is an occasion when you should get good advice tailored to your specific circumstances.
You need expert advice because of the interplay between the individual’s own and the family’s financial resources and commitments, benefits available from the state, pension provision, care home fee levels, likely changes to those fees in the future and the health outlook for the individual concerned.
For many people, the first person they turn to is a financial advisor.
Although often a good place to start, beware those advisors who are simply looking to sell an expensive financial products or who suggest a simplistic solution like “putting the assets into a trust”, to protect assets from the local authority.
Any individual who gives away assets with a view to avoiding a present or later contribution towards care home fees will be assessed by the local authority on the basis that the disposition of assets had not been made. In other words, there are strict rules designed specifically to prevent people giving away assets so as to avoid contributing towards their care home fees.
It is important to remember that the rules have not been designed to be fair or morally right. They are simply designed to protect the state’s financial resources.
Remember to ask your financial advisor if he or she is qualified to give advice on care home fee provision. Not every financial advisor is authorised to give such advice.
Make sure you talk to your solicitor. Again not all solicitors are experienced in this work. Ask, and if you are not convinced, go elsewhere. Your solicitor should be to give you proper independent advice and is well placed to ensure all aspects of the situation are looked at properly.
Generally, the earlier you start to make plans the more options there are. No one particularly likes to contemplate their health deteriorating to the point where they need support but for many individuals, annual care home fees in excess of £35,000 or more, will quickly eat into capital and threaten financial hardship.
Finally, it is important that you only seek advice from individuals who are properly qualified to advise and who you completely trust. It is a sad fact of life that there are many people who prey on elderly people and take advantage of them, particularly where there is no supportive family. It is surprising how many elderly people in their final years find themselves alone and are then very vulnerable to individuals who strike up friendships with them and take advantage.
To conclude! Plan early and get good advice from people you trust.
If you would like more information, then David would be happy to give a consultation for a set fee. To book an appointment, please email Marketing Manager, Maureen Edwards at email@example.com
David Edwards is Managing Partner and Head of Private Client at Burt Brill & Cardens, a well-known firm of Brighton solicitors specialising in looking after people and their businesses. He is also a member of STEP the worldwide organization for specialist Private Client practitioners and is currently President of Sussex Law Society. For more information about David or Burt Brill & Cardens visit www.bbc-law.co.uk
Posted: August 23rd, 2011 | Author: admin | Filed under: Designing for the Future Competition - University of Brighton, Inclusive design | 2 Comments »
What if your inhaler was made out of sterling silver or your pill dispenser looked like a beautiful necklace? Would you be less likely to leave them at home? Student designer Hanna Mawbey from the University of Brighton has been researching whether carefully designed, aesthetically pleasing medical equipment can bring about a stronger attachment in the user and make the devices desirable objects in themselves.
Medical condition: Asthma
Objective: improve appearance, whilst maintaining functionality.
An asthmatic patient Hanna interviewed described their inhaler as “embarrassing” meaning they often forgot to take it with them, risking an asthma attack. This inhaler is made from sterling silver, turning embarrassment into pride and creating a personal attachment with a mundane object.
Pill Box Necklace
Medical condition: Heart Disease
Objective: encourage wearer to carry medications with them at all times.
A patient with Coronary Heart Disease described how they needed to take a lot of medications every day. They were forgetful and found it difficult to remember which order to take the medicine in. With this attractive pendant necklace, the medicines can be stored in the order they need to be taken.
Medical condition: Multiple Sclerosis
Objective: provide a discreet way of controlling arm tremors.
Heavy bracelets replace shop bought wrist weights as a discreet and fashionable way to control tremors in the arms. Made in response to a person with Multiple Sclerosis, the bracelets enable the wearer to choose whether or not to disclose their ’disability’ to others, whilst at the same time controlling arm tremors.
Hanna Mawbey is about to start her fourth (BA Hons) year studying MDes 3D Materials Practice at the University of Brighton Faculty of Arts. She recently showcased her work along with work from the “Designing for the Future” Competition at BSRA Science of Ageing Conference.
Posted: August 15th, 2011 | Author: admin | Filed under: Grandparents, Health, New products!, Product reviews | Comments Off
Know you have to exercise but finding it increasingly difficult? Want to improve your mobility but finding it hard to take traditional exercise? Want to buy an exercise DVD for a less agile parent or grandparent?. Then Move It or Lose It! is for you!
Easy to follow, from the comfort of a chair, these exercises set to toe-tapping classical music take less than one hour to do and increase strength, flexibility and mobility.
Endorsed by the Centre for Healthy Active Ageing Research and with no lycra in sight, the Move It or Lose It! DVD will help keep your body flexible, well co-ordinated and improve the strength of core muscles required to maintain good balance and prevent falls.
Hundreds of people of all ages, abilities and with many conditions such as arthritis, osteoporosis and heart disease have improved their confidence and returned to weight bearing activities as a result of Move It or Lose It! :
“l had my knee replacement surgery on 3rd Feb and was able to come home on 9th Feb with just the aid of a walking stick. l am convinced that all the exercises l undertook before going into hospital gave me this result. l walk unaided in the house and have already taken two short walks out of the home with just the stick without any effort at all. Keep up the good work!”
“I have lymphoedema in both legs and was looking for a set of exercises that would help circulation without too much strain being put on the joints. I have recommended the DVD to other lymphoedema sufferers.”
“I think it is great and my mom has recently used it at home with my dad. Mom has had an operation and couldn’t come to a class so it was good to get dad doing it at home with her. I think it is a great DVD and will recommend it to others.”
“I bought the DVD for my mother who lives in semi warden controlled accommodation. My mother (80) and her 8 neighbours use the DVD every week for their weekly exercise session, their ages range from 75-93 and they get enormous enjoyment and benefit from it. If you release a further DVD let me know!”
The DVD is the brainchild of Julie Robinson (B.Ed in Physical Education, NVQ II and III in chair based exercises and Extend) who is a specialist teacher of exercise for older or less able people of any age and runs a network of classes in the Midlands area.
“The idea for this DVD comes from my clients who are in their 50s, 60s, 70s, 80s and 90s. From people in community centres to care homes, from Age Concern projects to hospice courses, so many people have said they want to follow the routines at home but can’t remember what to do. So the first Move It or Lose It! routine is aimed at those who need gentle but progressive exercise so they can improve their strength, mobility and confidence.
These exercises can re-introduce people to exercise, encourage people to move more regularly and help to maintain their independence as they are able to cope with their everyday activities.
I am frequently contacted by the people who are concerned about their parents or grandparents as they are worried about their physical decline as they age. They know they need to exercise but don’t know what to do and cannot always get out to join a class. The Move It or Lose It! DVD brings the exercise class to their living room, encouraging them to keep on moving just like the people in the DVD.”
Click here for details of how to buy the Move It or Lose It! DVD with FREE Exercise Band
Posted: August 15th, 2011 | Author: admin | Filed under: About retirement - Howard Croft | No Comments »
Hearing aid-sporting men everywhere were stunned and alarmed by reports by UK research findings published in the ENT journal The Laryngoscope linking hearing loss to consumption of Viagra, the little blue pill invented by those clever Americans to boost their fading stamina. Bootleg supplies quickly found their way across the Atlantic, concealed in the briefcases of jaded British businessmen with $8 a pill to spare. The rest is history, but not all of it stimulating according to researchers at London’s Charing Cross Hospital who were quickly on the case. Early hearing loss has often been attributed to frequent transatlantic flights, and now we know why.
It seems that the hearing loss can be temporary, or it can be permanent. It can afflict both ears, or just the one. So that narrows things down.
As one who wears silver prawn-like devices tucked behind the ears I understand only too well the concerns of the “innocent deaf”, who until these findings could pass unremarked as they sloped round the shops looking for bargains. Now they are in danger of being stalked, followed home even, by unhappy housewives who, having spotted the nifty devices behind the ear, draw faulty conclusions and see them as alluring signals, see a causal connection where none exists – necessarily.
What is to be done? My solution is simple. The “innocent deaf” should continue to be issued with the silver jobbies, but the pill-popping jet-setters should be obliged instead to wear models coloured Viagra blue, a modern mark of Cain, that will clearly distinguish them from the shy merely deaf. But I fear that such a strategy would be denounced as stigmatising, a violation of someone’s human rights. But whose?
If you see a group of old guys conducting a shouted conversation outside Waitrose you can be sure that they have plenty of air miles and an optimistic view of what lies ahead. Outside Morrison’s they will have the anxious, haunted look of men who have never been further than Bridlington on an East Yorkshire bus and a fear of flying. I think the RIND should be all over this problem.
Posted: August 8th, 2011 | Author: admin | Filed under: About retirement - Howard Croft | Comments Off
After our local district council dished out planning consent to Lidl and Aldi to build supermarkets, both within a few hundred yards of existing Netto and Morrison’s stores, it continued to press on with a hugely unpopular proposal to to flog a large car park (itself unpopular thanks to the high charges fixed by the council) for a cool £5m to accommodate yet another supermarket. Local rumour had it that the council had been in cahoots with Sainsbury’s, strongly denied by the council. That’s five supermarkets for a population of about fifteen thousand.
The aspiration is for Malton to become a regional, even national shopping destination. I can see it now – people in Bolton waking up on a Saturday morning and saying, “What shall we do today? I know, let’s go shopping in Malton.” Then jumping in their cars and making a two hundred mile round trip, with petrol at six quid a gallon, to do the weekly shop in a small market town they’ve never heard of, avoiding York and Harrogate, which they have, in their excitement to reach us.
Now, Malton is a splendid place where I shop every day, seldom feeling the need to go to York or Harrogate, except to buy out of the way items such as a new wig, or a pair of spats, but we should try to stay real. Anyway, recent events have been interesting. Lidl opened, and appears to be struggling, as does Netto judging by their car parks; Aldi has announced that it will not now proceed with its plan. And, here’s the kicker, Sainsbury’s have withdrawn its interest in the car park scheme, which the council was of course unaware of, but revealed that it is exploring another possible council-owned site elsewhere in the town. We await unconvincing denials.
This situation is not unique to Malton. East Hertfordshire District Council is proposing to sell off its car parks in Bishop’s Stortford, a larger and more prosperous town than Malton, for an even cooler£100m to enable a retail development at the heart of which will be – a supermarket. Again, there is fierce local opposition from existing retailers and people who live and work in the town because they will have nowhere to park, and anyway they think they’ve got enough supermarkets.
But the council’s real problem is coming from its own employees at its headquarters, which are located in the town. It seems that council workers, who by “custom and practice” are allowed to park free in the council car parks that are slated for sale and will have to make alternative, expensive arrangements. It looks like the pen pushers and blotter jotters may have more clout than the rate-payers, and suggestions are being made that they may be able to park free under a deal with the developer. Things are explosive among the townsfolk who had hitherto been unaware of this valuable perquisite available only civil servants.
Back to Malton. I don’t know what will happen. I predicted the withdrawal of Aldi, but not that of Sainsbury’s. Netto will not close, although it is hardly thriving, because it is to be remodelled as a full blown Asda (who own it), but I predict that Lidl will. As for Sainsbury’s, who knows? But I think we may keep our car park.
Posted: August 7th, 2011 | Author: admin | Filed under: Offers and competitions | No Comments »
Have you ever wanted to jump out of an airplane, go sky diving or sing with a big band? Well, here’s your chance!! The nice people at Stannah Stairlifts have agreed that between 8 and 22 August 2011 (inclusive) one of YOU will have the chance to win the opportunity of a lifetime with the “Think Again” Fund.
The “Think Again” Fund was launched in 2006 after a poll conducted amongst the over 50s revealed that two thirds of the participants regretted not having pursued their dreams when they were younger.
Since then one lucky person has been selected at random each month for the chance to take part in adventures and experiences which may never have been realised without the “Think Again” Fund. Last year Honora Morrissey (62) from London dived to new depths fulfilling her dream to complete a SCUBA diving course; Bryan Hyman (57) pushed his boundaries to the extreme on a survival course in the British wilderness; cycling teacher June Smith (73) achieved her lifelong dream of cycling on a professional velodrome; and John Ritchie (84) proved that age is no barrier when he learnt to fly a helicopter.
For more information about previous winners and details of how to apply CLICK HERE
Make sure you mention The Future Perfect Company in the “What have YOU always wanted to do, and WHY?” box!!
So what are you waiting for? It’s never too late to fulfil your dreams!! CLICK HERE TO APPLY. Good luck!