Standard Life insurance ????

Once upon a time, in the days of real people, before the advent of the internet I took out a life insurance.   It was fourty six years ago give or take a year or two.   I hardly remember what it was for,  but I know I did it because I have been paying out £2.68  every month since by direct debit.  Still it is such a small sum I have never bothered with it since.    Indeed I would still not have thought about it, because bank computers and insurance computers do all the transferring of the money and the only paper record is one line in a bank statement that I only glance at now and again.    If I am having my tea at the time it is not surprising that £2 and 68  pence doesn’t grab my full attention.

So when my lovely wife Mo asked me the other day, what exactly had I been wasting £2.68 every month for the last 46 years, I couldn’t actually remember.   Was it to cover my secret gambling addiction?  Or maybe blackmail pay-off that I hadn’t mentioned to her ?   Or perhaps a protection racketeer who had his claws into me over an unpaid parking fine ?     Who knows ?

The name “Standard Life” kept coming to mind and then I vaguely remembered I took out a life insurance all those years ago.   How much for and why I don’t recall. It was something to do with securing a loan on my first house.   I think ?   Those were in my rugby playing days and a prop forward called John did it for me over a round of drinks.     Signed, sealed, delivered and long forgotten after the next beer !

So, like a dog with a bone or more kindly like Detective Chief inspector Morse on a long lost mystery case, I set out to track down the missing millions 😀🐕‍🦺  armed only with a name and a  policy number.

A quick phone-call to Standard Life connected me to an automatic message system, where I could press 1 for this and 2 for that and 3 for something else, but nothing for 46 year old lost property.   Eventually, I did get to speak to a  real person called Margaret, unfortunately she only spoke Scottish and I couldn’t understand her.     I did gather she wanted to ask me some security questions.  So I told her my name, my date of birth, my address, my policy number and what I was phoning about .  Then she told me I  needed another department and she put me through to another automatic message system 😤

I listened to a lot of music and several apologies for keeping me waiting and then a message about completing a brief survey about their customer service or maybe if I didn’t want to wait any longer I could go on-line to their website.  I never did get asked to complete the survey.
Finally after waiting about 20 minutes, which I suppose is not bad after no contact for 46 years, I got to speak to a real person called Ellen who spoke real English.     Then a few more security questions, in fact the very same ones as I had given answers to Maggie 20 minutes ago, but perhaps they had got lost in translation.   Now at last we were beginning to get somewhere.   She found the policy, but couldn’t tell me any more without some more security questions.

Where did I work when I took out the insurance ?    So I told her but they had no record of that.  How about where did I live at the time I took out the insurance?  So I told her but they had no record of that either.   I was starting to wonder if I had ever existed.    Still I must have been paying £2.68 for something to someone at some time or other.   Unless Standard Life is an insurance black hole.

Ellen couldn’t have been nicer and she said she would get someone to look in the archives because they don’t do this type of insurance anymore.     Oh and they have changed their name,  but they will contact me within 10 days or so.
In the meantime I will keep paying the £2.68 just in case I insured myself for a million pounds all those years ago😀

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£Trillion – Give it all back

All of my earlier ideas for how older people could use the accumulated wealth in all their assets, have been directed at raising the profile of older people in society.    At the moment they are too often forgotten or wished away, or worst of all, ignored completely.

In the next couple of decades, the population of older people in the UK is set to double.  This will be a massive problem unless attitudes towards older people and by older people themselves in society change dramatically.    Greater longevity inevitably leads to bigger demands on the health service and it is essential that we gear up for this, rather than regarding older people as “bed blockers” and a burden on society.

It’s also vital that everywhere and everything becomes much more accessible and age friendly.    Currently the rapid advance of technology is leaving far too many people behind.  Local shops, post offices and banks are all closing.    More and more services are going online.    This is the reverse of what needs to happen but I don’t mean that we turn technology back.    A key thing to do is to make technology much more easy to use for older people.

One way of doing this is for older people themselves to take a lead with a “GIVE IT ALL BACK CAMPAIGN”.    This initiative would invest in projects which make life easier for older people but could also be used by everybody else in society.

Older people are already the backbone of many voluntary organisations, where they give their time freely for a charitable endeavour.    Now they could use their new found £Trillions by donating to charities doing research into a variety of medical conditions such as Alzheimer’s disease, hearing and sight loss, mobility etc.

It should not only be things that go directly to older people.    The “GIVE BACK CAMPAIGN” should support intergenerational projects, linking the wisdom of older people with the needs of the younger generation.    Socialising and communicating skills could be shared with a younger generation whose best friend is an iPhone.    The other side of the coin is that young people could teach older people how to use modern technology.

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£Trillion Dogs

I’ve already come up with several ideas of how the £Trillion locked up in older peoples’ assets could be better used to more fully appreciate and integrate older people into society.

So here’s a big idea from Coco🐶

What about if every older person had a dog to look after🐕

Then they would have to go dog walking every day and the older people would get a lot more exercise and be healthier 🐕‍🦺

Most dogs are automatically friendly with other dogs and while they are sniffing around, their owners have to talk to each other, so this is a great way for isolated and lonely people to get out and about and become more a part of their community 🦮

Keeping their dog owners healthy will save the NHS millions of pounds, so the least that GPs should do is offer dogs on prescription 🐩

A vast increase in the number of dogs would be good overall for the economy.  Creating new jobs for adults as dog trainers, walkers, groomers and shampoo & setters.  Then there would have to be a lot more vets and pet shops in every town.

Most of all this would be great fun for both dogs and older people.  Every town, village and city could have an annual dog show.  Then there would be the biggest Crufts Dog Show ever!

🐶  🐕  🐕‍🦺  🦮  🐩


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£Trillion Zimmers

This post follows on from my initial idea of what older people could do collectively with their £4.7 trillions of savings currently locked in their houses.  I’ve put forward several ideas already but this one reflects the stereo typical view that most people have of elderly people.   So here’s a humurous and inexpensive way of changing that perception.

What if we buy every older person a Zimmer frame?   Even if they don’t need it.   Then they can all walk slowly around holding up the traffic and getting in the way of young people rushing along with their heads down texting on their mobile phones.
Zimmers could be fitted with headlights and horns.   Most importantly a space could be included on the front of the Zimmer frame for sponsored advertising.

This quiet demonstration could be held in every town, every Friday, henceforth to be known as “Zimmer Fridays”.  Eventually the politicians, both local and national, would realise that it is in their interest to make towns and cities and all their public spaces, much more age friendly.




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Film Watching Exercise

Research certainly gets into some unusual areas these days and reaches some interesting conclusions !

Scientists at University College London did some research recently into how films can increase you heart rate.     That must have been a very popular subject for the students who offered to assist with the research.   They monitored 51 cinema goers as they watched “Aladdin” and found that compared to people reading books, viewing  films increased your heart rate by between 40 and 60%.   Equivalent to light cardiovascular exercise.

You have to wonder how much better the results would have been if they had watched Mad Max 3 or Dirty Dancing or Grease or Chariots of Fire.  All of those have more than enough exercise and excitement and probably raise your heart rate even more.  So as long as you don’t have a heart attack during the movie, this could be a really good way of exercising.  Perhaps a precaution though, the cinema manager should at least have a defribulator readily available and for particularly exciting films, maybe St John’s Ambulance should be parked outside the cinema.

Professor of Cognitive Neuroscience, Joseph Devlin, said  the results were in no way influenced by the fact that his research project was commissioned by Vue Cinemas.

Next term his students are already signing up to do research when the new Star Wars movie is released 😀

The latest  Government Health Minister, whoever that is this week, is expected to announce that cinema tickets will soon be issued to patients with high blood pressure as part of his new initiative on social prescribing .

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£Trillion Young Helpers

With older people’s new found wealth, the most obvious thing to do is to offer them  a little help whenever they need it.   So how about a scheme to employ young people to help older people to forge greater understanding and empathy between generations.

Not altogether unlike conscription used to be years ago,   Two years of service to the Country.    The £ Trillion Helpers would be paid £10 / hour which is higher than the minimum wage for people under 25 to recognise the valuable community work they will be doing.    It would either be 20 hours a week for two years or it could be fast-tracked to one year if they helped two different householders.

This would ultimately be paid for by the older people by increased inheritance tax, so the scheme would cost the Government nothing in the long term.      Indeed it will probably save the Country money by having happier and healthier older people,

Effectively this would provide a significant transfer of wealth between generations. If every young person gave 1,000 hours of assistance a year for two years at £10/hour, that could go towards paying off £20,000 their student debt.    Twelve million older people would be contributing £240 million to the economy every year.   Only young people entering the armed forces would be exempt.    Young people in full-time education should do their assistance period before going into university so that they could learn something about life first.

  • Gardens would be tidier and young people could learn how to grow vegetables.
  • Young people could up-skill their older companions on using computers and any other gadgets they can’t use,
  • The young assistants would be taught all the basic household skills including cooking, cleaning, washing and ironing clothes.
  • Together they could build a “ Book of Life” charting the lifetime of experience of the older person.
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£Trillion Ideas

Here’s the first idea for spending  our new found wealth and having fun, by showing how important older people are in society.     As a result of our politicians being so ineffective in the last ten years, older people need to make their voices heard much more loudly in future.  The next decade is going to be the era of public demonstrations about anything and everything.

Look what a difference a young child -Greta Thurnberg – made to raising the profile of climate change around the world.

Older people can learn from young people and do the same for social change and the ageing of society.

Greta and a bunch of young people just skipped school one day and picked up a load of placards and took to the streets.  When it went viral with lots  of media attention children were attracted to the idea of a day off school👬

So how would you get thousands of older people protesting and what about ?

Here’s an idea for the first few demonstrations about the things older people have been complaining about for years.

You can find earlier posts on this by clicking on the archive for August 2017 and finding my blog entitled “LLLP Brexit Negotiations on Gadgets”.

If you don’t want older people to read or understand things, for instance legal terms and conditions, the frequently used approach is to write it in small, unreadable print, like this is!

But don’t do it!  It’s not age friendly.

You can find earlier posts on this by clicking on the archive for July 2017 and finding my blog entitled “LLLP Brexit Packaging Negotiations”.


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