Oh dear as a spritly 57 year old who was coming to terms with working untill 65 just the news last week that it was increasing to 66! Ok as I work with small children I am sure they will have great fun chasing me round the playground. More likely they will be helping me up the stairs!  Todays budget has not made my future look any brighter what with freezing penson rise by 2.5 so it is less than the price of inflation.  Who knows what it will be like when I am finally allowed to retire!!  Also the shock of the freeze on income tax allowance for pensioners if I wanted to continue to work for an extra year or two to build up my pot I probably be paying a lot of tax, seems the government has no compassion for those of us who have worked non stop all our increasing working lives.  Any views on this? Take care Suzanne.

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I share your views Suzanne although I am further down the line than you at 63.  The attack on pensioners in this budget is an absolute disgrace - shameful!  Even more so than the light taxation of the mega rich and so many worthy alternatives such as:  short-term money lenders (5500+% interest), Bingo and Gambling, Casinos, The City, Banks etc. 

As someone getting on a bit, the notion that we can all work longer is a farce - not just because of the problems of physical wear and tear.  I was made redundant at 62 after 25+ years in education.  Like many, exactly how are going to find the jobs to keep us in employment?  Which employer is about to invest time and money in someone in their 60's?  Certainly, in the North East, there is no hope at all and I speak as someone with 2 good degrees and 47 years work experience.  

Personally, I would like to see the demolition of the Palace of Westminster.  It appears that whoever enters it suffers a catastrophic reduction in IQ, a severe loss of backbone and a total inability to even spell morality. 


Well you know what to do, don't you? At least we are in the lucky position to be able to vote this lot out - albiet not just yet. I think we are all in agreement that the economy is in a mess and that we're all going to have to take some pain - but not at the expense of the poorest among us, such as pensioners who are being forced to live on less and less. Get this lot out and hopefully the next government will take heed as to what we do with parties that don't take any notice of our voting powers.

I'm in full agreement with what is said above with regard to raising the retirement age - specially at the moment. We get constant reminders that loads of youngsters are unable to find employment so we are looking at a decade of young people without working skills. Yet they expect people over 65 to carry on working in the very jobs that these youngsters could be doing... I suspect the government are hoping that our lives will be that much more stressful as we are forced to carry on regardless that we'll all be dying off earlier, rather than later. I know that, if I hadn't left my job because of stress a few year's ago, I wouldn't be looking forward to celebrating my 65th in a few months' time.

I've no argument with anything said above, and the thought of being able to vote out government wasters is, in theory, excellent.  The reality is that there is very little point in voting when all offer the same degree of abuse to the electorate.  Remember, it was the current opposition party that created over many years  many of the problems we have now to live with.  We have around 700 MP's, plus many unelected "advisers", with the most deplorable level of arrogance, utter incompetence, corruption and overwhelming self interest this nation has seen in centuries.  

It's been said that countries get the government they deserve.  That being so, perhaps if there was less focus on superficial presentation skills and more on character, intellectual and personal qualities we may have a starting point for a government that we need and deserve.  

Without this fundamental change, future or the UK looks utterly bleak.

Suzanne, In Canada that are gradually planning to increase the Old Age Security eligibility to 67 years old from 65 in the next 10 years. I think that what we need to increase the ratio of the value of a commoners pension to a politicians pension. Here, they say that we get an annual increase equivalent to the standard of living.  What do you think about is really happening? I get a maximum increase of $1.50- 2.50 per month CDN Funds while a Federal Government politician in Canada gets an obscene golden full pension at age 55 with only 6 years of service. The Government says that we should allbe responsible for our own pensions portfolios.  If this is true then why are Government officials at all levels of Government not responsible for their own pensions but prefer to be financed by their own tax payers?

Jacqueline, Sorry for not getting back to you earlier.  I've been busy working on my 'Seniorpreneur Project' for the past year so. I know that it's not a good excuse but i haven't had a chance to get back to this Group.

Thanks very much for your kind words.  About pensions it looks like the job of every political party is to keep the Old Age Secuirty pension as low as possible.  I agree with you that Stress is a common problem among Seniors in most of the job categories and your idea about the 'job hungry seniors'  taking job opportunites away fromthe younger people. I suggest that Seniors create their own jobs/small business based on their education, skills, resources, etc.

Alan, Hi! I am curious to find out what project your currently working on now after you had 47 years of work experience?

Joe W.


Thank you for your reply, Joe. It's interesting to see that, In Canada, as here, the ordinary pensioner has a daily struggle with balancing their outgoings, while their politicians live in clover. Most of the pensioners today will have paid into the system, thinking that we would then be looked after in later life. Of course, with things as they currently are, this isn't really going to be possible. Unfortunately, because of circumstances, not all of today's pensioners were in a position to start up their own private pensions, and of those who did, many of the schemes fell by the wayside (mine performed very badly due to greedy speculators) and I've ended up with not much more than originally put in so it was (to my mind) just a very bad way to trying to save money on the side for my old age. Many pensioners cannot work - something that seems to have been missed by those who say "get a job" is that we lose our capacity to do the more stressful types of jobs we once did. Our memories aren't as sharp, we don't get about as easily as we did, and so on. While working for ourselves might be a brilliant idea, it's just not always practical. I mean, try plumbing in a bathroom when you can no longer bend down, or painting a house when you now find that stretching above your head causes you to go dizzy. My husband took on a job after retirement as a driver (he used to be in printing) - and immediately scratched a van because he missed a bollard because of poor eye vision. I could go on of course. I personally think that, with so many older people around now, perhaps it's time we started wondering if a new political party might be viable. Grey Power, perhaps? Or The Senior Party?

Hi Joe

My project when I first retired was to begin a company ( www.upskillcentral.co.uk ) to offer bespoke training in IT and Management skills to SME's in the North East of the UK - face to face or on-line (video conference) to a wider geographic area. 

Whilst the UK Government thinks that everyone can use IT today, the truth is somewhat different when applied to business related skills.  With the current developments in technology, there has never been a more urgent need for IT training for business, yet relevant IT training in colleges is becoming extinct and / or very expensive.  Business management skills are also sadly lacking in many organisations in the UK - big and small, so this too was a focus.

The project failed as companies have no money or time for training anyone other than for the mandatory, certificated needs.  As a result, I have been teaching part-time at a local college to provide "entry to employment" skills to unemployed adults (20 - 60) of late.  Not sure how much longer this will continue however.

Alan, it's commendable that you can do something with your skills once you retired. And I do hope this continues for you. I've found that, as people get older, they lose what little grasp they had with anything IT-related. My poor mother calls me almost daily because she's 'locked' herself out of her email account, or can no longer get online. Most of it's because of her inability to navigate the screen properly - yet the government is constantly telling us we older people need to be 'online'. Mind you, she is 87 now and is, at least, willing to give it a go. Do you know what percentage of people you teach then go on to find employment? And do you find it more difficult to teach the older student than the younger? If I were to go to your local college and join at 64 would I be allowed to? Or is it only for people 20 to 60 - even though the government say we need to carry on working? The acid question, of course, would be "will I then find myself a job afterwards?". Considering my sister who had a string of IT-related abilities behind her cannot find herself a job at the tender age of 62, I very much doubt it. I do wish someone in government would read this website - they'd be in for a shock if they knew how 'impotent' people over 60 really do feel... 

Hi Jacqueline

Colleges are currently constrained by funding.  Anyone over 24 will pay around £600+ for a Level 1 or 2 course (loans available :-/ ) and everyone is welcome (Joke) providing they can fund this.  Training costs have now moved from the tax payer or employer to the employee or prospective employee.  This may have been acceptable if there was a real chance of employment afterwards but, of course, there is not.  Very few vocational qualifications in colleges or from agencies provide relevant, valuable skills that would ensure employment.  This is often because the programs are generic or outdated and cannot meet the specific needs of a particular employer.

I specialise in teaching students from 20 to 90 and I find that age is no barrier from a learning point of view.  Whilst teenagers are great at texting and Facebook, they often have few skills in using business applications for business purpose, or the experience or levels of English or math that allows them to function well.  They frequently lack the focus and attention that an older learner can maintain with ease.  From an IT point of view, it is often the lack of up to date technology that holds the older adult back and the rate of change (and cost) is frequently an issue here.  Of course, most older adults have never had the opportunity to use technology or be trained in it's use.  Many are self taught whilst at work and generally speaking, stick to tried and tested methods as they don't have the time or confidence to experiment.  The general level of IT skill amongst adult workers over 35 is pretty poor.

Great to hear that your mum is an IT user.  My father is 87 and uses both a PC and laptop frequently for information, entertainment and communication.  He and my mother love Skype and video conferencing with my brother in Oz.  He also (as an ex nurse) researches ailments and drugs in order to monitor what he and my mother are given by doctors.  The main issues for him are technical (I maintain his system) and the cost / learning issues related to constantly changing systems.

Technical issues are a concern.  My father uses a 19" PC monitor to help him see the screen controls.  However, this is only a partial cure as flat panel monitors cannot display a wide variety of low  resolutions well.  Laptops are no better.  Even if using 1024x768, many websites do not display well and much of the page is off screen.  A better use of CSS and page scaling should be mandatory for designers in order to better meet the needs of ALL users.

Yes, there is an issue when it comes to computer and the older person. When my mother (frequently) gets locked out of her accounts, she is asked to enter some letters and numbers - as she simply cannot see these at all, she expects me to do this, yet I have enormous difficulty because I enter what I see, but it's never right! The system, it seems, is at fault, lololol. So we keep having to ask for a link to my email address so that she can reset her computer, until the next time. She does have a natty program that enlarges everything onscreen (she only has a laptop), and it even talks to her, but even this has its drawbacks (a very expensive little bit of software). The technology wouldn't be so bad if it didn't keep changing! One of the reasons I was so relieved to retire was that just about every year, we were expected to learn and implement yet another system. Although the younger people seemed to take it in their stride, it was a constant bugbear for us older workers.

The situation can be eased slightly if one can use Linux (my favorite is Mint) and open source applications.  These, including Linux, are almost all free and of generally very good quality.  Security is excellent (no need for expensive anti virus / spyware ) and most have a "master password" feature that you enter once at logon and then it remembers all passwords you use.  When you go to a website, enter your username and the password is entered automatically.

Open source applications can provide excellent alternatives for Windows or Linux systems.  It sounds like your mum is using Jaws but there are some excellent applications available free or inexpensive.  You really don't need to pay a lot.  Even knowing about using CTRL + or CTRL - to magnify or shrink text on a web page is useful.  My Opera browser has a nifty slide tool that magnifies the screen built right into the browser.  Opera is free for download.

Change is inevitable and, currently, massive.  However, in Windows or Linux, the use of LibreOffice software and other open source applications is, for me, the only practical and affordable solution.

I'll look into Linux - my brother swears by it, I have to say. The software mum bought is very handy because she is almost blind and very hard of hearing, so it's very comforting. Using the inbuilt magnification isn't so good for her unfortunately. Besides, we have to kid ourselves that it's better than any of the freebies because she paid for it, lololol. It's made by a company that specializes in software for partly blind/hard of hearing people but I do think the goods are massively overpriced. Indeed, so many of us miss out on new programs because of the expense. I paid for a year with an ancestry website so that I could do research into the family (it's a huge one), but am now very frustrated because the year has run out, I still have so much to do, but just cannot afford the exorbitant fees they charge. 

Check out open source programs too.  Google "open source" Windows  and then the type of application you are looking for.  It's surprising what is available on this basis.  User reviews can give a good insight to usability prior to download.  For instance,  open source windows genealogy software returns 270,000 Google hits.  The site http://www.dmoz.org/Society/Genealogy/Software/  returns a huge number of applications for geneology, the Gramps (http://gramps-project.org/) project being very popular.  Paying a lot gives feelings of "quality" that is not always well founded :-D


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