Ageing Scotland and the Future?


Yesterday the National Records of Scotland released its new report looking at the projected population increase predicted for Scotland between now and 2039. They released the figures in a series of really quite understandable infographics which make this site interesting to explore. See:

The important set of figures when looking at older people’s issues is the prediction that the number of people aged 75 and over is projected to increase by 85% (i.e. 370,000 people over that time period) . The other infographic that is worth closer examination is the one that looks at causes of death, Scotland 2002-2014.

I was at a lecture this week given by the First Minister for Scotland Nicola Sturgeon and its quite interesting to look at these projection and then consider what she has said about her plans for changing Health and Social care in the tenure of the next Scottish parliament. For more details about this, see the other Blog that I contribute to at:

Drinking Alcohol and Loneliness: What the papers have been saying.

This week, let’s concentrate on what has been reported in the papers recently. One that affects most of the readers of this Blog now, and one that my classes have discussed before where new evidence has been published recently.

This story has been reported in a number of places and given that the story is based on NICE recommendations perhaps we should all be paying attention. What the papers and news agencies have been saying is that middle-aged people should be warned there is “no safe level of alcohol consumption” and apparently they have been advised to curb their drinking to reduce their risk of developing dementia. See as an example. So should we be paying attention? I have mentioned before the NHS Choices site “Behind the Headlines” and there review group have considered this guidance and its interesting to look and see what they say about it compared to the news articles. The first thing to notice is that it was about more than just alcohol. To view their thoughts on the new guidance (and to carry out a quick health check of your own) see

Earlier this month there was an interesting piece of work done in the USA reported as  “Low levels of face-to-face social contact ‘can double the risk of depression in older people’,” in both the the Daily Telegraph and the Daily Mail. See Again the “Behind the Headlines” team have done a very thorough job on explaining these findings from the USA. Again take a look and contrast the headlines with this interpretation.

I don’t think there is any doubt that social contact helps but what constitutes good social contact is clearly still up for debate. Do you have any thoughts on either of these issues? Feel free to add comments.

Last thing, how about a free book! And a big bonus, not only is it free its about something that can be hard to understand. So if you think you would like a copy of “Know Your Chances: Understanding Health Statistics”; go to this book review.

A Busy Week

No reports of any great consequence some weeks and then like the buses they all seem to come at once. So here goes…..

This week saw the release of the WHO European Health Report 2015. This report is the WHO European Region’s flagship publication. It is published every three years and you will find that it gets quoted a lot. The 2012 report set the baseline for monitoring progress towards the six targets of the European policy framework, Health 2020. This one begins to map the progress towards these arguing that to measure well-being particularly new sources of qualitative evidence are needed as facts and figures are not enough to report meaningfully on what it means to be healthy and well in Europe. It also argues for stronger international collaboration to advance the agenda for health-information research and development across the Region.

For more information watch the video and to download the report go to:

Also published by Age UK this week, the Age UK almanac of disease profiles in later life, which is a reference on the frequency of major diseases, conditions and syndromes affecting older people in England. It’s the third in a series of research pieces they have been involved in. To download this report and for details of the other work they have done see:

Also the Health Quality Improvement Partnership, released the first ever national inpatient falls audit for England and Wales. (Which are mapped against the NICE guideline; CG161). It is a little disappointing to read. Again you can find out more about and download the report by accessing:

Last one is the latest State Of Care Report for 2015 which was released this week This is an annually released document which looks at all Inspection reports across England and Wales and comments on the organisations views of their work year on year. This years report is available at:

For edited highlights though, you might want to view this video:

Care Homes: Should we be worried?

This month the UK’s 5 biggest care home providers (BUPA, Four Seasons Health Care, HC-One, Care UK and Barchester) have raised concern about the impact of raising the National Minimum Wage on the sector.

Now I’d be first up to say that no-one should be working in healthcare for less than the £7.20/hour that is being introduced in April 2016, but is the sector ready? Looking across the UK the average cost of a care home place (in England) was £615/week. The money paid on average by most local authorities was just £511/week (a £104 shortfall). There are no plans to increase the amount local authorities are prepared to pay for services, so if the wage bills, which accounts for 60% of most care homes costs do rise; where is the money going to come from? Are we in danger of putting care home care beyond the reach of many older people, as care home companies consider reducing the number of care home places they are prepared to give to Local Authorities?  Or worse, consider closing because on the current fees they no longer have a sustainable business?

It is time working condition improved in our care homes in order to improve staff pride, attract better staff, improve retention etc…; but I don’t think its going to happen unless the underfunding of providers is addressed very soon.

See:  if you want to read more about this.

Are things any different in Scotland? You can always visit:

Scottish Care Logo_0  to find out.

2nd of October: A day late perhaps?

Yesterday, the 1st of October was UN International Day for the Older Person. So to mark the day I thought I’d start this week’s post by referring you to three pages that the UN created for the day. One is at:

another is at:

finally :

Yesterday was about encouraging countries to improve older persons’ accessibility to urban infrastructure, facilities and services as two phenomena – rapid urbanization and ageing populations – are combining to dramatically change the face the world’s cities. Had a discussion in one of my classes yesterday about the impact of investing in environmental improvement and we all agreed that making houses, buildings, transport etc. fit for purpose for older people benefited everyone for generations to come. So spending more now will save everyone in the long run.

Another release yesterday to coincide with Older People’s Day was a little video by the Chartered Society of Physiotherapy (CSP) about the “get up and go” test. This link to the video not only links you to the video it also links you to the other resources the CSP has created around falls risk detection which you might want to have a look at. You will also find a link to “Agile” the network for chartered physiotherapists working with older people in here, so worth a little explore.

On a lighter note. Do you need a new profile picture, perhaps for Moodle or Facebook? You might like this. It’s called “Get Peanutised” go to

This is the new me!