Annette’s Websites of the Week- Britain’s Got Talent, London 2012 Olympic Games & Age UK Care in Crisis

May 11, 2012 at 2:45 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment
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Annette's websites of the week

Britain’s Got TalentThe country seems to be gripped by Britain’s Got Talent after a series of live semi-finals this week. With the 10 finalists now selected everyone is looking forward to Saturday night’s live final show (ITV, 7.30pm) where the public will choose the 2012 BGT winner who will receive an enormous £500,000 and the opportunity to perform at the Royal Variety Show in front of the Queen.

I’ve really enjoyed this year’s show but I have to admit that I’ve not had chance to watch every semi-final show so I am a little behind on which acts got through to the final. Luckily the Britain’s Got Talent website is packed with all of the latest news from the semi-final shows including profiles of this year’s finalists, videos of their performances and exclusive interviews with contestants and judges.

So if you’re planning on watching the Britain’s Got Talent final this weekend checkout the website before hand to find out more about your favourite act. I’m backing the ‘paw-some’ duo Ashleigh and Pudsey because I can’t help but adore a dancing doggy.


London 2012 Olympic Games- This summer’s Olympic Games seem to be edging ever closer and this week a handful of events have taken place to ramp up the excitement including The School Games and the lighting of the Olympic Flame. Today the Olympic Orbit Tower, a steel sculpture designed by Anish Kappor was officially opened too.

The statement sculpture, which has caused a dived between people who love it and loath it, boasts a structure that is taller than New York’s Statue of Liberty and a observational suite that offers panoramic views of London. I’m yet to decide whether or not I like the design- what do you think?

Olympic Orbit Tower

Olympic Orbit Tower

In addition to the opening of Orbit Tower an extra 200,000 Olympic tickets were released this morning to Olympic applicants who were unsuccessful in securing tickets for the Games during earlier ticket distributions. With tickets to most events on offer, including the Opening and Closing Ceremonies, I’m sure that there will be lots of very happy Olympic customers by the end of today.

Check out the London 2012 website for more information on event, venues etc…

Age UK Care in CrisisThis week’s Queen’s Speech to open parliament disappointed many people including those who had hoped for a change in the social care system. Instead of a full social care bill been announced the speech revealed that only a draft bill on social care would be drawn up by the government this year.

Care in Crisis

Please support Age UK’s Care in Crisis campaign

For charities such as Age UK who have campaigned for change the draft bill is deeply unsatisfying. Despite this Age UK is still steaming ahead in their campaign for change in social care. To achieve a full bill next year they need to secure as much support as possible, which is why Age UK want as many people as possible to sign up to their Care in Crisis petition.

The online petition takes less than a couple of minutes to complete and includes a full and in depth insight into the whole Care in Crisis campaign, which I believe is worthwhile supporting because it could eventually help implement crucial change to the care system that we will all use at one point or another- sign the petition here.

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The Queen’s Speech- draft social care bill announced

May 9, 2012 at 4:19 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment
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The Queen addressed both Houses of Parliament this morning when she delivered the annual Queen’s Speech to open parliament. In one of the most lavish occasions in Parliament’s calendar, the Queen outlined the government’s legislation for the year ahead.

The speech revealed nineteen bills including a Children and Families Bill, a Crime and Courts Bill and the Groceries Code Adjudicator Bill that safeguards suppliers against powerful supermarket chains.

The Queens Speech 2012

However many are disappointed to hear that a full bill on social care was not outlined. Instead a draft bill was announced during the Queen’s Speech much to the disapproval of people who are carers or supporters of elderly charities such as Age UK, who have campaigned for reform in social care’s law and funding.

The sheer volume of support for campaigns such as Age UK’s Care in Crisis– a campaign that has seen thousands sign petitions, write to parliament and even campaign at Westminster- displays how in demand change to the current care system is making today’s announcement deeply disappointing.

However, Age UK has released a statement which looks positively at the draft bill. As the leading charity for older people in the UK they plan to work with the government to make legislation possible next year and urge campaigners to continue backing social care reforms for as long as needs be.

Grandparent forum Gransnet celebrates one year online

May 2, 2012 at 4:27 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment
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A little over a year ago I read about a new website called Gransnet– an online forum for grandparents to discuss all sorts of issues. Interested in broadening my internet ‘favourites’ I checked out the website and was delighted with what was on offer.

gransnet 2012

Designed with internet savvy grandparents in mind Gransnet is the perfect place to find other likeminded grandparents who are online. Most importantly Gransnet is easy to use and has a discussion forum for everything- what’s happening in the news, recipes, books, films, general chit chat. Plus it hosts weekly competitions and features special guests who pop in for forums, blog posts and Q&A sessions.

Having recently joined up with aging charity Age UK to encourage more people to get online Gransnet is today celebrating one fantastic year online. Why not celebrate by joining in the Gransnet fun… www.gransnet.com

Age UK join forces with Gransnet

April 12, 2012 at 3:47 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment
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Since starting my blog I’ve become a regular visitor of Age UK’s website because it is packed with handy information, I’ve even taken part in several of their campaigns including the annual Spread the Warmth crusade and The Big Knit.

Now Age UK has teamed up with Gransnet, a social networking site directed specifically at grandparents, together they are hosting online forums which allow users to interact with other people who are a similar age and have similar lifestyles.

Gransnet Age UK online forum

Age UK recently joined Gransnet to host online forums

The forums covers all sorts of subject areas from hobbies to family and friends, TV and film recommendations to more serious topics like healthcare and politics- there really is something for everyone.

The partnership is set to be extremely successful as both Age UK and Gransnet have loyal followings that will get a lot from each other. Plus both organisations behold the same mission of ensuring a happy and healthy life for older people.

Join the discussions with Age UK and Gransnet here.

Myfriends Online Week- what do you love about the internet?

March 19, 2012 at 4:37 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment
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This week Age UK are hosting Myfriends online week (19th -25th March 2012) an annual initiative that encourages older people to see the benefits of using the internet particularly focusing on how the internet can keep you socially active.

During this week Age UK will be holding Myfriends online week events across the country, helping people who don’t use the internet to take their first step in doing so and explaining the countless benefits that the internet has to offer.

To kick start Myfriends online week Age UK took to social media platform Twitter this morning, asking people why they love the internet and they have received all different sorts of answers. Some people love the internet because it’s so convenient, other like that they can shop online but most people love how they are able to keep in touch with friends and family via the web.

lady-with-laptop-

Age UK's Myfriends online week 19th-25th March 2012

I love the internet because it is so multi-functional. I use the internet in both my professional and personal life and it has become hugely important. Not only is information available at the touch of a button but so are my customers and friends and family.

Over time I’ve learnt how to use all different sorts of online platforms to keep in touch with people and I’ve benefited hugely. Like most people in business I e-mail constantly and have found Facebook to be a great area for both personal and business purposes. However, I’m most fond of using Skype’s video calling service as it completely free and a great way to see my family and friends who are dotted across the globe.

I really couldn’t recommend social platforms as Facebook, Twitter, E-Mail and Skype highly enough as they truly do enable people to become more sociable and are all free and easy to use once you know how- check out a local Myfriend online event for extra help!

But my online guilty pleasure has to BBC iPlayer which stores television programmes shown across all BBC channels and allows internet users to watch whenever they like. It’s perfect if you forget to tune into your favourite programme or forgot to press record.

Take a step and go online!

Hitting the gym aged 55 plus- Gym visits increase with age

March 7, 2012 at 4:14 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment
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In the midst of British Pie Week it’s easy to feel as though you need to get a little more active (just to counteract the goodness of so many pies). Although I’m admittedly not a gym bunny- I would prefer to keep fit in the great outdoors- I feel inspired by new research that has found older gym members visit the gyms more regularly than their younger counterparts.

The research found by Nuffield Health and featured in an article on Age UK’s website, revealed that ‘older members make 20 extra visits on average, on an annual basis’. This surge in activity amongst senior gym goers suggests that not only are they actively maintaining a fit and healthy lifestyle but also getting great enjoyment from their gym or fitness centre.

Shifting your mind away from the dreaded thought of heavy gym equipment and fitness fanatics that are 20, 30 or even 40 years your junior can be a little difficult. However, once you’ve got past this milestone gyms really don’t seem too bad.

Fitness classes for older people

Fitness classes for older people are great places to make friends

In fact many gyms including Total Fitness, DW Sport and Nuffield Health & Fitness offer senior membership packages exclusive for members aged 55 or 60 plus. More often than not these gyms also run scheduled fitness classes designed for their older members- toning, aerobics, swimming etc. These classes are made with you in mind, they don’t overstretch your body or stamina levels and are great places to meet people who are a similar age and looking to get fit too.

All in all gyms don’t seem too bad. Although I won’t be giving up walking my dogs, Toffee and Summer, for exercise any time soon I will be considering my local fitness club as an option for the future. I’ve even been told that many gyms have excellent coffee lounges now-a-days, which is an added bonus.  

Do you visit a local gym with a ‘senior’ membership? I’d love to hear more about what you enjoy about the gym and how often you go along. Leave a comment in the box below.

What is independence?

March 6, 2012 at 4:44 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | 2 Comments
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The digital world is a wonderful place to share ideas and thoughts. Earlier today Ruth Amos inventor of StairSteady proposed the question, ‘what does independence mean for you and your customers?’ as part of a project to find out the meaning of independence to different people and businesses.

Here at Bath-Knight independence is a treasured way of life which we hope to enhance. Often my customers yearn to remain living independently in their own homes, which is why I get so much pleasure from knowing that my products, especially the Bath-Knight bath lift, are designed and used as tools to enable independent living for older people.

elderly couple living independently

Independence - living life as you desire

I have always been an advocate in encouraging older people to remain in their homes for as long as possible and this is because too often we hear horror stories regarding quality of care in elderly care facilities. More recently this poor service has been coupled with extortionate cost that far outreach funds available to an elderly people or their family.

This substandard quality of care has resulted in thousands petitioning for the government to take action. Today 60 charities including Age UK and Joseph Rowntree Foundation are lobbying MP’s at Westminster, urging the government to reform the current care system into a service which is of high quality, cost effective and accessible to all.

These lacking qualities in our current care system seemingly strip away any independence for people receiving such care. I often question why an increased focus isn’t put on the ways to enable elderly people to remain in their own homes for longer. Simple and thought-out modification can enable the freedom of independent living which integrates both safety and quality of life for elderly people.

So for me the premise of independence is the ability to live life as you desire with the freedom and choice to live at home. Growing older should not become a problem instead we should celebrate this feat of longevity together and adapt our lifestyles accordingly.

Age UK 10K run- Wrap Up & Run

February 28, 2012 at 4:56 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | 2 Comments
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After a sporty start to the year, my daughter Lucy recently completed a marathon in Florida and Bath-Knight’s call centre manager Emma announced that she would be taking part in the 2012 London Marathon. I thought I’d share with you more information about Age UK’s 10K runs.

wrap-up-and-run

Throughout March Age UK will be hosting six 10K runs at up and down the country. ‘Wrap Up & Run’ will hopefully raise awareness of Age UK’s winter campaign ‘Spread the Warmth’. All fundraising money will go directly to the campaign which safeguards elderly people from ill health and in extreme cases death during the winter months.

I can’t say that I’ll be running 10K myself (it’s a little too far for me) but I’m hopeful that the local event in Tatton Park will be a great training opportunity for my team of fitness fanatics- register for the run on Age UK’s official website.

Unemployment – Older Workers

February 16, 2012 at 3:02 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | 1 Comment
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Many people including myself had hoped to see signs of recovery in the economy during 2012. However a review of current unemployment figures has display the opposite. Unemployed in the UK has risen to 2.67 million and analysts have predicted that it will rise to 3 million by the end of 2012.

It would seem that those aged 50 plus are particularly getting a rough ride and more specifically women of this age group. It was reported today that 1 million women are currently unemployed, the highest statistic for the past 20 years.

Although the media often focuses on younger people who are struggling to get onto the career ladder.  I feel that we shouldn’t ignore the older section of society who are finding it hard to secure employment.

older worker aged 50 plus

Older workers find it difficult to get a job

Generally those aged 50 plus have excellent experience both in the work place and life generally, and sadly many are unemployed through no fault of their own. Redundancies have risen significantly in recent years causing lots of established employees to fall victim to economic hardship.  

So how can you secure a job aged 50 plus? I would recommend using all of your contacts. If you’ve got a little black book of contacts from previous positions dig it out and see if there is anyone who can help you out. And if you’re online create a LinkedIn profile which allows you to create a digital history of your professional experience and connect with people you’ve worked with in the past.

Alternatively volunteering is an excellent option as it strengthens your potential – from experience voluntary work is encouraging to an employer- plus the social aspect offers more opportunities. I recall that good old saying ‘It’s not what you know, it’s who you know’.

Volunteer picture

Volunteering is one option to consider

There are plenty of voluntary opportunities across the country but locally The Douglas Macmillan is always looking for willing volunteers. The Dougie Mac offer a variety of voluntary position so there is something for everyone regardless of knowledge, experience or skill.

When you do find a job remember that it can be more sustainable than you might think. Since last October it became illegal for an employer to force an employee into retirement, meaning that older people can work for longer. This may make some people shiver but if you’ve been out of work for a while, or don’t want to give up the ghost just yet, it’s worth knowing that you can work for as long as you feel fit too.

Age UK recently ran a feature on older people re-embarking into the world of work.

Age UK’s Bobble Day 2012

February 10, 2012 at 12:40 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment
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This time last year the entire office when bobble crazy for Age UK’s first ever ‘Bobble Day’, a fundraiser to support the charity’s ‘Spread the Warmth’ campaign.

After great success in their first year Age UK decided to make Bobble Day an annual event. Encouraging the entire country to wear their winter woollies, knit something woolly or even better make lots of woolly bobbles (we attached ours to hats, glove and socks). Hopefully raising awareness of how important staying warm during the winter is, especially amongst elderly and vulnerable members of society.

Bobble Day 2012

Unfortunately we’ve not had time to make any Bath-Knight bobbles this year but we are all wearing our winter woollies. I’m sure you’ll agree that today couldn’t be a better example of how importantly wearing warm clothing, drinking plenty of hot tea and ensuring that your central heating is warming your home sufficiently actually is.

Bobble_Day_hat[1]

This year Age UK has joined forces with Grannies Inc a fantastic company who produced one off knitted accessories. I’d highly recommend checking out their website as it packed with fantastic ideas and collections.

Together they have created a woolly bobble hat dedicated to Bobble Day, which is available to purchase now. The brightly coloured woolly is the perfect accessory to wear if you’re out visiting elderly friends, family and neighbours during wintery spells.

This year’s campaign has also gained support from well-known faces within the media as Sir Roger Moore, Joanna Lumley, Jo Wood and Roxanne Pallett have all pledged their support to Bobble Day.  You can join them by supporting Bobble Day via the Age UK website. Here you’ll find a fool proof guide to making woolly bobbles and more information about the campaign in general.

For more tips about staying warm check out my Winter Warmers blog which includes handy tips and advice on how to stay safe and beat the cold this winter.

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