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Issue Date:- 28 July 2008


OLDER people in the North West are being robbed of the chance to play an active part in society because they can’t access new skills through adult education according to leading older people’s charity Help the Aged. New research shows that 7 out of 10 North West older people are put off attending adult education courses because of the threat of crime when they go out, while 4 out of 10 people aged 65 and over in the North West struggle due to lack of transport or high course fees. More than half of North West older people think there is inadequate information about available courses.   A new Help the Aged report, Learning for Living: Helping to prevent social exclusion among older people, warns that unless older people are able to further their skills and learn new ones, there is a danger that they will become more and more excluded from society. With more than 1/3rd of older people saying they feel out of touch with modern life, the Charity is calling for all Government departments to recognise that older people need skills to play an active role in society and ensure these are made available to them.

Amy Swan, Policy Officer for Help the Aged, says:- “Education and learning new skills are incredibly important for people of all ages, but all too often older people are left behind. Barriers such as lack of transport, fear of crime or high course fees make it very difficult for older people to access courses that will help them keep up to date with changes in modern life.”

The Help the Aged research also shows that:-

* 72% of  older people in the North West want adult education courses to cover how to stay healthy and active as you get older;

* 55% of people aged 65 and over in the North West are interested in understanding new technology including the internet and digital television;

* 58% of older people in the North West want courses giving financial advice and tips on managing money;

* 42% of North West older people are interested in learning about how the social care system works.

Amy Swan continues:- “It’s not surprising that older people want to learn how to manage their finances, keep up with advancements in technology and how to stay fit and healthy as they get older – these are all skills that will help prevent them being brushed aside by society.  Social exclusion affects a huge number of older people, leaving them feeling not only unneeded but unwanted. But with a bit of political will and better communication across government departments, it is possible to prevent older people becoming isolated by ensuring they can access the skills they need to keep up with modern life.”

Help the Aged is calling for:-

* The Department for Innovation, Universities and Skills (DIUS) to put pressure on other government departments to recognise the skills older people need to prevent isolation and exclusion, for example financial literacy, ICT skills and health management;

* Public authorities to consider the impact of any proposed policy changes on older people - identifying if there is a need for skills and providing budget where necessary;

* DIUS to invest in an effective adult learning infrastructure; provide fully funded learning officers in every locality; a learning portal for information; and learning vouchers to support groups wanting to organise their own learning.

The Help the Aged Learning for Life campaign encouraged older people to respond to the recent Informal Adult Learning consultation. Nearly 650 responses collated by the Charity were presented to Culture Minister David Lammy in June.

For a copy of Learning for Living:- Helping to prevent social exclusion among older people, please go online


GROUND-BREAKING research from Canderel reveals a new breed of sexy, independent and blissful 40+ year old women in the UK, breaking the norm and embracing the lives of 20somethings.  Dubbed Generation-H, (Generation Happy) a staggering 85% would not cut costs on cosmetic surgery, despite the current economy.

Canderel commissioned The Future Laboratory to conduct a state-of-the-nation, with a focus on the NW, challenging the thoughts and revealing the lives of women in their 40’s and 50’s.  The staggering results defy traditional views of this generation and show that up-for-it ladies of this age are as likely to be dancing till dawn like 20somethings as attending the regular coffee morning in the UK.  This challenges the traditional views of women in this age group, as a sense of duty towards family and friends has changed from all-consuming compared to 42% now.  Girl power reigns in the SW, with a giant 61% of SW ladies feel they are in control of their own lives.

Socialising:- Not satisfied with staying in and making sure the household chores are complete, 71% will be found in the local wine bar with friends.  49% of those who are single are mirroring the Sex and the City lifestyle, of actress Kim Cattrall (52) and using speed dating to meet potential partners.

While looking after home is a given, even for busy professionals over half of Generation-His likely to be found gossiping on the internet and found embracing new ways to have fun with a vigor more akin to their daughters social habits.  These chummy mummiesare see in Generation-H, like Sarah Ferguson, Duchess of York (49) and Kate Middleton’s mother are likely to be hitting the dance-floors with their daughters.

Finance:- Despite being the most concerned region in the UK of the negative state of the economy, women in the SW are still the least likely to give up the latestmust-have Feni bag, with 30%, not willing to give up their fashion habits.

Health and fitness:- Following in the footsteps of celebrities such as Madonna (50) and Sharon Stone (50)Generation-H are health addicts – 21% of NW gym bunnies would give up their membership cards before fashion or travel.

Life is delicious if cooking from scratch, with over half preferring to prepare food this way.  2/3rds deem themselves as health conscious in the UK, 15% never buy food without checking the calorie content and 1 in 4 seek out local produce.  Healthy experiences are accented with pleasurable experiences – an overwhelming 85% indulge in sweet things.   Compelling statistics reveal they believe (46%) women should not conform to set life-stages and over 40% feel they should have more time to themselves – underlining their independent and free-spirited attitude.

Tom Savigar, Strategy and Insight Director from the Future Laboratory comments:- “Generation-H are a breed of women that are breaking the norm, focusing more on themselves than ever before.  They aren’t afraid to get out, experiment and do what is necessary to look after themselves, especially their health.”

A spokesperson for Canderel comments:- “Generation-H has an ability to look on the bright side, they are taking control of their lives and embracing what life throws at them.  The findings challenge the preconceived attitudes of society towards women in their 40s and 50s as being safe and set in their ways.  As Canderel celebrates its 25th anniversary, it’s poignant that a new generation of women have been defined as independent, comfortable in their own skin and above all know what they want and how to get it!"

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