Join the WHO Call for an End to Ageism

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Well, 2016 is almost over and I hope that you are all enjoying the holiday season, particularly those of you out there who are healthcare professionals working over this season.

So should we have any New Year Resolutions? Well, I can only think of one and that was one put forward by WHO in September this year on the International Day of Older Persons. On that day they released an important statement about Ageism which I am sure you will find I referred to within this Blog. Around the same time, they also released an Editorial in the Bulletin of the World Health Organisation calling for a global campaign to combat ageism. All I can say is that remains my resolution and one of the key reasons I write this Blog. If you want to see the editorial you can access it here.

Valuing older people: time for a global campaign to combat ageism

Rather than review the year I thought you might find this more useful the British geriatric Society on their Blog this week have highlighted the most downloaded journal articles of 2016 from their Journal Age and Ageing. This link will take you to the Blog from where you should be able to access the articles, and if you have the right permissions should be able to download them for free. To see the top six go to

Have a happy Hogmanay and see you all Next Year in 2017!

Have You Watched Emmerdale from Tuesday 20th?


First of all Merry Christmas to all my readers, followers and students. Don’t forget that I will be posting next week too!

In a new departure for me, I am going to mention a Soap! This week Emmerdale was praised both by fans and dementia charities for its portrayal of the illness in a special episode which was constructed to try and show the perspective of man who is living with dementia.

Described variously as exaggerated, unrealistically fast in its portrayal of decline, as well as,  a “realistic portrayal of the condition (Vascular Dementia) which will change people’s views” the episode caused a huge reaction on social media. Emmerdale producers had worked with both the Alzheimer’s Society and MHA care homes to devise the storyline which you can read about at

If you missed the episode and you are a student or staff member at UWS you can watch the episode at   Just use your normal e-mail login when you are asked for it. It’s also on Catchup TV at

It’s also on Catchup TV at if you are in the UK.

Why not watch and make up your own mind and post your comments here.

I think the fact that it has raised the public profile and awareness of dementia again is no bad thing but if you are going to do it, surely the person would have to be in the soap for quite a while with developing and worsening symptoms to make it far more realistic.

On perhaps a more serious note for those affected by dementia, there is sound advice on living well with dementia at Christmas time from Alzheimer’s Scotland  which can be found at Living well at Xmas

New BGS Standards for Older Peoples’ Healthcare

Yesterday the BGS published ‘Effective healthcare for older people; Principles and Standards‘, with a particular focus on those living with frailty.Health care for older people is the core business for the NHS. Getting health care right for older people will help ensure we get it right for everyone. The Principles and Standards are for the health care of older people in any setting –  not only for older adult care wards, but for all of the health care departments older people may encounter which as you can imagine is everywhere outside of maternity and paediatric specialist areas. At only 4 pages its short and to the point so have a look and ask yourself, “Are we sure that we are delivering high-quality care for older people?”

If you want to read more about these standards and how they were developed see


With a week to go until Christmas, I guess we’ll all be heading out to buy our Christmas Wines and spirits! (Cheers, bye the way!). But what nationality are you as revealed by the alcohol that you drink? How does your drinking measure up to the average in countries around the world?

How does your drinking measure up to the average in countries around the world?

You can go and find out at the BBC’s handy Booze Calculator

Apparently, I have German drinking habits and over a year drink as much as someone from Chile! What about you?

At this time of year it’s also good to consider the impact of alcohol on older people because like you, they are out more and drink more. So for specific advice relating to older people see

This report from this summer about older people and alcohol also makes for very interesting reading at this time of year.

Glasgow Centre for Population Health Report

Health of the ‘Baby Boomer’ Generation

I suppose I should start with this week’s controversy which is the report that says people aged between 50 and 70 should carry on working to stay healthy. As always when the media do a bit of headline grabbing, that is not exactly what Professor Dame Sally Davies, the Chief Medical Officer for England was saying. It is a much  more considered piece than this and looks at the impact of lifestyle choices on current and future health, mental health, sexual health, and screening and immunisation programmes. What she did say, was that staying in work, volunteering or joining a community group can make sure people stay physically and mentally active for longer and we should not overlook the potential health benefits of these activities. For more details and to download the report go to Baby Boomers: Fit for the Future

This week also saw calls from the British Geriatrics Society (BGS) on everyone who commissions or provides healthcare in care homes to follow the principles of good practice set out in the There New Guidance, so that every older person who lives in a care home in the UK has access to high-quality acre that fully meets their needs.

The BGS’s new President Dr Eileen Burns said:

Why should a frail or disabled older person living in a care home be disadvantaged by healthcare that isn’t based on their own individual needs?

It is of the utmost importance that the healthcare needs of older people living in care homes are treated as high priority. The NHS has a vital role to play in ensuring that older care home residents have a better quality of life. We know that health care services can be designed to deliver better healthcare. We call on those responsible for planning health services locally to follow this guidance to ensure that they are not ignoring the needs and rights of older people, and are designing appropriate and sustainable services.

The health needs of older people living in care homes are complex. It is vital that NHS commissioners and policy makers recognise that input from appropriately trained specialists is key to ensuring a better quality of life for older people living in care homes.

Now am I going to disagree with that?

Lastly a follow on from last week. I introduced you to the work of Molly Case the spoken word artist, writer and nurse. Well here is another piece from her

Winter is Coming…

At this time of year, I would usually be considering posting my annual rant about the number of excess deaths amongst older people in the UK that are largely avoidable. This year, however, I am not going to do this, I am going to refer you to the Age UK blog which does where their writer Mervyn Kohler does this job for me. Go to

Lats week saw the publication of a new joint report from the Royal College of GPs and the British Geriatrics Society. This report showcases how GPs and geriatricians are collaborating to design and lead innovative schemes to improve the provision of integrated care for older people with frailty.The report highlights 13 case studies from across the UK, ranging from schemes to help older people remain active and independent, to those providing better services in the community, to those supporting patients in

The report details 13 case studies from across the UK, ranging from schemes to help older people remain active and independent, to those providing better services in the community, to those supporting patients in hospital. One of the examples is from Lothian in Scotland where St Triduana’s Medical Practice has developed a simple, one-page form for relatives of new care home residents. The questionnaire uses three questions to facilitate a discussion with families about how a patient would like to be treated in the event of a serious illness, that example alone is worth a look.

Finally, some inspiration Molly Case, is a student nurse who attended the RCN Conference in 2013 and read out her poem ” nursing te nation to great acclaim. Her newest work whihc was commissioned for the RCN called 100 Years and explores 100 years of the Royal College of Nursing (RCN), to celebrate the College’s centenary. Molly is a now spoken word artist, writer, nurse and RCN member.You can hear  and see her read her poem at: