Television Benefits 😀

This is a great storey of how good can come out of a bad idea.    It is also a storey of cowardly policy, disregard of older people’s views, unintended consequences and happily a potentially a very good end result 😀

Gorden Brown introduced Free TV License’s for the over 75’s as a way of currying favour with the elderly electorate in 2003.   It is a universal benefit that every older pensioner gets, even though many are wealthy enough to pay for it.

In these more austere times Governments have been trying to figure out how to claw it back,  but no politician wants to upset elderly voters. Then some clever clogs in the Treasury in 2017, came up with the idea of passing the responsibility to the BBC and saving itself £745 million by 2020.     Job done!   All very quietly and nobody much noticed.    I will bet somebody got a bonus for that idea.

When the fat cats at the Beeb finally noticed there was going to be a big dent in their income, they needed a get out plan.  The fist step was to launch a fictitious “consultation”.    The preamble to the “consultation” was loaded with the dire consequences for the BBC if they didn’t get the answer they wanted.    But, since everybody knows that they are under-paid, under-staffed, overworked and BRILLIANT BROADCASTERS, they had high expectations of full agreement to their proposals.    (I wrote about the “consultation” in October last year)

Sadly it didn’t turn out that way,   Thousands of pensioners predictably protested.   On Twitter, on Facebook, in the press, on TV and even outside the front doors of Television Centre.     Who would have guessed????

The Beeb’s eventual compromise is to continue to offer free licences to the poorest pensioners, although this will require a means test to ensure they qualify for Pension Credit.   It is currently a very under-claimed Benefit, 40% of over75’s who are entitled, don’t claim it.  The average increase would be £65/week or a whopping £1.6 billion !

Now the Government is also spooked and trying to blame it all on the BBC.    MP’s everywhere are claiming it is all very unforeseen and not at all what they expected.

So, we get to the happy unintended consequence of all this cowardly shenanigans.    The BBC will have to raise the profile of Pension Credit in order to be seen to be helping hard up pensioners.     Already since this discussion started, 1700 more pensioners are claiming Pension Credit.     If all those who are entitled to it now claim it, it will cost the Government twice as much as they saved.    What’s more, Pension Credit is a passport to other benefits, so the cost will be even higher.

In the longer term the Government may get its own back by cutting the    BBC licence fee, but that’s for another day.

Posted in ELDERLY UK POLICY | Tagged | 1 Comment

Deaf Ears

A report published by Exeter University and Kings College London attracted a front page headline in The Times this week.

It was about a study of over 25,000 older people and it concluded that those who wore hearing aids performed better in memory tests, concentration and reaction times.

The results were presented at the Alzheimer’s Association International Conference in Los Angeles. That must have been a nice trip for some lucky researchers 😀.

The implication of this is that people with age-related hearing loss would be less likely to get dementia if they got a hearing aid .

It is certainly true from my experience that a great many older people suffer from hearing loss and gradually become more and more isolated as a result. Unfortunately the NHS audiology services seem to be under-resourced and audiology is increasingly left to the private sector. This has a reputation for expensive sales techniques, so many older people shy away from them.

If the research is correct a more accessible and inexpensive audiology service would potentially prevent more dementia cases.

Posted in Dementia, N.H.S., Pensions | 2 Comments

Stone

I am ossifying like a stone,

turning into a calcified bone.

I need a Project,

something to do.

MY BRAIN IS FREEZING,

I AM SLOWLY SLOWING DOWN.

 

Something worthwhile,

not a time filler.

S-t-r-e-t-c-h-i-n-g,

a new-skill challenge,

 

I AM NOT YET PETRIFIED,

BUT IT IS JUST A MATTER OF TIME.

 

More than a book to read,

less than an Everest.

I have climbed my mountains,

now I just need a hill.

 

Ideas on a postcard please ? ? ? ? ? ?

Posted in SMILES | 8 Comments

Cloud Surfing – New Orleans

GrumbleSmiles was set up to provide innovative answers to tackling the problems of loneliness in later life.    Many older people are less able to get out and about, which can be the first steps towards a life of isolation.

My travel around the clouds continue you can see more of my travel adventures by clicking on CLOUD SURFING in the TAG CLOUD).   Today I invite you to join me on a trip to unknown destinations around the world and an opportunity to talk to new and interesting people.    All at no cost and from the comfort of your own armchair.

We are going cloudsurfing to New Orleans.

Courtesy of a blogger and photographer who I found on a website called The Next Chapter.

 

 

 

Lower Pontalba Building, Jackson Square.

Restored homes in the Marigny neighborhood.

http://www.latercomma.com/2017/04/page/2/

Click on the link above for more pictures and text.

In the weeks ahead, I will publish more blogs and photographs from my cloud surfing travels.

Posted in SMILES | Tagged | 1 Comment

Pangolin Nonsense

Today I woke up with a pangolin 😀

it just popped into my head😇

l don’t know where it came from ?

was it something that I said?

 

Pangolin was only only a word,

rolling around in my brain.

Tumbling out of the jumble jungle,

answering a quiz Master’s unasked question.

 

Trusty Google half solved the problem.

Pangolins do actually exist.

In Africa, India, China and the Phillipines,

But not in Kilsby, except for today.

None of that explains

what the pangolin

was doing

in my head.

 

 

Posted in SMILES | 2 Comments

Cloud Surfing – Ontario

GrumbleSmiles was set up to provide innovative answers to tackling the problems of loneliness in later life.    Many older people are less able to get out and about, which can be the first steps towards a life of isolation.

My travel around the clouds continue you can see more of my travel adventures by clicking on CLOUD SURFING in the TAG CLOUD).   Today I invite you to join me on a trip to unknown destinations around the world and an opportunity to talk to new and interesting people.    All at no cost and from the comfort of your own armchair.

We are going cloudsurfing to Ontario.

Courtesy of a blogger and photographer The Furry Gnome whose blog is entitled “Seasons in the Valley”.

 

 

This is a winter walk in a part of the world I’ve never visited.  I’m much happier visiting it in my armchair rather than trecking through the woods in the Canadian winter.   The Furry Gnome’s comments and photographs give you a great illustration of what it must be like.

Click on the link below for more photos.

https://seasonsinthevalley.blogspot.com/2018/02/

In the weeks ahead, I will publish more blogs and photographs from my cloud surfing travels.

Posted in SMILES | Tagged | 2 Comments

Shockingly Good News !

Back in March of this year, I wrote a blog called “Smart Dementia Tracker?”  You can find it by clicking on Dementia in the Tag Cloud.  Since then, the idea has developed rather alarmingly.

There has been a potentially remarkable breakthrough in the treatment of memory loss.  Research conducted at Boston University compared the short term memory performance of younger people with that of people over 60.     Needless to say, the young people significantly out performed the older generation.   No surprise there then.

But when they zapped the older people with weak electric shocks to their brains their memory performance improved to the level of people half their age. Wow!    Although this is not exactly a surprise, because I think that the Victorians used this approach in mental hospitals over a 100 years ago.    I’m not entirely sure it was all that successful then.

Still, you never know!  This could hold out the prospect of teams of older people competing on University Challenge and beating up a group of upstart know-it-all young graduates.     They just need to be sitting on electric chairs!

Who knows where this might lead ?   Electric starting blocks at the next Olympic Games could see a 90 year old outrunning Usain Bolt to the finishing line 😀

Maybe, with a finger in the electric plug socket first thing in the morning, I could remember where I left my glasses, or my car keys, or my hankie, or what was it I was looking for ?

Posted in Dementia | Tagged | 4 Comments