I am the programme leader for the MSc in Gerontology and MSc in Gerontology (with Dementia Care) @uwshealth. You can find out more about the programmes at: https://www.uws.ac.uk/study/postgraduate/postgraduate-course-search/gerontology/ and https://www.uws.ac.uk/study/postgraduate/postgraduate-course-search/gerontology-with-dementia-care/ This blog is designed to highlight older people's issues and issues around older people's care. I will add a new post every Friday.
This week I found something I needed months possibly years ago. Unfortunately, though, it didn’t exist. So I am pleased that finally, I have found A really useful guide to “Helping Older People Use the Internet” which has been published this week by the Good Things Foundation. This foundation is a UK-based registered charity that is working towards a world where everyone benefits from digital and yes they mean older people as well!!!
They have supported over 2m people in gaining digital skills since their foundation in 2010, so I think they know what they are talking about. The guide was produced in partnership with the Centre for Ageing Better, one of my go-to organisations when I am looking for some inspiration for Blogging.
So if you are looking for the guide you can just click here The Foundation also hosts a website of free online courses, called “Learn My Way” which helps people improve their digital skills. I might have to head back there myself and if not, I know some students who might want to take a quick trip before their next module. 🙂 To visit “Learn My Way” click here.
In 2015, the world united around the World Health Organisation (WHO) Agenda for Sustainable Development, pledging that no one will be left behind and that every human being will have the opportunity to fulfil their potential in dignity and equality. The following year they released their Global strategy and action plan
on ageing and health committing the member states to ensure the goals are applied as a response to population ageing and urging them to make efforts to further support Healthy Ageing. Now as a response the WHO has set out 10 Priorities that are needed to achieve the objectives of their strategy and action plan and now we are about to embark on a decade of concerted action on the Decade for Healthy Ageing from 2020-2030.
The 10 priorities make for interesting reading so a link to the WHO publication 10 Priorities: Towards a Decade of Health Ageing is HERE
The link between the Sustainable goals for healthy ageing and the sustainable development goals is best explained HERE
More about the WHO’s work in Ageing and the Lifecourse can be found by watching the video and on this webpage which includes what they say about Age-Friendly Environments.
In a bit of a contrast to looking forward, there is a new exhibition at the RCN Library and Heritage Centre in London exploring the place of nursing within the care of older people in the UK, which has changed dramatically in the past two centuries. Created with the help of the RCN Older People’s Forum, Aspects of Age charts the shift from the days of Victorian workhouses to at-home care and future technologies. It also looks at how specialist nurses can help destigmatise old age. Information related to the exhibition is available at the Aspects of Age exhibition page HERE
You can also visit the exhibition at RCN headquarters in London from 11 April to 20 September, then at RCN Scotland in Edinburgh from October.
In another “under the BBC’s/National media radar production”, the Scottish Government this week released its new framework aimed at challenging the inequalities older people face as they age in Scotland. The framework which is the result of an engagement process with older people (aged 50+) across Scotland which involved many of the organisations that support them, the report identifies some of the issues that are key to ensuring people are healthy, happy and secure in their older age.
Amongst its proposals are a number of actions related to the health and social care integration agenda including proposing actions such as:
Engaging with the Older People’s Strategic Action Forum on integration.
Revising statutory guidance on local community engagement and participation by the end of 2019.
Ensuring carers and other representatives on Scotland’s Integration Joint Boards are supported by local partnerships to meaningfully engage with all future Board decision-making processes.
They have prepared a nice visual executive summary of what the report covers HERE
A bit of a departure this week from social care and staffing crises. Not that they have gone away. Thought I’d get back to looking at something that has appeared in the research again that’s worth some thought.
There has been a lot written and a lot of money spent on a commonly held belief that if you don’t stay intellectually engaged then you are likely to experience a cognitive decline, the so-called “use it or lose it” phenomenon. This idea has become widely accepted by healthcare professionals and the public, but is it really true?
A large Scottish study published in the BMJ in December casts a lot of doubt on this belief suggesting something different goes on. The study looked at people all born in 1936 and subjected them to a series of tests from age 64 up to 5 times over the next 14 years and compared the results. They also had access to all the participant’s childhood intelligence tests so they had an idea of a baseline as well some ability to “track/see” a decline. So what did they find?
Well, self-reported intellectual engagement did not seem to have influence on the trajectory of any decline of memory and processing speed that they experienced in later life. (So using it, perhaps surprisingly, didn’t stop you from losing it).
What they did find though was that engagement in intellectually stimulating activities throughout life meant that any decline experienced started at a higher point so although you still experienced a decline you were able to cope better for longer.
So my message for the week is to get out all those board games, problem-solving games crosswords, jigsaw puzzles etc. and start doing them now and keep on doing them, because you have no idea just what the benefit to you will be later on.
So, “Do it now or lose it later” is probably more accurate. Very much the same message I’d say to you about physical exercise!