Dr. Anna Dixon, CEO of the Centre for Ageing Better, joins our retirement podcast to discuss her new book, The Age of Ageing Better?: A Manifesto For Our Future. With an ageing population, governments and corporations have been slow to adapt, but there’s a lot within our control when it comes to ageing well.
- The mission of UK’s Centre for Ageing Better
- What actions governments and institutions can take to create a society that can age better
- The most common misperceptions about ageing
- What people can do to combat ‘day-to day’ ageism
- Why she writes of The Loneliness Myth
- Life lessons from the pandemic – what we should keep and let go of
- How we should be preparing for retirement today
- Her advice for those of us who want to age better
Dr. Dixon joins us from London.
Dr. Anna Dixon is Ageing Better’s Chief Executive, leading the vision of creating a society where everyone enjoys a good later life.
Anna has more than 15 years experience of working at the interface of research, policy, and practice. She has a successful track record of working at the highest levels of government to bring about positive change. Throughout her career, she has been committed to ensuring the voice and needs of the citizen are at the heart of her work.
Anna joined Ageing Better in September 2015 and has taken it from start-up to become an established organisation.
Prior to joining Ageing Better, Anna was Director of Strategy and Chief Analyst at the Department of Health from 2013-2015. She has also held positions at The King’s Fund, the London School of Economics and Political Science, the Department of Health and the European Observatory on Health Systems and Policies.
In 2005-6 she was awarded a Harkness Fellowship in Health Policy by the Commonwealth Fund of New York. She has a PhD in Social Policy from the London School of Economics and Political Science.
On Ageing Populations
“This age shift that I describe with many more of us living longer, and effectively the face of the population changing, with this many more older people. And it does mean redesigning work so that people can stay in work for much longer. It means both adapting our current homes, but also making sure that as we build new homes for the future, that we design them so that they’re fit for an aging population. They remain good places to live, even if we develop maybe dementia or mobility issues or different things that we might want to do or need in our later lives. So lots of actions, I suppose the key thing is just to say, it’s action across all parts of society and it’s action, both from national governments, but also from the private sector and the third sector.”
On Redesigning Retirement
“If we’re talking about a hundred-year life, the expectations that we get to a certain birthday and it’s a time to hang up our boots. I think we do need to rethink [retirement] – and many people already are. People are transitioning differently, sometimes requesting part-time work to be able to get a different work-life balance. Many people who at least enjoy their work, and physically able to, are continuing to work. Obviously, other people are having to work out of necessity. Let’s be clear, retirement savings are not what they were, the sort of pension, and Social Security. Certainly here in the UK is not very generous and people are having to continue to work to top up their income to maintain any sort of reasonable standard of living. So I think we need to get more realistic about a longer working life and the different sort of retirement rather than one in which we sort of from one day to the next stop work and then expect to have saved enough to enjoy [retirement].”
On the Longevity Gap
“Here, the sort of rule of thumb for a public pension is a third of our working life in retirement. I think it just doesn’t stack up with the gains, but we also have to remember that those gains in life expectancy are not equally shared. So we have about a 15-year gap in life expectancy between the richest and the poorest in this country. I imagine there are such similar disparities in the US and that therefore means that some people may have to start work earlier. They will also be dying at younger ages, and we don’t want them to have to sort of suffer in a way, a short retirement because of that. So we must also be looking to make sure that those gains in life expectancy are more equally shared.”
For More on Dr. Anna Dixon
Read the book: The Age of Ageing Better?: A Manifesto For Our Future
Centre for Ageing Better – you’ll find a wealth of useful information here
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