Episode #35: Anna Dixon – Finding what works for an ageing population

04 June 2019

Anna Dixon, Centre for Ageing Better

In this episode, I talk to Anna Dixon, chief executive of the Centre for Ageing Better, the charity working to create a society where everyone enjoys a good later life.

Anna has spent her life working at the interface of research, policy and practice. She has been director of strategy at the department of health, as well as a number of health policy related roles at the Kings Fund, the London School of Economics and more.

In this interview, we talk about how she got to where she is and what she learned along the way, and we talk about the challenges facing us with an ageing population. What are the factors that might affect whether we have a high quality of older life, and what are the things businesses need to do to adapt to a changing demographic.

Show notes

What did the world look like to the young Anna Dixon when she left school and looked ahead to adult life? (1:42)

What were the early influences that gave Anna a focus on making a difference (3:09)

How did she find the WHO as a first place to work in health policy? (6:50)

Anna’s time at the Department of Health during the Blair government (10:25)

A lesson learned early on that had relevance later on (12:41)

Examples where policy has had impact (14:15)

Processes for making good policy (16:35)

What made Anna decide to take on the challenge of our ageing society (18:49)

How did the Centre for Ageing Better get set up? (20:34)

What were Anna’s earliest priorities on taking on leadership for the Centre? (22:53)

What are some of the findings from the Centre’s latest report on how we’re ageing? (25:00)

How many of the outcomes for older people come from choices they make rather than factors outside their control? (27:20)

The issues around an ageing workforce (30:04)

How much are lifestyle issues going to affect our longevity in future? (36:14)

The challenge of an existing housing stock that is not fit for an ageing population (39:04)

What will success look like for the Centre? (41:29)

Anna’s hope for her own life when she hits eighty (43:00)

What is Anna’s personal purpose? (44:39)

What’s one practical change Anna would like to change before hanging up her gloves (45:01)

Advice Anna would give to her younger self (45:21)

An impressive change maker Anna has been inspired by (45:45)

A habit Anna would like to change (46:42)

A book that influenced Anna’s thinking (47:12)

Advice Anna would give to young would-be change makers starting out (48:27)


Anna Dixon on twitter https://twitter.com/drannadixon

The Centre for Ageing Better website https://www.ageing-better.org.uk

The Centre on twitter https://twitter.com/ageing_better 


The Audacity of Hope: Thoughts on Reclaiming the American Dream, Barack Obama

Obama audacity of hope https://www.amazon.co.uk/Audacity-Hope-Thoughts-Reclaiming-American/dp/1847670830/

Becoming, Michelle Obama https://www.amazon.co.uk/Becoming-Michelle-Obama/dp/0241334144/