We Love BBC Music Memories

On Friday the BBC hosted its annual music day and on it launched a new website featuring music designed to trigger memories in people with dementia. Called BBC Music Memories  The site is designed to use music to help people with dementia reconnect with their most powerful memories and has been inspired by an ever-growing body of research on the beneficial effects of music in helping those with dementia. See Music Based Therapeutic Interventions for People with Dementia

In developing tis site they worked with the Scottish-based music and dementia charity, Playlist for Life, featured in the video below.


The playlist for Life app can be found here

The new BBC site is being supported by leading dementia organisations including Alzheimer’s Society, Alzheimer Scotland, Dementia UK and Carers UK. They are encouraging their many members to visit this new website to try out music memories for themselves. You can then take part in a survey to help them to discover the nation’s favourite music memories.

BBC Music Memories features tracks from 1920 to 2017 so there is there’s something for everyone. The site hopes to encourage inter-generational use so people of different ages can use the resource together to listen and talk about their own memorable music and the thoughts it triggers.Once users have made and shared their own playlists the BBC aim to build a shared database to create a unique resource to help others. It is incredibly simple to use on any digital device (PC, tablet or smart phone). It also has a simple user guide along with helpful links to further dementia support resources.

For more about the project see BBC Media Centre Report

The BBC also has a suite of other dementia support tools , including the award-winning BBC Reminiscence Archive and Your Memories.

My Blog is 3 Years Old Today!

birthday-492372_1280This is a bit of a landmark because when I started out this blog it was really as an experiment to see what I could do to keep my own MSc in Gerontology students up to date with developments in older people’s care occurring during their programme.

So 3 years on and I have posted 162 times. The site has been viewed by 2,299 different people, I have 33 followers and the most popular day to come to this site is a Monday (about 20% of all viewers)

So thanks to everyone who visits and spreads the word about this blog. It’s gone well beyond the “classroom” although I know many of my students do visit regularly. Please keep following and visiting. And remember that despite everything that’s going on, things are getting better.

For example; in the last 5 years across European mortality from the four major noncommunicable diseases (cardiovascular diseases, cancer, diabetes and chronic respiratory diseases have been on a 2% decline per year on average based on the data from 40 of the 53 countries in the European Region. In addition, a WHO 2017 progress review established that the WHO European Region is likely to achieve its target of reducing by one-third premature mortality from non-communicable diseases through prevention and treatment and promoting mental health and well-being earlier than 2030 and will probably exceed it.

See the WHO Factsheet by clicking here

Fantastic news that you probably haven’t heard.

It’s World Alzheimer’s Day


This day, every year Alzheimers Disease International release their latest World Alzheimer Report 2018. This year’s report looks at the topic of dementia research and brings together 21 of the global leading lights in all areas of dementia research.

Unusually this report is not written by academic staff but has been written by renowned journalist and broadcaster Christina Patterson (of Time Magazine, The Guardian and The Sunday Times) and discusses some of the complex questions surrounding dementia research. It looks particularly at the hopes and frustrations for research asking why in over 20 years we have had no significant breakthroughs. You can download the report from the link below:

 The state of the art of dementia research: New frontiers 

The report stresses the urgent need for increased and sustainable funding for dementia research and calls on governments to commit to a minimum of 1% of the societal cost of dementia to be dedicated to research. In 2018 the global societal cost was US$1 trillion.

Alzheimer Scotland’s Chief Executive Henry Simmons has also released a message for today about the situation more locally in Scotland. You can read his message here.

September is World Alzheimers Month so let’s make an effort to ensure that nobody faces dementia alone and that we do more work to prevent dementia tackle the causes of all dementias in the coming years

Incontinence is Hurting the Dignity and Health of Millions

At the end of August, 10 charities published the findings of a shared workshop they had on the topic of incontinence which had taken place in December 2016.  The resulting report which is called “My bladder and bowel own my life.” A collaborative workshop addressing the need for continence research” recommends tackling the stigma of incontinence and funding research into this often ignored issue. This new report describes the impact of continence issues on patients with long-term conditions and older people as discussed by the workshop participants and makes 8 clear recommendations for researchers, research funders,  policy makers, commissioners and others in a position to make research into urinary and faecal continence problems more of a priority.

Research into urinary and faecal continence problems have been identified by patients, carers, family members and health and social care professionals as one of the key areas where further research is needed.  This is because there are are a lot of areas in this field where further research could be done to improve the quality of life for people with a variety of conditions and circumstances, such as long-term neurological conditions and terminal illness. The 10 charities suggest that more research is needed into:

  • the patient experience
  • health economics
  • clinical research into self-management techniques, co-morbidities, continence assessment and products, the impact of education, combined urinary and bowel continence research, side-effects and the interaction of medication prescribed for other long-term health conditions and their effect on incontinence symptoms.
  • fundamental research to better understand bladder and bowel function
  • the effect of non-surgical interventions.

Quite a knowledge gap, that needs to be tackled particularly since the NHS estimates that between 3 and 6 million people in the UK have some degree of urinary incontinence. Studies also suggest that in the UK “major faecal incontinence” affects 1.4% of the general population over 40 years old and that constipation affects between 3% and 15% of the population. It’s also widely believed that continence problems are under-reported so these figures could be quite a bit off as the numbers seeking treatment might be as low as 20% of those affected, which would mean around 15 million around a 1/5th of the UK population at any one time may be troubled by poor continence symptoms.

If you are affected by incontinence it is probably a good idea to be aware of NICE’s Topic Page on Urinary Incontinence and their Urinary incontinence in women interactive flowchart and to take some time to look at The Urology Foundation’s Urology Health Pages


Scotland’s Carer’s Allowance Supplement

This a bit of a departure from my usual Blog topics nonetheless I think its important that as may carers as possible in Scotland know about this change to benefits that starts next week.

Scotland’s Cabinet Secretary for Social Security and Older People, Shirley-Anne Somerville release the following statement this week about Scotland’s new carers allowance supplement which starts from Thursday 13th September 2018.

Eligible carers in Scotland will receive the first payments of the new Carer’s Allowance Supplement in recognition of the important contribution that they make to our society. These payments will mean that people in Scotland, who were in receipt of Carer’s Allowance from the UK’s Department of Work and Pensions (DWP) on the qualifying date of Monday 16 April will receive a supplementary payment of £221. This payment will be issued automatically to all eligible carers. Just for once there is no need for a form to be completed.  As this is the first payments Social Security Scotland will make the Scottish Government want to make sure these payments are paid safely and securely to people. For that reason payments will nit be immediate but will come over a phased period.  The vast majority of payments  will be made by the end of September, with more complex cases being completed by Thursday 15 October. If you are already receiving Carers Allowance, payment will be made using the same method that you were using to get their Carer’s Allowance from the DWP.

In advance of payments being issued, carers will receive a letter explaining the payment to them and a leaflet to introduce Social Security Scotland as the new Scottish Government agency that will deliver these payments. We expect people to start receiving their letters from the week beginning 10 September. The letter will also contain details of where people will be able to find information online and a Freephone telephone number should they wish to speak with someone about this payment. The Scottish Government are keen to help carers understand the process and have shared the following links to three clips of film introducing Social Security Scotland, the policy intent behind Carer’s Allowance Supplement and details on the way in which this benefit will be delivered:

Introduction to Social Security Scotland

For more about Carer’s Allowance Supplement, look at the fact sheet given here.  

For more about why income maximisation is important to all carers, not just those in Scotland I thought this page from Slough Carers support explained this well. https://sloughcarerssupport.co.uk/finance/finances/

It’s September, So its #WorldAlzMonth #WAM2018


September 2018 sees the start of the 7th. World Alzheimer’s Month, #WAM2018, an international campaign to raise dementia awareness and challenge stigma. During
this time, Alzheimer associations and other stakeholders around the world organise advocacy and information provision events, as well as Memory Walks, media appearances and fundraising days.

World Alzheimer’s Day (on 21st September every year), is usually the day an new World Alzheimers Report is published so look out for it. No indication so far of what this year topic might be. There is a Alzheimer’s Disease International Campaign page at https://www.worldalzmonth.org/ so if you want to do something to help have a look at the Toolkit and take up one of their ideas

OR join an Alzheimers Scotland memory walk. Information on Scotland’s Memory Walks can be found here!  

If you are elswhere in the UK the memory walks are supported the Alzheimers Society. You can find your local walk by going to https://www.memorywalk.org.uk/find-a-walk/

Also this week a new resource from NHS Education for Scotland has been launched, Called “Older Adults Module: Promoting Positive Psychological Well-being” this new e-learning module for Scottish Health and Social Care staff working with older adults aims to develop their knowledge of promoting positive psychological well-being. It is aimed at all staff working with older adults across the NHS and social care and can be found at via NES via Turas Learn