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Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Girls now eight times more likely to live to 100 than 80 years ago

A baby girl born today is eight times more likely to live to 100 than one born 80 years ago, government figures have indicated.
The analysis also shows that 20 year-olds are three times more likely to reach 100 than their grandparents, and twice as likely as their parents.

The rapidly ageing population in the UK suggests that by 2066 there will be half a million people aged 100 or more.

Ministers will use the information to argue that reform of pensions is vital and more people must take provision for their retirement seriously.

Lord McFall of Alcluith, the former chairman of the Treasury select committee, published a report into retirement schemes and said workers planning to retire after 2020 faced a “bleak old age”.

Ministers will highlight the change in life expectancy and why people’s perceptions of what they need to do for retirement has to change.

Steve Webb, the pensions minister, said: “These figures show just how great the differences in life expectancy between generations really are.

“The dramatic speed at which life expectancy is changing means that we need to radically rethink our perceptions about our later lives. We simply can’t look to our grandparents’ experience of retirement as a model for our own. We will live longer and we will have to save more. “

The figures from the Department for Work and Pensions show that women have a far greater chance of reaching 100 than men.

A man born in 1931 only has a 2.5 per cent chance of reaching 100, while a woman has a 5.1 per cent chance. But the rapidly changing life expectancy is reflected in the statistics for 2011. A girl born this year has a 33.7 per cent chance of reaching 100, while a boy has a 26 per cent chance of doing so.

The figures also show that a boy born in 1961 has a 10 per cent chance of reaching his centenary, while a girl born in the same year has a 16 per cent chance of living to 100.

A man born in 1991 has a 19.2 per cent of getting to 100, while a woman has a greater chance at 26.5 per cent.

Actuarial estimates of life expectancy, which guide pension calculations, are often underestimates which cause problems when people plan for their retirement.

The report by Lord McFall said the “golden generation” of retirement schemes was coming to an end — 14?million workers will retire with pensions far smaller than their parents’.

Lord McFall, who is chairman of the independent Workplace Retirement Income Commission, found that almost three quarters of private sector staff would be unable to “adequately exist” when they retired due to a low level of savings.

It is in stark contrast to those retiring now. Figures show that the net income of today’s pensioners has grown by 47 per cent in real terms since 1999.

Lord McFall said: “A golden sunset is giving way to a bleak dawn.”

A chart released by the DWP details the chances of each age group reaching 100. It shows that the chances decrease each year as you grow older, but then start getting better again from the age of 83.

At 83, you have on average a 7.2 per cent chance of getting to three figures. At 85, the chances are 7.4 per cent; at 90 it is 9.3 per cent and if you survive until 99, your chance of reaching 100 is 67.6 per cent.

Glasgow Royal Infirmary protest at PFI parking fee hike

Health workers at a Glasgow hospital are staging a protest later over a 113% increase in parking fees.The monthly cost of a permit for the multi-storey at Glasgow Royal Infirmary (GRI) has risen from £42 to £89.50.

Parking fees at most Scottish hospitals were abolished in 2009 but remained at three sites where car parks were built under Labour’s Private Finance Initiative (PFI) .

NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde said a limited number of £25 permits were available for staff who needed cars.

The multi-storey car park, which opened in 2005, is owned by Impreglio Car Parking and managed by Apcoa under contract to the health board.

Approximately 940 subsidised permits are issued with priority given to staff such as consultants who need to travel between different sites.

Other staff can apply for these permits, but demand outstrips availability and not all applicants are successful.

At the time, Scottish Health Secretary Nicola Sturgeon urged health boards to limit and reduce the charges until the contracts came to an end.

In September, the issue was raised in the Scottish parliament by Glasgow Kelvin MSP Sandra White.

She was told that the first minister sympathised with the staff, but the Scottish Government was bound by the terms of the PFI agreement signed by the previous Labour administration.

A spokeswoman for NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde said: “Unfortunately, as the car park is privately-owned, we do not have any control over any tariff increases that Impreglio choose to make.”

Health effects of holidays fade within fortnight

The beneficial effects of a holiday on health and wellbeing fade out within just a fortnight of coming home, according to psychologists.
Research has found that workers return to the office happier, healthier and with more energy, particularly if their in-tray hasn’t built up too much in their absence, and are even better at solving problems.

However the improvements in a holidaymaker’s mood start to fade within the first week back, even before their suntans do, and after two weeks they are just as tired as they were before they jetted off.

But rather than giving up on holidays as a waste of time and money, academics say the solution – which may prove rather costly as well as unpopular with employers – is for staff to take time off more often.

Jessica de Bloom, a researcher in health psychology at Radboud University in the Netherlands, said: “Although the beneficial effects fade out quickly, not having any holidays/vacations would probably be very problematic because the strain would accumulate over time.

“Vacations give people the opportunity to (re)connect to family, partner and friends. They help us to ‘refill our batteries’, remain productive and perform on high levels.

“The fact that the after-effects are short-lived only emphasises that we should go on a vacation more frequently in order to keep our levels of health and well-being high.”

Her findings feature in a review by The Psychologist, the publication of The British Psychological Society, of existing studies on the mental and physical effects of taking a break from work.

She measured the well-being 96 Dutch workers two weeks before they went away, while they were on holiday, and for several weeks after their return.

Although the workers came back refreshed, most of the benefits faded away within the first week they were back at their desks and the longest-lasting effect, on fatigue, was gone after a fortnight.

Separate research involving 131 German teachers found that the benefits of taking a two-week Easter break – in feeling less tired and more engaged with work – had gone after a month, although the effects faded more slowly among those who were able to relax after school.

Other studies have found that getting away from it all can make trigger “leisure sickness”, with 3 to 4 per cent of those questioned claiming they suffered from illnesses more on holidays and weekends than at work. One researcher has even suggested that going away in a car and staying in a tent are linked to increase risk of heart attacks among people with existing problems.

But for those who only have a small amount of annual leave to take, and not enough money to go somewhere exotic, all is not lost.

Several studies have shown that the length of a holiday is not important and that happy memories will linger even if not every day is filled with excitement or relaxation.

Simon Kemp at the University of Canterbury in New Zealand, questioning 49 holidaymakers, found that the mood of their “most memorable or unusual” 24 hours away set the tone for their overall memory of the vacation.

The “rosy-view effect” has also shown that people anticipate and recall holidays more than they actually enjoy them as they occur, since they forget the minor irritations at the airport or the hotel.

And when 26 German and Danish families were asked about their favourite parts of a trip by a researcher at Aalborg University, a common answer among parents and children was the simple act of sitting down together to enjoy an ice cream.

Health lottery launched to raise £50 million

A new health lottery is launched today with the aim of generating up to £50 million a year for health causes.The Health Lottery – run by Northern & Shell, which owns Channel 5 and Express newspapers – offers a £100,000 top prize for matching five numbers from 50.

The launch was hosted by television presenter Eamonn Holmes, who will also front the live draw to be shown on ITV1 and Channel 5 each Saturday from October 8.

He said: “It’s such a great idea, I am really excited about being part of something that not only makes people smile every week, but also has the ability to change lives in the longer term.

“In these difficult economic times, the Health Lottery will inject a sizeable amount of new money into that local network, and the projects that are supported will help people live longer, healthier lives.”

Twenty pence from tickets, which cost £1, will go towards health-related good causes.

Matching three numbers wins £50 and four numbers £500.

No matter how many people win, everyone will get the advertised prize, the Health Lottery said.

John Hume, chief executive of the People’s Health Trust, said: “We will be working directly with communities to identify practical and sustainable ways in which funding from the Health Lottery can have real impacts on health and well-being in communities experiencing significant disadvantages.”

Martin Hall, chief executive of the Health Lottery said: “The Health Lottery game is a fresh new alternative which has one single good cause at its heart – health.

“We will be offering people the opportunity to win a life-changing amount of money while at the same time contributing to tackling real health issues in their own communities.

“It is an exciting new launch which will benefit every community in Great Britain.”

But the launch attracted criticism from Sir Stephen Bubb, of the Association of Chief Executives of Voluntary Organisations, who dubbed it a “disgraceful new development”.

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